There has been a lot of talk about a PlayStation 5 Pro mid-generation update coming next year, but Microsoft will reportedly go one better. It is said to be considering jumping straight to its next generation machine – currently dubbed Xbox Next – to get ahead of its long standing rival.
It could release its Xbox Series X 2 games machine as early as 2026, it is claimed.
Journalist and games industry expert Jeff Grubb, who also recently said the PS5 Pro leaks are "almost certainly" genuine, says his source has knowledge of Microsoft's plans: "That person is now saying that Xbox will have [its] own Xbox Next in 2026, whether that’s the Pro or a full follow-up console."
He also claims that the disc-free update of the Xbox Series X, which leaked in September, has been cancelled in favour of a full refresh: "This leaker is saying that this stuff is cancelled and said they’re going to do the Xbox Next faster than they would’ve done otherwise," said Grubb (via Metro).
That Microsoft would want to replace its current flagship console so soon, without a mid-generation upgrade, does come as somewhat a surprise. However, considering the sales figures of the Xbox Series X in comparison with the PS5, it does make sense that it'd want to get ahead of Sony with the next generation.
Xbox consoles have launched almost simultaneously with PlayStations for the last two generations, and have been greatly outsold both times.
The last time when Microsoft "won" a console war was with the Xbox 360, which launched a whole year ahead of the PlayStation 3.
It's widely thought that a PlayStation 6 won't appear until 2028 at the very least, so getting a rival machine out a year or two beforehand would certainly give Xbox an edge.
That said, Xbox boss Phil Spencer has suggested in the past that the hardware might not be the biggest factor in the expansion of the gaming company. It plans to get Xbox games on "every device and screen" possible, mostly via cloud gaming, so it might be that Xbox Next is simply a streaming device – as previously suggested.
We'll be keeping our eyes on this story though as it progresses.