Microsoft is planning a mid-generation refresh of the Xbox Series X with a new disc-less cylindrical design, according to a document accidentally revealed from the FTC v. Microsoft court battle. It also leaked the existence of a new controller with a gyro (codenamed Sebile), a refreshed Xbox Series S, key specs for the new devices and a timeline. It’s not clear how the documents came into public view, but they could be damaging for Xbox’s gaming business, as it shows the company’s strategy well over a year in advance.
Microsoft previously stated it has no plans for a mid-gen console refresh, but that doesn’t appear to be true according to the document. In fact, the company is working on three new consoles. The first, codenamed Ellewood, is a light refresh of the Xbox Series S (set to arrive in September 2024), while “Brooklin,” tentatively planned for November 2024, is a new disc-less version of the Xbox Series X. Another model, called XDL, matches Brooklin’s specs but will presumably offer Xbox Design Lab customization.
Microsoft’s two-tone “Sebile” controller has a built-in accelerometer and haptics that “double as speakers,” which would make it more like Sony’s latest DualSense controller. It also features new modular thumbsticks, quieter buttons and thumbsticks and new app features, along with sustainability tweaks like a swappable battery, recycled materials and improved reparability. Once it’s released, we’ll likely see games with support for the gyro, letting you maneuver just by moving the controller around. The company will also have an XDL version of Sebile, codenamed Igraine.
The star of this leak is the new updated Xbox Series X console, though. While Microsoft touts it as “adorable” (presumably due to the cylindrical design that’s less severe than the current fridge-like Xbox Series X), many gamers may not find the lack of a disc cute at all.
Along with the new design, the Series X will come with Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2, USB-C front port, an all-new southbridge “to modernize IO and sustainability efforts” and a 6-nanometer die shrink. That will result in a reduced (15 percent) power draw with a new low-power standby mode that’s up to 80 percent less than current standby, along with increased use of recycled plastic (>30 percent) and 100 percent recycled packaging.
It’ll have 2TB of storage, or double the current model, and come standard with the Sebile controller. Microsoft also notes that it’ll have the “same great price” as the current Xbox Series X at $499 when it arrives (tentatively November 2024), but that’s a somewhat disingenuous statement given the lack of a disc.
The Xbox Series S will have similar improvements inside, along with double the storage (1TB rather than 512GB), though the design appears relatively unchanged. It’s also set to carry the same current $299 price, with availability tentatively set for September 2024.
A lot more information is laid out, including things that Microsoft would no doubt want private, like projected sales volumes, margins, funding and more. For instance, Microsoft notes that “Sebile full product vision not currently approved due to GM % (gross margin percentage), and appears to place that ball in the “Finance” court. It also outlines a “path to leadership in gaming” with a vision of cloud-first, PC-first and console-first Xbox Game Pass subscription numbers. The leak appears to be a massive screwup that will likely cause some severe fallout, so stay tuned.