For the record, everything that I am about to go over has not been confirmed by Microsoft, so take it with a grain of salt. However, there have been many sources across the gaming sphere that point to these rumors being true. Many of the sources are not authorized to share any of the information leaked, so they have opted to remain anonymous. Most of the information that will be talked about comes from Kotaku and a podcast from Brad Sams. Brad Sams is the man who leaked rumors of the Xbox elite controller ahead of its announcement.
The first bit of info that needs discussing is the rumor that there will be a new Xbox One model coming out later this year. The new Xbox model will reportedly be much smaller than the current Xbox One model. According to a tweet from the senior editor at the Verge Tom Warren, the model will be 40% smaller. Kotaku’s sources have also stated that they believe the new 2016 model will include a 2TB hard drive. The current most spacious Xbox One model is 1TB, so this newer Xbox will have double the storage capacity. As of right now, that’s all we know about the upcoming 2016 model, but we expect to learn more about the newer model at this year’s E3.
Reports have also come out stating that next year an even newer Xbox One model will be released and that this newer model will do more than add storage and decrease the console's size. This more powerful model goes by the codename Scorpio. The three most important things that have been reported on the Scorpio are that it will have a faster GPU, will be capable of supporting the Oculus Rift, and will support 4K video playback.
The technical improvements are not unlike what we have heard from recent PlayStation Neo rumors. An improved GPU will allow for prettier looking games when compared to the current Xbox model. According to Polygon, the Scorpio is aiming for a performance target of about 6 teraflops,which would make the Scorpio about 4 times more powerful than the current Xbox One model, and would also make the Scorpio more powerful than the rumored PlayStation Neo. The more powerful GPU will also allow for 4K video playback, but Brad Sams specifies in his podcast that this will not translate to 4K gaming. There are other parts of the console that would need serious upgrading in order for games to run at 4K, and it doesn’t look like the Scorpio will be receiving the necessary improvements to allow it to work. Lastly, Microsoft supposedly would like to support the Oculus Rift with the Scorpio as well. Kotaku’s sources even go as far as to say that Xbox is looking to partner with Oculus. Still no word from either company as to whether any of this is true. The closest thing we have to a response concerning any of these rumors is the following tweet from head of Xbox Phil Spencer:
According to Kotaku, the two new consoles are part of a new Xbox strategy codenamed Project Helix. The new initiative is designed to treat Xbox more like a platform, and in doing so, merge Xbox and Windows. Xbox as a platform would mean that instead of releasing one console every 5-10 years, they would implement a more incremental console release model. The two upcoming rumored models are a good example of this, especially since the 2017 model will supposedly come with actual technical improvements and will not simply be cosmetic changes to the console.
This isn't the first time Xbox has toyed with the idea of treating Xbox as a platform like PC. In an interview with Polygon Phil Spencer said the following:
We look at these other ecosystems out there like mobile, tablet and PC and we see that they have a very continuous evolution cycle in hardware, whereas between console generations most of the evolution is making it cheaper and potentially making it smaller. Both are meaningful but don't make the games play any better. If you look at PC specifically and see the evolution that happens there, there's no reason why console can't ride that same curve.
Now, when it comes to Microsoft attempting to merge Xbox and Windows, this isn’t completely unheard of news. During Xbox’s spring showcase, the company detailed some of their plans for what Phil Spencer called the “Universal Windows Platform”. Read the full TechRaptor article here which goes into much greater detail concerning Microsoft’s complete plans to merge the two platforms. However, Brad Sams mentioned in his podcast that the Xbox interface will be headed to PC. This, along with the fact that Xbox exclusive series’ like Halo Wars will be coming to Windows means that the “Universal Windows Platform” may be coming in the not-so-distant future.
It’s also important to note that in Brad Sams’ podcast, he revealed that his sources told him that Microsoft plans to release two streaming devices sometime in the near future. One of the devices will be about the size of a Chromecast and can be used for simple streaming like watching Netflix. This smaller streaming device is rumored to cost somewhere around $100. The larger streaming device is rumored to be about the size of a lunchbox and will supposedly cost $150 - $175, but will include more streaming functions than the smaller device. Some of the functions include the ability to run apps and play games. Look forward to more info on the rumored streaming devices at E3 this year according to Sams.
What do you think about the new Xbox rumors? Do you like the idea of Xbox as a platform, or would you rather it as a console that you buy ever 5-10 years? Are you looking forward to the rumored streaming devices? Let us know in the comment section below!