New Xbox console in development, plus Xbox in TVs and other cloud gaming ‘devices’

Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S consoles
What will come next? (pic: Microsoft)

Microsoft has claimed it’s already working on a new Xbox console, as well as embedding Xbox tech in TVs and other devices.

The Xbox Series X and S have barely been out for six months and yet already Microsoft is talking about new consoles.

‘We’re already hard at work on new hardware and platforms, some of which won’t come to light for years’, said Microsoft’s Liz Hamren in a new announcement. However, it’s not clear if she meant next gen hardware (which presumably wouldn’t be out for at least five years) or a mid-generation upgrade similar to the Xbox One X.

It’s probably the latter but the main reason for the announcement seems to be to assure hardcore gamers that Microsoft isn’t giving up on consoles, even as Hamern admitted that, ‘Cloud is key to our hardware and Game Pass roadmaps’.

Microsoft has a major advantage over Sony in terms of cloud gaming (Sony has already signed a deal to use Microsoft’s own cloud technology and datacentres) and it’s been clear for a long while that this is where the future of Xbox lies.

It’ll be a long road to get there though, and Microsoft are keen to emphasise that they’re not giving up on consoles any time soon.

What exactly they have planned in terms of new consoles is not clear (there were rumours of an Xbox Series V last year, but that was thought to be just a minor variation – if it exists at all) but their more immediate hardware plans involve incorporating Xbox into your TV.

Although no specific announcements have been made, Microsoft intends to ‘embed’ Xbox into smart TVs, although whether this will involve additional hardware in the television or the use of cloud gaming is currently unclear.

Microsoft will also be building its own ‘streaming devices’ for cloud gaming, although it didn’t describe those in detail either. They’re most likely to be either a low-cost touchscreen device or some sort of Chromecast style dongle that can plugged into other devices, similar to Stadia.

The only thing they were specific about is that cloud gaming will soon be possible via Edge, Chrome, and Safari browsers for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers.

Microsoft is also almost finished updating its datacentres with Xbox Series X hardware, which should ensure improved frame rates and faster load times when playing via the cloud.

Whether the TV plans and cloud gaming devices will be discussed in more detail during Microsoft’s E3 2021 conference on Sunday is currently unknown, but it’s clear that Microsoft’s plans for Xbox extend to more than just ensuring more first party games.

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