Everything we learned from the biggest leak in Xbox history (2024)

If you thought we were done learning juicy details about the internal workings of Xbox after this summer's Federal Trade Commission-Microsoft trial wrapped up, hoo boy, you can guess again. A jaw-dropping court document leak has revealed a ton of information about recent goings on within the Microsoft Gaming division, as well as critical details about its future plans. Perhaps the biggest nugget concerned a major Xbox Series X refresh that Microsoft has lined up for next year.

All-digital Xbox Series X refresh

Everything we learned from the biggest leak in Xbox history (1)

Over the last few console generations, we’ve seen the likes of Sony and Microsoft release updated hardware midway through the cycle (the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X spring to mind). And while there are always rumors in the lead up to those new versions, we’ve never seen legitimate leaks of this magnitude before.

Codenamed "Brooklin," a refreshed Series X will have double the internal storage at 2TB, lower power usage, Wi-Fi 6E connectivity and other tech updates, according to a leaked document. This model will have a cylindrical design, compared with the boxy original Series X.

Critically, Microsoft is planning to ditch the console's disc drive. It's not yet clear as to whether there will be an external disc drive available (as is rumored to be the case for a PlayStation 5 refresh). It would mark a significant shift for Xbox to no longer offer a disc drive as standard and perhaps accelerate the death of physical game discs. What's more, Microsoft plans to sell the updated Series X for $499, the same price as the current console.

Microsoft is planning to release an updated Xbox controller next year as well, per the unredacted filing. Codenamed "Sebile," the peripheral is slated to have "precision haptic feedback" (perhaps to better compete with Sony's DualSense), quieter inputs and, like some premium controllers, modular thumbsticks. There's said to be support for "seamless" pairing and switching between devices with the help of new mobile app features.

Intriguingly, a "direct-to-cloud" feature is mentioned in a slide. That suggests Microsoft is focusing on reducing input latency for games streamed from the cloud, like Google tried with the Stadia Controller (RIP).

Sebile is slated to arrive in May, according to the documents. Microsoft is then expected to announce the new Series X (and a Series S refresh) in June, likely at its annual summer showcase. The $299 Series S refresh is now expected to go on sale around August or September 2024, with the beefed-up Series X scheduled to land a couple months later. It seems Microsoft is planning a clearance sale on the current Series S too, as a slide mentions a $199 offer for Black Friday 2024.

The next-gen Xbox could be a 'cloud-hybrid' console

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It seems we're not yet midway through the current console generation, but of course Microsoft is thinking about what's ahead. The next-gen Xbox, slated to arrive in 2028, is expected to support "cloud hybrid games."

There's not much detail available on that, but it's clear the company has been moving in this direction for a while. Microsoft Flight Simulator, for instance, incorporates real-time weather data that it pulls from the cloud (that's not a pun, I swear). Xbox has been making a major push into cloud gaming over the last few years too.

There's an implication that the next-generation Xbox will have an always-online requirement for certain games. It's entirely plausible that there will still be a sizable digital divide by 2028, which could prevent some folks in rural areas or other regions with poor internet access from properly being able to play games on Microsoft's next major console.

Xbox head Phil Spencer really wants to buy Nintendo

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Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer thinks it would be, like, super cool if the company bought Nintendo. Spencer suggested in an internal 2020 email discussing acquisition targets that he saw Nintendo as a white whale for the company, and one that he was personally invested in snapping up. He saw that as a potential "career moment," per the email.

The document nods toward other possible acquisition targets, including another highly ambitious one in Valve. Spencer mentioned that his team was in active talks with Warner Bros. Interactive and Bethesda parent ZeniMax Media. Both of those were seemingly open to a deal and while the WB talks didn't work out in Microsoft's favor, the company did scoop up ZeniMax for $7.5 billion.

It seems highly unlikely that Microsoft would ever actually buy Nintendo. Antitrust regulators would surely have a lot to say about that, particularly after Microsoft’s ZeniMax purchase and its pending $68.7 billion deal for Activision Blizzard (which could close any day now). It’s not hard to imagine that Japanese officials in particular would be none too happy about an American business buying one of the country’s best-known brands. Still, it’s nice to have dreams, eh, Phil?

Upcoming games

The leak also shed some light on Xbox's plans for upcoming games. It seems that new Doom and Dishonored games are in the pipeline. The latter would see Arkane returning to a successful series after Redfall — its most recent attempt to branch out into fresh IP — faceplanted this year. Fallout 3 Remaster, Oblivion Remaster and a Ghostwire: Tokyo sequel were also mentioned in the leaked documents.

It's worth noting, however, that this Bethesda roadmap ran from fiscal years 2020 through 2024. A lot has changed since then, including Microsoft buying the publisher. Games get canceled all the time, so it's unclear whether any of these unannounced projects will actually come to light. Still, it's hard to imagine that there isn't some kind of Doom title in development.

