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Microsoft plans to release the next Xbox console in 2028

To no one's surprise, a flagship console is still on the cards for the Xbox platform albeit it'll be part of the company's plans for "cloud hybrid games."

The Xbox has long played second fiddle to the PlayStation.

Microsoft's ambitious vision for the future of gaming may be on the brink of fruition. With recent leaks emerging from the FTC v. Microsoft case, it's apparent that the tech giant is eyeing 2028 as the year it will achieve full convergence of its cloud gaming platform and physical hardware. This melding, which the company calls "Cohesive Hybrid Compute", could introduce "cloud hybrid games" - titles that seamlessly merge the computing power of cloud services with local hardware.

The proposed strategy revolves around the innovative premise of combining both the client's power and the cloud's vast resources. An intriguing aspect of this vision is the idea of playing these cloud hybrid games using a device priced under $99, which might even be a handheld, working harmoniously with Microsoft's xCloud platform. One can think of this as an evolution of current cloud gaming services, such as Nvidia's GeForce Now, where Microsoft doesn't just stream games but supplements the local hardware with computational power from the cloud.

Microsoft's strategic blueprint suggests they'd foreseen collaborations with AMD for the graphics and CPU cores, even incorporating ARM. Furthermore, the need for a Neural Processing Unit (NPU) is evident for enhancements like super resolution, latency compensation, and frame rate interpolation.

A homogenous multi-platform ecosystem might seem like a pipedream but that's exactly what Xbox is aiming to create.

If the current timelines hold, the hardware designs would begin as early as next year with the development kits coming out in 2027, as per The Verge.

With the leaked documents is a fascinating insight into Microsoft's top brass's strategic conversations. Microsoft's CEO, Satya Nadella, clearly stated the company's objective to create a unified vision across various computer types, including cloud-only systems, hybrid versions of Xbox, Windows, and HoloLens.

Additionally, Microsoft is keen on redefining gaming peripherals. The company is proposing the use of a multi-platform controller that adapts to multiple devices. This vision even extends to controllers tailored for mobile gaming, one-handed usage, and a dedicated gaming keyboard & mouse. A Cloud Console, Keystone, is also hinted at, having received funding alongside other projects.

It remains to be seen what kind of console the next Xbox is going to be.

While Microsoft's blueprints paint an enticing picture of gaming's future, its immediate challenges lie elsewhere. It still has the shadow of its enormous $68.7 billion bid to acquire Activision Blizzard looming over it. And, while it's mostly taken care of already, it remains the target of intense scrutiny from the FTC.

Once approved and finalized, this acquisition would mark a colossal consolidation in the gaming industry and possibly influence Microsoft's cloud gaming direction.

Coinciding with these developments is the expected launch of the next generation of consoles in 2028. The timing is of note as Sony's next-gen PlayStation might also debut around the same period. Microsoft's strategy of blending cloud and console might be a pioneering leap, but the path is filled with uncertainties, decisions on hardware partnerships, alignment on operating systems, and potential risks in external acquisitions.

Here's to hoping that Microsoft can learn from its mistakes with the Xbox Series S.

Ever ambitious, the leaked documents provide an intricate view of Microsoft's never-ending pursuit of staying on top of their competition amidst a rapidly evolving industry.

If executed successfully, Microsoft might redefine the paradigms of gaming, moving it closer to a future where the lines between local and cloud computing are indistinct.

For now, it will have to deal weather through the current storm. After welcoming Activision Blizzard into the fold, it will have to stay true to its earlier promises to bring Call of Duty to both the PlayStation and Nintendo platforms for years to come.

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  1. As much as I like using the cloud, cloud gaming just has me worried. Like imagine storing everything you ever bought and played there and something going wrong or them deciding to ban you... You lose access to everything!

Ray Ampoloquio

Ray Ampoloquio // Articles: 5954

Ray is a lifelong gamer with a nose for keeping up with the latest news in and out of the gaming industry. When he's not reading, writing, editing, and playing video games, he builds and repairs computers in his spare time.
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