Microsoft is preparing at least two new Xbox models for release in the next two years, sources tell Kotaku. Later this year we’ll see a cheaper, smaller Xbox One, and next year Microsoft will release a more powerful version of their premiere console.
The 2017 Xbox, which is codenamed Scorpio, will have a more powerful GPU, according to three people familiar with this model, speaking anonymously because they were not authorized to speak about Microsoft’s plans. We hear that it will also be technically capable of supporting the Oculus Rift and that Microsoft is pursuing a partnership with Oculus. As for 2016, sources have told us there’s at least a more compact version coming by year’s end. One source believed it will include a larger 2TB hard drive, double the capacity of the most spacious current model. We’re expecting Microsoft to announce the more compact machine at E3 next month. (Kotaku’s Jason Schreier and Kotaku UK’s Keza MacDonald both independently corroborated this information.)
When asked about these plans, Microsoft and Oculus representatives did not provide comment.
The two consoles form part of a wider Microsoft strategy, codenamed “Project Helix” according to one source, to converge Xbox and Windows. For a while now Microsoft has been clear that they want their two prestige brands to work together, as they’ve announced big new exclusives like Halo Wars 2 and Sea of Thieves for both Xbox One and PC. Developer sources have told us that Microsoft’s new mandate is to release future games–including the flagship Halo series–on both platforms. The recently-cancelled Fable Legends, which was playable across Windows 10 and Xbox One, was one of the first games to implement this strategy.
In addition, people familiar with Microsoft’s plans have told Keza that the company is moving toward an iterative approach for their consoles, not unlike Apple. Sources say that instead of one hardware revision every five years or so, as has been the case with previous console cycles, Microsoft plans to move towards an incremental model, with more frequent hardware releases and games that are both forwards and backwards compatible across both Windows 10 and different Xbox models.