In what’s being cited as the biggest leak in the company’s history, Microsoft revealed a massive amount of information about forthcoming Xbox refreshes, next-gen systems, and more after uploading a series of un-redacted documents to a court website as part of the ongoing Federal Trade Commission v. Microsoft case. The leak, which ricocheted across the internet Tuesday, offers not just a roadmap for the gaming giant’s years to come, but also never-before-seen insight into Microsoft’s inner workings.
The files were discovered early Tuesday morning by users on gaming forum ResetEra. FTC spokesperson Douglass Farrar tells WIRED that the organization was not responsible for the uploaded plans; the court later confirmed. Leaks happen constantly in the game industry—earlier this year, Sony suffered its own leak as part of the FTC v. Microsoft trial over some poorly done sharpie redactions—but this particular instance is exceptional in its size and breadth, and the sheer volume of speculation about Microsoft’s future the documents caused.
On X (formerly known as Twitter), Xbox head Phil Spencer wrote that although the company has “seen the conversation around old emails and documents,” not all of the information that leaked was up-to-date. “It is hard to see our team’s work shared in this way because so much has changed and there’s so much to be excited about right now, and in the future,” Spencer wrote. “We will share the real plans when we are ready.”
Still, what did emerge from the document leak created a frenzy of hypothesizing about Microsoft’s aspirations. Here are the biggest takeaways.
Microsoft Plans to Release Improved Versions of Its Xbox Series X/S Consoles
According to the internal documents, mid-cycle console refreshes are on the way. The Series X console refresh, internally known as Brooklin, is expected in November. It’s more cylindrical in design than its boxy predecessor, is free of a disc-drive, and will offer 2TB of storage and USB-C front port. It also promises features like faster Wi-Fi capabilities and a new controller, at a $499 price point.
Details on Ellewood, the codename for the Series S refresh, aren’t quite as specific. The documents promise better internal storage and Wi-Fi for $299, with a 60-day gap between the two console releases to give Ellewood “its own ‘moment’ earlier in the holiday to maximize sales.”
…Which Includes a New Controller
The two-toned controller, codenamed Sebile, includes “direct-to-cloud” connection, a rechargeable and swappable battery, “precision haptic feedback,” quiet buttons and thumbsticks, and lift-to-wake capabilities.
Microsoft Is Eyeing 2028 for a Next-Gen Console
According to the documents, Microsoft is thinking of its next console as a “hybrid game platform” that will fully utilize the cloud. “We will enable new levels of performance beyond the capabilities of the client hardware alone,” the company wrote in an internal slide.
…And Also Had Its Sights on Nintendo and Valve
In an email to Microsoft executives Chris Capossela and Takeshi Numoto, sent in 2020, Spencer called Nintendo “THE prime asset for us in Gaming… I’ve had numerous conversations with the LT of Nintendo about tighter collaboration and feel like if any US company would have a chance with Nintendo we are probably in the best position.”
However, Spencer noted that he didn’t see “mutually agreeable merger” for the two companies, and that he didn’t believe “hostile action would be a good move so we are playing the long game.”
Spencer goes on to mention Valve alongside Nintendo and being in full support of merging with or acquiring either company “if [the] opportunity arises.”
It’s not the first time Microsoft has been interested in the Mario-maker (Nintendo had a good laugh about it) or perhaps even Valve for that matter.
No Elder Scrolls VI for a Few More Years
In news sure to disappoint a lot of fans, Elder Scrolls VI won’t be released until 2026 at the earliest, and PlayStation 5 owners shouldn’t expect it at all; its launch is only for PC and Xbox.