A major leak out of Microsoft has revealed much about the company’s short term strategy, including upcoming consoles, unannounced games, and some of the behind-the-scenes wrangling that goes into getting games on Game Pass. Here’s a rundown of everything that’s been revealed.
Perhaps the biggest thing to come out of the leaks are these early details about Microsoft’s next generation of consoles. Tentatively scheduled for 2028, the next generation of Xbox will focus on “cloud-hybrid” gaming, augmenting console hardware with “cloud-to-edge” architecture. On the hardware side Microsoft is considering switching to ARM architecture for its CPU, which is more commonly seen in handheld devices and the hybrid Nintendo Switch. The next-gen console will be heavily designed around various applications of AI and machine learning.
In the shorter term, a new Xbox controller is on the horizon, boasting haptic feedback and gyro controls for the first time in an Xbox controller. Microsoft also promotes improved sustainability for the new controller, with a rechargeable and replaceable battery, better repairability, and recycled materials. The new controller is expected sometime next year, and is codenamed Sebile.
Coming on the heels of the controller refresh is a full mid-gen console refresh for the Xbox Series X and S–these will all come bundled with the new Sebile controller, too. The updated consoles will all be digital-only, including the new iteration of the Xbox Series X codenamed Brooklin. Boasting a new cylindrical form, the consoles will have more storage, improvements to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and increased focus on sustainability.
An old release schedule from ZeniMax has revealed a number of previously unheard-of games that are on Microsoft’s radar–though it’s unclear if they’re still in production or not at the time of writing. The list of games includes a Fallout 3 remaster, an Oblivion remaster, Dishonored 3, a Ghostwire: Tokyo sequel, and a Doom title called Doom Year Zero.
The leaks also exposed a number of internal emails that reveal a lot about what goes on behind the scenes at Microsoft’s gaming division, especially when it comes to Game Pass. One email revealed Phil Spencer declaring a “disaster” when the company went a long time between “big exclusive launches” on Game Pass, saying that the company would have to plan better in future.
We also got a look into how much money goes into securing day one games for Game Pass, thanks to a spreadsheet that lists “expected partner ask” for a number of games. The figures range from $300 million for Star Wars Jedi: Survivor to just $5 million for Baldur’s Gate 3. Other communication shows Microsoft vastly underestimated how popular Baldur’s Gate would be, with leadership calling the game a “second-run Stadia PC RPG.”
Other emails show some interesting interactions behind the scenes at Xbox. In one, Phil Spencer says that the PS5 reveal didn’t cause him as much anxiety as expected, as he believed Microsoft had the better offering for the generation. In another, Spencer says acquiring Nintendo would be a “career moment,” and discusses how it could potentially come to pass.
All this information was revealed due to an improperly redacted document released as part of the FTC v. Microsoft court case, which has already given the public more than a glimpse into Microsoft’s internal workings. It’s important to take these leaks with a grain of salt, as we can’t be sure how current these documents are or whether plans have since been changed.
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