Significant confidential files leak about Xbox roadmap from FTC case
Documents from court case unintentionally reveal deatils about the planned future of Xbox brand
A large and unintended leak of confidential files has been experienced by Microsoft, that reveals some of the future unannounced plans it has for the Xbox platform, hardware, and software.
The leak occurred over the weekend, when the documents in the Federal Trade Commission's case against Microsoft Corporation were published online, not realizing that attached were the unredacted versions of the files that were not meant for the public. The reason FTC has these files is due to their ongoing case investigating Microsoft's proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
Although since removed, the content of the documents has been captured and spread online. The documents contain a wealth of information that reveals the plans for the future of Xbox. The documents are dated from 2022, so of course things may have changed since then. Some of the major news include a plan for a new Xbox console in 2028, that hopes to focus on “cloud hybrid games” and to be an “immersive game and app platform.” This leak is perhaps the least surprising, as it puts the current generation console at around 7-8 years for the next refresh in 2028, which is on par with traditional timelines for Xbox brand.
The company is also planning new mid-cycle hardware versions of its current Xbox consoles - this is also not too surprising, but the amount of detail is certainly enticing. The plan for the updated Xbox Series X console is to have a new cylindrical all-digital model named "Brooklin." The new console is targeting $499 US price point and will come with improved features, such as more internal storage, faster Wi-Fi, reduced power usage, and a USB-C front port. The Series S refresh plan will reportedly keep its current shape, will be priced at $299, and have more internal storage (1TB), faster Wi-Fi, and also reduced power usage. There is a controller refresh also planned, codename “Sebile,” that hopes to offer haptic feedback, quieter buttons and thumbsticks, and modular thumbsticks. These hardware refreshes are apparently planned for 2024.
Elsewhere in the leaked documents, a list of unannounced games from publisher Bethesda Softworks (now owned by Microsoft) can be found. New projects apparently include remastered versions of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and Fallout 3, a new DOOM game, a sequel to Ghostwire: Tokyo, a new Dishonored game, and others that have only codenames for now.
There is also an email chain from 2020 that shows Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer and Microsoft executive vice president Takeshi Numoto discussing a potential acquisition of Nintendo or Valve. The emails describe the huge opportunity for Microsoft with such an acquisition, however they also acknowledge that a hostile takeover would not go over well with the public, and that they should wait for the time to be right. In another email collection, Xbox Gaming CEO Phil Spencer and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella express their confidence about Xbox Series X|S and its superiority to the PS5 following the announcement of the latter's specs and launch price.
The leak will obviously be a tough challenge for Microsoft to deal with. Late in the day today, Phil Spencer has addressed the leak, in part stating: "We’ve seen the conversation around old emails and documents. It is hard to see our team’s work shared in this way because so much has changed and there’s so much to be excited about right now, and in the future. We will share the real plans when we are ready. I also know we all take the confidentiality of our plans and our partners’ information very seriously. This leak obviously is not us living up to that expectation. We will learn from what happened and be better going forward. We all put incredible amounts of passion and energy into our work, and this is never how we want that hard work to be shared with the community. That said, there’s so much more to be excited about, and when we’re ready, we’ll share the real plans with our players."