A landslide leak may have just blown the lid off of a previously-rumored, more-affordable-but-less-powerful, next-generation Xbox. Reports and chatter about this so-called “Project Lockhart” that will be released alongside Xbox Series X have been floating around online for well over a year. But now, a series of leaked Microsoft documents have seemingly verified its existence.
Portions of an unreleased document that was supposed to go out to Xbox game developers were leaked on FileBin and subsequently began circulating Twitter on June 24. The screenshots mention a “LockhartProfiling” mode, included in the “Scarlett Dev Kit,” which would be a non-commercial version of the Xbox Series X that devs use to test their games before release.
Before the Xbox Series X was announced, Microsoft codenamed its next-gen console plan “Project Scarlett.” There were two rumored models of Scarlett: Anaconda and Lockhart. Microsoft has confirmed that Anaconda was referring to the Series X when it revealed the console had a snake etched into its motherboard. Now, if the dev kit document screenshots are legitimate, they essentially prove that the second part of Project Scarlett is on its way.
Xbox Series X vs Lockhart: What’s the difference?
The leaked screenshots only hint at the existence of Lockhart, but anonymous sources from Microsoft told The Verge what kind of specs gamers should expect from this second Xbox.
For starters, it won’t support 4K resolution. The console is expected to be capped at either 1080p or 1440p, which means you won’t need a snazzy 4K TV to get the most out of Lockhart. You also shouldn't expect the same image quality you’d get from the 4K-supporting Xbox One X or PlayStation 4 Pro.
As for the rest of specs, The Verge provided a preliminary list:
- 7.5 GB of usable RAM
- Slightly underclocked CPU speed
- About 4 teraflops of GPU performance
Those are toaster numbers compared to the much more powerful Xbox Series X, which will launch later this year with:
- 13.5 GB of usable RAM
- A 8x Zen 2 Cores CPU at 3.8GHz
- About 12 TF of GPU performance
But when could Microsoft announce its budget-friendly Xbox?
The Inverse Analysis — As it stands, Microsoft hasn’t even acknowledged the existence of a second next-gen Xbox. In fact, Xbox chief Phil Spencer went out of his way to deny that there would be a second model back in 2019, but the company could be gearing up for a big surprise.
Microsoft is planning on dedicating time in July to announce Xbox Game Studio titles like Halo Infinite. While there haven’t been any announced plans to show off more hardware, the company could take this moment in the spotlight to reveal Lockhart and stir up some hype before the Series X launches during the holidays.
Giving gamers the option of a more affordable Xbox would be a direct answer to Sony’s dual PlayStation 5 announcement. Plus, Microsoft already sells a budget-friendly Xbox One with no disc drive. So announcing Lockhart won’t even be a shift in business strategy.
The Xbox Series X will be released during the 2020 holiday season.