The gaming industry was rocked this week when Microsoft accidentally leaked a series of unredacted documents containing information about forthcoming Xbox refreshes, next-gen systems, and more. The leak occurred as part of the ongoing Federal Trade Commission v. Microsoft case, with the documents being uploaded to a court website. The leak, which quickly spread across the internet, not only provides a roadmap for Microsoft’s future plans but also offers unprecedented insight into the company’s inner workings.
The leaked files were first discovered by users on gaming forum ResetEra early Tuesday morning. The size and breadth of the leak are exceptional, causing a massive amount of speculation about Microsoft’s future. FTC spokesperson Douglass Farrar confirmed that the organization was not responsible for the uploaded plans, further fueling the intrigue surrounding the leak.
While Xbox fans were excited to get a glimpse into what’s to come, Xbox head Phil Spencer took to social media to address the situation. In a tweet, Spencer acknowledged the leak but mentioned that not all the information is up-to-date. He expressed disappointment that some of the team’s work was shared in this manner, emphasizing that there is much more to be excited about in the present and future. He assured fans that Microsoft will share the real plans when they are ready.
Despite the outdated nature of some of the leaked information, there were several significant takeaways from the documents. Firstly, Microsoft plans to release improved versions of its Xbox Series X/S consoles. The Series X refresh, codenamed Brooklin, is expected to launch in November and features a more cylindrical design, no disc drive, 2 terabytes of storage, and a USB-C front port. It will also come with faster Wi-Fi capabilities and a new controller, priced at $499. On the other hand, details about the Series S refresh, codenamed Ellewood, were not as specific but promised better internal storage and Wi-Fi for $299.
Another highlight from the leak was the revelation of a new controller, codenamed Sebile. This two-toned controller offers various features such as “direct-to-cloud” connection, a rechargeable and swappable battery, precision haptic feedback, quiet buttons and thumbsticks, and lift-to-wake capabilities.
The leaked documents also unveiled Microsoft’s ambitions for the future, including plans for a next-gen console expected in 2028. This console is described as a “hybrid game platform” that fully utilizes the cloud to deliver new levels of performance beyond client hardware capabilities alone.
Intriguingly, the leaked emails showed that Microsoft has its sights set on collaborations or even acquisitions with Nintendo and Valve. Xbox head Phil Spencer mentioned in an email to Microsoft executives that Nintendo is “THE prime asset for us in Gaming” and expressed interest in tighter collaboration. Though a mutually agreeable merger may be unlikely, Spencer stated that Microsoft is playing the long game. He also mentioned Valve as a potential partner for merging or acquisition.
Lastly, the leaked information revealed disappointing news for fans eagerly awaiting the release of Elder Scrolls VI. The game is not expected to launch until 2026 at the earliest and will be exclusive to PC and Xbox, leaving PlayStation 5 owners out of the equation.
While leaks are not uncommon in the gaming industry, this particular incident stands out for its size and breadth, sparking intense speculation and excitement among enthusiasts. As Microsoft continues to develop and refine its plans, fans eagerly await official announcements to see how many of the leaked details align with the company’s future strategy.