Microsoft admits its working on next-gen Xbox console refresh

Mike Wheatley

A leak last year that revealed Microsoft is working on two new Xbox redesigns appears to be true, as the company has teased the launch of a future Xbox console that is said to be the “largest technical leap” thus far.


The revelation came via Microsoft’s most recent Official Xbox Podcast, where the company said it is working on a powerful, next-generation console. In addition, it also confirmed that a number of exclusive titles in the Xbox games catalogue will soon be released on the Sony PlayStation 5 and Nintendo Switch.

The new console was announced by Xbox President Sarah Bond, who said that new hardware is currently being designed. She added that the company expects to make further announcements regarding its progress “this holiday”, which we assume means by the end of the year. According to Bond, Microsoft is “invested in the next-generation roadmap”, which will see it deliver the “largest technical leap you will have ever seen in a hardware generation”.

This appears to verify the legitimacy of last September’s leak, which revealed that the company is working on two different consoles. The Xbox Series X refresh appeared to incorporate a somewhat controversial design change, eliminating the disc drive, which would mean users can only play games and watch content via digital formats or streaming services.

The Xbox Series S is also getting a refresh, though this will be less dramatic with the focus mainly being on increasing its specifications with upgraded ports, a new Wi-Fi module and increased storage capacity of 1 terabyte. It seems likely that the Xbox Series S will not come with a 4K Blu-ray disc drive either, as is the case with the existing model. So there seems to be very little chance that the forthcoming Xbox refreshes will ever let users watch Blu-ray movies on them.


The update revealed very little about what new AV features, if any, the refreshed consoles will have. But going by the specifications of its existing models, we can speculate that they’ll likely have HDMI 2.1 ports for 4K/120Hz gaming, as well as support for VRR and ALLM. The current Xbox models also support Dolby Vision HDR, Dolby Vision Gaming and Dolby Atmos, so it’s unlikely these capabilities would disappear.

It has previously been reported that Microsoft is considering switching from Intel’s x86 chip architecture to an ARM-based architecture, which would mean that existing Xbox games would need to be emulated or ported to the new console to ensure compatibility, or else they could just be streamed. In addition, Microsoft is also working hard on its next-generation ray-tracing and super-resolution capabilities, which would require an extremely powerful neural processing unit to be integrated with the console. But none of this has been confirmed so far.

The leaked documents from last year revealed that Microsoft is eying a 2028 launch window for its refreshed consoles, which is still a very long way off. However, today’s update would seem to suggest that the company’s plans are quite far along, so it may well be that we see them earlier.