Thanks to the Xbox Showcase we now have had a glimpse into the future of Microsoft’s console and while there are plenty of games on the way, improved hardware seems unlikely.
In fairness, a new Xbox Series S was announced with larger storage, but that isn’t going to offer upgraded performance. We are rapidly approaching the expected midpoint of this console generation already and yet rumours of an upgraded Xbox are thin on the ground.
Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox spoke to Bloomberg after the showcase and although he admitted they are in “Third place” behind Sony and Nintendo, he seemed to rule out any new consoles claiming “Right now, we’re pretty set on the hardware we have.”
This may be a disappointment for Xbox fans, especially after one of the biggest exclusives of the year, Redfall, was such a disappointment. It seems like Microsoft is focusing on software instead with the 2021 purchase of Bethesda and the ongoing process to acquire Activision which could see it trump its rivals for exclusives.
Speaking of Sony, there has been no official confirmation of a PS5 Pro and last month's PlayStation Showcase didn’t mention it, but the rumours won’t go away and it seems if they did launch an improved console it would have the space to itself.
The PlayStation 5 has already sold over 38 million consoles and if left as the only console with a “Pro” variant it would make any cross-platform titles de-facto better on Sony’s system.
Why would Xbox not release a new console?
Remember that there are already two Xboxes. The Xbox Series X and its little brother the Series S. Developers already have to develop their games to work on two different specced consoles, perhaps the gap between the Series S and an Xbox Series X Pro (or whatever it would be called) is too much?
Alternatively, Microsoft may genuinely not see a need for new hardware. They are already a clear third in the console race, perhaps they feel it is better to wait for the next generation, or that average players would not notice an incremental improvement. This console generation was off to a slow start with stock shortages stopping many from getting an Xbox or PlayStation initially, so perhaps it will be an extra long one. Whatever the reason, it seems Microsoft is definitely not in a rush to push out new hardware.