Microsoft teases a new, ultra-powerful Xbox, but will it seal 4K Blu-ray's fate?

Xbox Series X Brooklin leaked via FTC v Microsoft
(Image credit: The Verge)

UPDATE 21/02/2024: Xbox boss Phil Spencer has clarified the company's approach towards physical media on future Xbox consoles, and thankfully it sounds like good news. In an interview with Game File's Stephen Totilo, Spencer stated that the company's future doesn't “hinge on people moving all-digital.”

Spencer affirms that Xbox will "follow what the customers are doing", adding that it'll respond to the demands proportionately. He noted that a large proportion of customers still buy physical disc version of games, and in response to that Xbox will continue to support physical media, but won't push it further than the market demands. 

So does this mean the new Xbox that Microsoft has hinted at won't ditch the disc drive? We're not sure yet, although Phil Spencer has since confirmed that leaks that sprung up last year have all undergone various changes as development continues. 

ORIGINAL STORY 16/02/2024: Remember last year when Microsoft suffered an information leak that unearthed two new Xbox models? It looks like those leaks and rumours could be coming to fruition, as Microsoft has teased a future Xbox model that is set to feature the "largest technical leap" yet.

Confirmation that Microsoft is working on a powerful next-generation console came during the most recent edition of its Official Xbox Podcast, in which it also confirmed that exclusive titles from the Xbox games catalogue will also come to PS5 and Nintendo Switch. 

Xbox president Sarah Bond confirmed new hardware is on the way, with further announcements expected "this holiday" (we presume this means the end of the year). Bond also stated that Microsoft is "invested in the next-generation roadmap", in which it will deliver "the largest technical leap you will have ever seen in a hardware generation".

If this is a nod towards the leaked consoles that surfaced in September of last year, then we have some concerns. The Xbox Series X refresh that we caught sight of featured a controversial change by dropping the disc drive, meaning that (hypothetically) you'll only be able to play games and watch content via digital versions or streaming services.

The Xbox Series S is also set to get a refresh, although it looks to be a spec bump with upgraded ports, a new wi-fi module and an upgrade to 1TB of storage. Ultimately, it probably will not feature a 4K Blu-ray disc drive either, as is the case with the current Xbox Series S model. This means that the likelihood that you'll be able to use your 4K Blu-Ray movie discs on either of these new models is very slim.

We're unsure of what the new Xbox models will feature in terms of AV features, however going off the very well-specced current-gen consoles, we can begin to make some speculations. HDMI 2.1 for 4K/120Hz gaming is a given, with support for VRR and ALLM expected too. Dolby Vision HDR, Dolby Vision Gaming and Dolby Atmos are also featured on the current Xbox models, so we'd be surprised to see these features not make their return on the upcoming model.

With LG, Samsung and Panasonic announcing that their respective G4, S95D and Z95A OLED TVs will feature a new, higher 144Hz maximum frame rate, could we see this new Xbox support it? Only time will tell, as the leaked documents that hint at this new console reference a 2028 launch. As for now, we're just clutching onto our 4K Blu-rays while we still can. 


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Lewis Empson
Staff Writer

Lewis Empson is a Staff Writer on What Hi-Fi?. He was previously Gaming and Digital editor for Cardiff University's 'Quench Magazine', Lewis graduated in 2021 and has since worked on a selection of lifestyle magazines and regional newspapers. Outside of work, he enjoys gaming, gigs and regular cinema trips.

  • Corpus_Chain
    What's the obsession with these cylindrical designs? Where on Earth are you meant to put that? (That's a rhetorical question.)
  • nellz
    Corpus_Chain said:
    What's the obsession with these cylindrical designs? Where on Earth are you meant to put that? (That's a rhetorical question.)
    Greatly improved air flow in the smallest possible design. If you need something that doesn't take up space, I'd suggest a Chromecast
  • Friesiansam
    nellz said:
    If you need something that doesn't take up space, I'd suggest a Chromecast
    As a substitute for a powerful games console, a Chromecast is as much use as a chocolate teapot...
  • DougM
    I'm shocked they would even consider releasing a device today without wifi7. Much less at some nebulous time in the future.