Last night, sleuths searching through the FTC documentation provided by Microsoft to courts as part of its appeal for the company’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard struck gold. They found details of potential upcoming games, handheld Xbox hints, and remasters of beloved titles like Fallout 3.
However, the biggest prize from this documentation was a stack of details about a mid-gen hardware refresh for Xbox consoles. The documents show at least two planned Xbox devices and a new controller that looks like it will function with any screen users want to play games on, such as smartphones.
Related: Microsoft Wins The Activision Blizzard FTC Battle, But Not The War
XboxSeries X/S Console Refresh Revealed by Microsoft FTC Court Documents
Overnight, while most people were sleeping, a select number of internet investigators were trawling through the documents Microsoft provided as part of its appeal in the process to acquire Activision Blizzard. In those documents, they found details of a mid-gen refresh for the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S and a brand new controller that looks like it’s been designed with cloud gaming in mind.
The full details of this mid-gen refresh have been posted on ResetEra, and they’re very interesting for Xbox fans hoping for a slight hardware bump. The two new consoles are codenamed Brooklin (Xbox Series X refresh) and Ellewood (Xbox Series S refresh). The consoles will be priced the same as their previous models, making the choice between old or new hardware easy for those yet to invest.
Perhaps the most interesting detail from these documents is a leaked timeline for the release of the new consoles. The Ellewood 1 TB model is planned for a September 2024 release, which notes say will allow Microsoft time to have a dialogue with fans about that specific device. Another note explains how splitting the releases will maximize sales from fans looking for the most or least powerful new console.
Then, 60 days later, the Brooklin 2 TB model will launch in November 2024. Notes show this is planned to allow both consoles to benefit from holiday sales without impacting each other’s release windows. Again, the separation allows for a dialogue between Microsoft and fans. New storage options will become available in 2025, according to the documents.
Around this time, a Black Friday 2024 deal codenamed “Last Chance Edith EOL (End of Life)” will offer fans the original Xbox Series S console for $199. We believe it’s the Xbox Series S because the storage capacity is listed as 512 GB.
In addition to the new consoles, the documents showcase a new controller, codenamed Sebile. This controller boasts greater connectivity with Bluetooth 5.2, Direct to Cloud, and Xbox Wireless 2 listed as features. It’s more sustainable, made from recycled materials packing less resin, and has a rechargeable battery. All of this makes us think the controller is geared towards cloud gaming, which could be a big focus of the Xbox mid-gen update.
One concern we have about these consoles based on the leaked documents is that, while the new Xbox Series X is sleeker with its cylindrical design, none of the devices in the mid-gen refresh appear to use physical game discs. They all list “All Digital” in their Content Delivery sections, which clearly means users must have access to Wi-Fi at the very least but should be paying for Xbox Game Pass if they want to get the most out of their Xbox.
A shift away from physical media will almost certainly rub some people the wrong way. The backward compatibility features of the Xbox Series X convinced some people to buy it. Offering better hardware but removing the ability to use physical discs will split the fan base and put more emphasis on companies like Super Rare Games to produce the physical editions collectors crave.