Xbox's Next-Gen Plans Leaked--"Cloud Hybrid" Console Planned For 2028


A number of sensitive documents detailing Xbox's upcoming plans have been leaked due to the FTC v. Microsoft court case, including several slides detailing plans for Microsoft's next generation of consoles. The future consoles have a focus on "cloud hybrid" technology and seem poised to encourage a greater use of AI and machine learning in gaming tech.

The vision for the next generation, as laid out in the Xbox documentation, is to "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."

"Next Generation Xbox early details (Release in 2028, Cloud-Hybrid games, potentially switching to Arm)"

— Wario64 (@Wario64) September 19, 2023

A table of key strategic decisions shows that Microsoft is considering switching to an ARM64 CPU, like the Nintendo Switch uses. Points listed under "graphics innovation" also show Microsoft is targeting DirectX ray tracing for its next-gen consoles, as well as machine-learning-powered graphical enhancement.

In general, Microsoft seems to be putting a lot of focus on AI and machine learning for its next generation, touting its use for "optimization and acceleration of game performance, operations, and development for players and creators." In a table of features that could be "powered by AI & ML," Microsoft lists a number of areas, from matchmaking and player-discovery, to AI game testing and optimizing monetization. AI is already employed by Nvidia's DLSS technology in areas such as frame generation (a technology that increases frame rates), although AMD's equivalent, FSR, does not use AI at this point.

Also listed as a "key innovation" coming with the next generation of consoles is an "immersive game and app platform" that will allow anyone to develop their own games--possibly similar to Roblox's development platform. This seems to play into what Xbox executive Sarah Bond said recently about the potential for AI to further enable players also becoming game developers within the Xbox ecosystem.

The leaks also included details on Microsoft's mid-gen refresh due out next year, which will feature a disc-free version of the Xbox Series X with increased storage, as well as potential games like Dishonored 3 and a Fallout 3 remaster.