Next Xbox revealed in secret documents – and court claims Microsoft leaked them itself | Science & Tech News

Microsoft’s plans for the next Xbox games consoles have been revealed in leaked court documents – and a judge has blamed the company itself.

Information about refreshed versions of its Series X and Series S machines, which released in November 2020, emerged from filings made to a recent trial against the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

It saw America’s competitions regulator seek to block the tech giant from buying gaming firm Activision Blizzard, arguing the record $69bn (£52.9bn) deal would give it too much power in the industry.

Microsoft won the gruelling case back in July, but suffered a fresh blow this week after documents filed during its testimony exposed details about the unannounced consoles.

They were uploaded to a website hosted by the US District Court for the Northern District of California.

According to judge Jacqueline Scott Corley, the court ordered the firm and the FTC to provide “a secure cloud link” containing evidence with redactions that would shield sensitive information.

Microsoft provided a link on 14 September and the files were uploaded from there, but the judge said the court had since been informed they “contained non-public information”.

They have now been removed from the website, but the documents have spread far and wide.

Microsoft and the FTC, which also blamed the company for the leak, must resubmit their trial exhibits this week.

The latter has appealed the court’s ruling on the Activision takeover, which also still needs to be cleared in the UK.

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What are the future Xbox plans?

The leak suggested both new consoles would release in 2024, with the Series X adding more graphics power but reducing energy consumption; adopting a new cylindrical design and controller; and ditching its disc drive.

The less powerful Series S would be a modest tweak, maintaining the look of the current model, but will also get the updated controller and use less energy.

An entirely new console, one that would rival a likely PlayStation 6, would purportedly arrive in 2028.

Microsoft’s documents also revealed details about new games from Bethesda, the company behind this month’s highly anticipated release of sci-fi blockbuster Starfield, and internal emails in which Xbox chief Phil Spencer described rival Nintendo as “the prime asset”

Spencer has overseen a raft of acquisitions in recent years, including Activision and Bethesda.

Nintendo, the creator of iconic franchises like Super Mario and Legend Of Zelda, would likely trump both.

Mr Spencer admitted the leak was a blow, saying “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”.

He claimed the plans were “old” and fresh details would be shared “when we are ready”.

Microsoft said it would not be commenting beyond Mr Spencer’s posts on X.