Microsoft is currently embroiled in a US legal battle with the Federal Trade Commission (the FTC) over its intended purchase of Activision Blizzard. So far, so yawn. However, as part of that legal battle, information has leaked (thanks, The Verge) about a new version of the Xbox Series X, a new Series S and a new controller.
Inevitably, it's the Xbox Series X about which we're most interested, and on that there's good news and bad news. Code-named 'Brooklin', the good news is that the new Series X sports a bold new cylindrical design, has been upgraded to 2TB of internal storage, has Wi-Fi 6E for 'better throughput latency and interference mitigation', and uses less power than the existing model.
The bad news is that it's a digital-only model, so there's no disc drive. That's perhaps less of a problem for an Xbox than it is for a PS5, seeing as Xbox Game Pass is still so much stronger than PlayStation Plus, but it's still a shame for those who like to collect games or simply take advantage of discounted and second-hand discs, and it also (crucially, as far as we're concerned) obviously means that Blu-ray playback is off the menu. That could be yet another nail in the coffin for disc-based movies.
The new Xbox Series S (codename 'Ellewood') looks very much like the existing model, which is a bit disappointing, but it does also get a storage upgrade (to 1TB), Wi-Fi 6E and lower power consumption.
Both new consoles will come with a new controller, codename Sebile. It has a two-tone monochrome paint job that makes it look rather like a white controller that's been dipped in tar yet somehow (to this writer, at least) looks very smart. It also features motion controls, a rechargeable battery (finally!) and modular thumb sticks.
Interestingly, it also features a 'Direct-to-Cloud' connection, which will presumably result in reduced latency when using Xbox Cloud Gaming on a TV or portable device. On that subject, Microsoft is also touting 'Seamless Pair & Switch' functionality, the idea being that you can take your controller anywhere and quickly use it with different devices.
According to the leaked documents, the new controller will be announced later this year and will be priced at $70. That's $10 more than the official price of the original Series X/S controller. That likely means that the UK price will be £65 (£10 more than the current model) and that the Australian price will go up to around AU$110 (an increase of AU$20).
The new Xbox Series X and Series S will apparently be released in 2024, in November and September respectively (yes, that's Series S before Series X), and will be no more expensive than their predecessors in the US. Assuming there are no surprise increases elsewhere, that means we'll be looking at $499 / £480 / AU$799 for the new Series X and $299 / £250 / AU$499 for the new Series S.
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