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Microsoft’s Future Vision for Xbox: Next-Generation Hybrid Gaming

In leaked documents from the FTC vs. Microsoft court case, the tech giant's plans for a true, next-generation game console have been revealed. While the upcoming Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S refreshes are scheduled for a 2024 launch, Microsoft's vision for its Xbox Series X successor goes even further.

The leaked slides indicate that the Xbox Series X successor is expected to arrive in late 2028, with developer kits possibly shipping a year earlier. Microsoft's goal is to develop a next-generation hybrid game platform that harnesses the combined power of both client hardware and the cloud, delivering deeper immersion and entirely new classes of gaming experiences.

Microsoft already heavily relies on cloud services with its current-generation console, including Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Cloud Gaming. However, this new endeavor aims to enable even higher levels of performance beyond what client hardware alone can achieve.

Under this vision, Microsoft describes the release of “cloud hybrid games” developed by game studios. A notable example of this approach is Microsoft Flight Simulator, which streams large amounts of photorealistic map data on-demand from Bing Maps within the game. This effectively reduces the need for extensive local storage and provides access to vast amounts of data.

It is anticipated that Microsoft and third-party developers will further embrace this “hybrid” approach by relying less on local storage for game assets. This could lead to a reduced reliance on high-performance silicon inside the console, shifting the processing burden to server farms. This aligns with Microsoft's existing Xbox Cloud Gaming service.

In terms of hardware, Microsoft is considering the use of ARM64 or AMD Zen 6 architecture for the CPU. For the GPU, there are indications of a preference for an AMD Navi 5x (RDNA 5) GPU, compared to the current-generation Radeon RX 7000 Series. It is important to note that these leaked documents represent Microsoft's aspirational goals for the future of Xbox, and plans may evolve and change over time.

Overall, Microsoft's ambition is to create a next-generation gaming platform that combines the power of both client hardware and the cloud. This approach would enable game developers to push boundaries, deliver immersive experiences, and utilize vast amounts of data, ultimately transforming the gaming landscape.

– [Source 1] – [Source 2]