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This is all the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the leaked documents. There are details on everything from Game Pass revenue to Microsoft leaders' reactions to the PlayStation 5 announcement and Spencer revealing he bought his own PS5 (he had to plump for a bundle with Horizon Forbidden West included).

The timing of this leak could not have been worse for Microsoft, as we're going into the critical holiday period. The company was banking on Starfield being a must-have game (it isn’t, unfortunately) to help it shift consoles and Game Pass subscriptions in the last few months of the year. This news won’t help convince people who were on the fence to buy an Xbox soon either. Knowing that a revamped Series X is on the way next year will surely put some people off of buying one now (raises hand). That could result in Microsoft losing more ground against Sony and Nintendo, which appears set to debut a brand new console in 2024.

The FTC, which still has a lawsuit in the works in an attempt to block the Microsoft-Activision deal, has claimed it's not to blame for the leak. "Microsoft was responsible for the error in uploading these documents to the court," Douglas Farrar, director of the FTC's office of public affairs, told NBC News. However all of this information got out there, some heads are surely rolling at Microsoft HQ today.

Everything we learned from the biggest leak in Xbox history (2024)

FAQs

What is the biggest Xbox leak? ›

One of the biggest Xbox leaks in history has occurred, thanks to the FTC v. Microsoft case. Unredacted documents have revealed key Microsoft communications between Xbox executives, plans for a new disc-less Xbox Series X, a gyro controller, and even a next-gen hybrid Xbox in 2028.

How did Xbox leaks happen? ›

In what's being cited as the biggest leak in the company's history, Microsoft revealed a massive amount of information about forthcoming Xbox refreshes, next-gen systems, and more after uploading a series of unredacted documents to a court website as part of the ongoing Federal Trade Commission v. Microsoft case.

What is better, Xbox or PS5? ›

The Xbox Series X has a slight edge when it comes to raw power, design and backward compatibility, but the PS5 is the leader in arguably the most important category of all as it boasts a game library that Xbox simply cannot match at present.

What is the oldest Xbox? ›

First generation: Xbox

The original Xbox was released on November 15, 2001, in North America, February 22, 2002, in Japan, and March 14, 2002, in Australia and Europe. It was Microsoft's first foray into the gaming console market.

What is the OG Xbox? ›

The Xbox is a home video game console manufactured by Microsoft that is the first installment in the Xbox series of video game consoles. It was released as Microsoft's first foray into the gaming console market on November 15, 2001, in North America, followed by Australia, Europe and Japan in 2002.

Who hacked the original Xbox? ›

Andrew Huang

Why is Xbox shutting down? ›

If your Xbox console is unexpectedly shutting down, it may be because it's not getting enough ventilation, or there may be a problem with the power supply.

Is Microsoft ending Xbox? ›

Microsoft is neither exiting the console market nor taking all its games multiplatform, as whipped-up rumour mongers had wildly speculated. And the (excellent value) Xbox Game Pass subscription service is remaining exclusive to Xbox and PC.

Has Xbox lost the console war? ›

Last year, during its court battle with the Federal Trade Commission over its $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, Microsoft said in a court filing that Xbox had “lost the console wars” and “has consistently ranked third (of three) behind PlayStation and Nintendo in sales."

What is the most powerful console? ›

The Xbox Series X is the most powerful console. In practice, the difference between this and the PS5 is very minimal, though. Both consoles are able to output 4K visuals while maintaining consistent frame rates and both also support high-end features like 120Hz.

Is Xbox One S discontinued? ›

Microsoft has stopped manufacturing all Xbox One consoles. The software giant originally discontinued the Xbox One X and digital Xbox One S ahead of the Xbox Series X launch, then quietly stopped manufacturing the Xbox One S at the end of 2020, leaving retailers to sell out their remaining stock.

What is the 2 oldest Xbox? ›

History of Microsoft Xbox Consoles
  • Generation One — Xbox. Release date: November 15, 2001. Launch price: $299. ...
  • Generation Two — Xbox 360. Release date: November 22, 2005. ...
  • Generation Three — Xbox One, One S and One X. Release date: November 22, 2013. ...
  • Generation Four — Xbox Series X and Series S. Release date: November 10, 2020.

How old is Xbox Gold? ›

Games with Gold initially launched with the Xbox 360 in July 2013, while Xbox One games were added in June 2014.

What was in the Xbox leak? ›

Exputer has published a series of leaked images of the white Xbox Series X, showing that it's a disc-less system with the same design on the exterior as the existing black Xbox Series X. The white coating appears to be identical to the Xbox Series S “robot white” that Microsoft uses on its smaller $299 console.

What games are released in the Xbox leak? ›

The Xbox leak also includes a game release schedule that includes as yet unreleased games including Indiana Jones, Doom Year Zero and DLCs, The Elder Scrolls VI, Project Kestrel with expansion, Fallout 3 Remaster, Dishonored 3, Project Platinum, and others.

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