Microsoft may have a Xbox Series X digital version in the works. At least, that’s what we caught in a story yesterday posted on tom’s guide. The tom’s story reports that “reasonably reliable tech tipster” had posted about this possibility. If true, it would fit into the narrative, given Sony PlayStation’s recent released details on its upcoming PlayStation 5 console. During their release event, Sony pictured their next-gen system- featuring a 4K HD Blu-ray drive- alongside an optical drive-free “Digital” edition.
Codename: Xbox “Lockhart”?
We went back to the comments posted on the forums at beyond3d.com to a thread entitled Xbox Lockhart General Rumors…” to see what the rumors are about this Xbox Series X digital version.
While its all rumortastic, some of the commentary here does make sense. Lockhart, the purported code-name for what is essentially a shrunk-down and somewhat speced-down version of the Xbox Series X, would still surpass its prior gen Xbox One X brethren. Even with a rumored reduced RAM capacity and some lowered video bonafides, the Lockhart version would still be a powerhouse.
Eastmen first speculates on the video processing capabilities, with the Lockhart system potentially performing video processing in the 5-6 tflops range. They also speculate here on a possible release date of early next year. It seems reasonable to expect Microsoft to let their flagship next-gen systems get sold at full price for the first six months, before undercutting sales of the new system with their own down-priced version.
Match that with a rumored significantly lower entry point price-wise, its conceivable that the system could be a hit with the general consumer who uses their gaming console more as a portal to streaming services and for more part-time gaming.
Eastmen further speculates….
Is this suprising?
Eastmen may be a paid insider who is purposely leaking rumors. Eastmen may be an insider who is leaking details without the ok of their corporate overseers. Its just as likely that this at best, could end up just being a luck guess. Given the history of the Xbox One and the relative success of the digital version of that console, not to mention that Sony just revealed it will have an optical free drive version of the PlayStation 5, it seems all to logical of a conclusion that Microsoft would do exactly the same thing.
After all, at whatever price the XSX enters the market at, there will be plenty of buyers more than willing to drop the initial $400, $500 or even $600 at debut. However, its also absolutely true that there will be plenty of consumers with zero motivation to upgrade from their reliable, tried and true Xbox One or PS4 consoles, without the enticement of a lower-cost alternative to enter the next-gen market.
Lockhart makes sense for “non-gamer gaming” crowd. What consumer that is streaming and playing graphically simple titles such as Minecraft, Minecraft Dungeons, or the Untitled Goose Game needs 10+ tflops of video processing? There is a big market of consumers who will want to update their aging consoles, but enter at an intermediate price point.
Sony beat Microsoft to the punch in having already revealed it will have a digital version. Even without revealing anything about pricing yet, we can easily conclude it will be cheaper. So its not a big leap to conclude Microsoft will do the same with the Xbox Series X.
Microsoft will be holding its own events in July, and we can expected that new details about the Xbox Series X, its launch games and hardware, and perhaps even details about Lockhart, if true to exist, may be discussed. We will be, like some many others, anxiously anticipating big things to be revealed.