Since Microsoft unveiled the Xbox One four years ago at E3 2012, a lot has changed with its big black box. Not only has Microsoft backpedaled on its initial ideas for what a modern games console should look like, its been able to secure some top-quality releases and gain some ground on Sonys PlayStation 4.
Now though, with rumours circulating around a successor to the Xbox One coming far sooner than we think, its time to look at what Microsoft is really up to. So, here are the all the facts, rumours and hopes that we have around Microsofts next Xbox console.
1. The next Xbox isnt the Xbox Two
Dont expect Microsoft to call the new Xbox the Xbox Two. Not only does this not fit with Microsofts rather erratic naming convention, it seems more than likely that the new Xbox console coming to market will be little more than a hardware iteration, rather than a generational jump.
Rumours suggest that Microsoft is gearing up to release a slimmer power-friendly Xbox One console for the end of this year. Any new hardware is likely to come in 2017.
2. Xbox Scorpio is likely to be the Xbox Two
While Microsoft may not call the next Xbox the Xbox Two, its looking likely that the next Xbox is in production under the codename of Scorpio. According to rumours, it will be equipped with a more powerful GPU and could include a larger 2TB hard drive. Its also likely to be ready for 4K gaming but, as Kotaku points out, it wont have an upgraded Bluray drive meaning disc-based 4K games could take a very long time to load.
3. We should see Scorpio at Microsofts E3 conference
With E3 just around the corner, its looking likely that well see our first glimpse of Microsofts new Xbox hardware during the show. Set to launch sometime in 2017, E3 seems to be the logical place to announce the new console, although it may decide it doesnt want to overshadow the announcement of a slimmer Xbox One.
4. AMD CEO accidentally confirmed Xbox Twos existence earlier in the year
During AMDs earnings call back in April, the company CEO Lisa Su let it slip that Microsoft was working on a new console with improved GPU capabilities. While she didnt let slip any specifics or dates, she did say that the new chips AMD was in the process of developing were for a different console or new console from each of the major console players. She also said that all new devices were expected to come to market by 2017 due to manufacturing ramping up.
5. Microsoft is working with Oculus on a VR-ready Xbox
Its no secret that Microsoft and Oculus have been working together on other projects. Not only did Microsoft assist Oculus in designing improved lenses, but Oculus Rift is already compatible with the Xbox One and ships with an Xbox One pad in the box. Unfortunately, the Xbox One isnt powerful enough to output properly to VR so a virtual-reality-ready Xbox successor is almost a sure thing.
Despite Kotaku corroborating information on an Oculus partnership, neither Microsoft or Oculus are prepared to comment on the matter.
6. Oculus or not, Microsofts next Xbox will support VR
While its unconfirmed if Oculus is working with Microsoft on a VR-ready console, we do know that a major studio is hard at work on an Xbox One VR title. Seeing as the Xbox One cant support VR just yet, this is almost confirmation enough that Microsoft has something up its sleeve.
One NeoGAF user also spotted that the E3 website also lists an Xbox One Virtual Reality category, with four developers listed. Rebellion, 3DRudder, Maximum Games and Readily Information Company are down as VR developers, but no titles are currently listed. Looks like well find out more during Microsofts E3 conference.
7. Xbox Scorpio is the start of a much bigger hardware plan for Microsoft
The Xbox Two/Scorpio is set to be the first in many hardware iterations for the Xbox One. When Xbox boss Phil Spencer explained that hed like to see consoles take on a PC-like evolution, he didnt mean that Microsoft would be offering upgradeable Xboxes. Instead, this is the start of iterative hardware releases akin to Apples MacBook and iPhone upgrades.
Dubbed Project Helix, Microsofts dream is to converge Xbox and Windows into a single device over time. This means that, not only will games cross between Xbox and PC, but as Microsoft releases updated versions of its hardware, the games will still run across them but using Windows to scale the title to each consoles hardware capabilities. Essentially, how PC games or mobile apps currently work.