Leaked documents from the ongoing FTC v. Microsoft court battle have revealed some intriguing details about Microsoft’s future plans for its Xbox gaming console. According to the documents, Microsoft is working on a “hybrid game platform” that combines local hardware and cloud computing to create a more immersive gaming and app experience. The leaked presentation suggests that this next-generation Xbox could arrive as early as 2028.
One of the slides in the leaked document reads, “Our vision: Develop a next-generation hybrid game platform capable of leveraging the combined power of the client and cloud to deliver deeper immersion and entirely new classes of game experiences.” Microsoft aims to optimize this platform for real-time gameplay and creators, pushing the performance beyond what the client hardware alone can deliver.
In terms of hardware, Microsoft envisions next-gen DirectX raytracing, dynamic global illumination, ML-based super resolution, and micropolygon rendering optimization. The system could support a range of devices, from powerful consoles to more affordable “Thin OS… $99 consumer or handheld devices” that rely on cloud computing through xCloud.
What sets this hybrid game platform apart is its use of “hybrid compute,” which combines local hardware and cloud computing to display in-game elements simultaneously. Primary characters could run on the local GPU, while NPCs and background elements are generated remotely.
AI and machine learning (ML) are also expected to play a significant role in next-gen gaming. Neural networks could power features like super resolution, frame rate interpretation, and latency compensation. They could also enhance game experiences and player services, improve creator tools, and optimize cloud resources.
While the leaked document mentions potential collaborations with AMD for graphics and CPU cores, the document also mentions the need for an “Arm64 decision.” The company seems to have already started its journey, with hardware and hybrid game design planned to commence in 2024, and dev kits becoming available by 2027, with shipping estimated for 2028.
It’s worth noting that the leaked document represents just one snapshot in an ongoing conversation, and the roadmap may change significantly. Earlier in the document, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella emphasizes the need to align the company’s systems talent to establish a unified vision for the future.
The leaked documents also touch on other ideas, such as a “mobile controller” that turns the controller into the focal point. This suggests that Microsoft was still refining its vision for the next-gen Xbox at the time of the presentation and might have since altered its plans.
While these leaked documents provide a fascinating glimpse into Microsoft’s potential future for the Xbox, it’s important to remember that plans can change, and the company may prioritize different features or strategies as time progresses. Nonetheless, gamers and industry observers will be eagerly awaiting official announcements from Microsoft regarding its next-generation Xbox, especially given the company’s track record of innovation in the gaming space.