Microsoft’s Xbox One didn’t have the greatest launch. It was overpriced, and the console required an always-on internet connection, which pushed many to Sony’s PS4. The console has improved substantially since launch, both in terms of features and pricing, and the introduction of the high-end Xbox One X has grabbed the interest of many.

So, how can Microsoft top that? Here, we take a look at early Xbox Two release date rumours and speculate on what could be featured.

When is the Xbox Two release date?

The million-dollar question is, when can we expect to see the Xbox Two? While the release of the Xbox One X suggests that we’ll have a few years to wait, that may not be the case. In fact, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot recently predicted that the PS5 and Xbox Two could be released in 2019.

The prediction was made during an investors' call, although the CEO stressed that the statement was nothing more than the company’s prediction, and there’s no evidence – confidential or otherwise – to back up the claim.

While that may sound disappointing, it’s worth noting that renowned American game analyst Michael Pachter revealed back in 2017 that he thinks the next-gen consoles will be on the market in 2019. Windows Central’s Jez Corden also revealed that the console is already being designed, and even has a codename (although that is yet to be revealed).

This was backed up by Microsoft's head of Xbox, Phil Spencer. During the Microsoft E3 2018 press conference, the head of Xbox confirmed that the next-generation Xbox consoles (plural) are in development, though there were no further details given about when we're likely to see them hit the market.

Trusted Microsoft insider website Thurrott claims that Microsoft is currently developing the new console range, codenamed Scarlett, and that the consoles could actually come to market fairly soon - as soon as 2020, apparently. That likes up with rumours about Sony's PS5, which is also widely believed to be revealed in 2020. This is backed up by claims from IDC analyst Lewis Ward, who claims that the Xbox Two and PS5 would both be revealed at E3 2020 and released in 2021. 

Of course, it’s purely speculation at the moment, but if that changes, we’ll be sure to update this section so make sure you check back soon.

What should we expect from the Xbox Two?

Based on the release of the Xbox One S and Xbox One X, it’s not a stretch to imagine that Microsoft will keep this format for the Xbox Two – an affordable console for the masses and a high-end console for those with a little more money to spend. The Xbox One X is already providing great quality 4K though, so the high-end model (if released) would have to offer a serious benefit to tempt gamers.

We also assume that the Xbox Two will feature AR/VR support. Sony has cashed in on the interest in virtual reality with the PlayStation VR headset, something that Microsoft is yet to do despite the impressive power of the One X.

Alternatively, Final Fantasy 15 Director Hajime Tabata suggests that we could see something radically different with the Xbox Two and PS5: cloud-based gaming. While it's not exactly new (Sony's PS Now subscription service uses cloud-gaming), a shift to cloud-only could be the next revolution in gaming. Tabata claims that games are the next form of media to be converted from physical to digital, like with music- and movie-streaming services.

That's what one leak, reported by Paul Thurrott, suggests. Thurrott claims that Microsoft is working on two next-gen Xbox devices - codenamed Scarlett - and that while one will be a traditional high-end console box, the other will be a much cheaper device built entirely for streaming Xbox games - though with just enough local computing power to help keep latency low.

This claim was backed up by a leak regarding AMD's next-generation APU powering the next generation of Xbox.

Thurrott goes on to say that all Scarlett games will be playable across both devices, and that both are on track for release in 2020.

Microsoft has also confirmed that the One X supports Windows 10 Mixed Reality headsets, so the interest is there, leading us to believe that the company could release its own headset designed for gaming (high-res, better refresh rate) alongside the next-gen console.

A late-2018 patent filing could also shed some light onto the next-gen Xbox controllers. As picked up by Windows Latest, Microsoft is looking to truly enhance the controller's trigger technology for the next-gen console. The filings describe motor-driver force-feedback and adjustable tension triggers that could provide developers with the ability to place different levels of resistance on the triggers to match what is happening on-screen.

While that may sound confusing, the tech has wide applications. As explained by Microsoft in the patent application, the trigger could be driven "to simulate a hard stop that effectively adjusts a pull length or range of rotation of the trigger" or "assist the trigger in returning to a fully-extended or “unpressed” posture when a user’ s finger is removed from the trigger".

As above, we’ll update this section as soon as we receive more information on the Xbox Two so make sure you check back soon.