Microsoft’s Xbox One didn’t have the greatest launch – it was overpriced thanks to the joint requirements of the Kinect (which has since been completely discontinued) and an internet connection to function 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 recent 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).
The next Xbox is already being designed.— Jez☕ (@JezCorden) July 11, 2017
This was also 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 console is in development, though there were no further details given about when we're likely to see it hit the market. When you consider Sony's claim that the next PS4 won't be on the market until at least 2021, it seems we may have a while to wait until we get our hands on the Xbox Two.
There was a brief flicker of hope that we might see the console given a surprise reveal at Gamescom 2018 after an official blog post promised "all-new Xbox hardware and accessories," would be revealed at the August show, but the post was quickly amended to promise "new Xbox One bundles and accessories," dashing those hopes.
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?
Of course, it’s way too early for any possible design leaks or feature lists to appear online, so we’ll speculate as to what the Xbox Two will offer.
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.
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.
Moving on, Microsoft has 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) for offer alongside the next console.
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, or follow us on Twitter.