Months ago, many rumors were flying about around a possible Xbox Series X digital only console (which had been repeatedly referred to as the “Lockhart” console). In the ensuing weeks and months that followed, rumored details, including what were ultimately some semi-accurate details (we call them ‘guesses’), as well as what proved to be completely inaccurate renderings, kept appearing on social media and being picked up by gaming sites. The excitement of learning even questionably accurate new details in the run up to a new console release like the Xbox Series X are unavoidable. Which brings us to the “Xbox Series V.”
When Xbox officially announced the Xbox Series X|S this week and confirmed tech details, pricing and release dates, all at once gamers reveled in the details while also, probably, breathing a collective sigh of relief that “finally, we know.”.
However, we just learned hours ago via Gamesradar that this may have not been the end of the story. There may, in fact, be another version coming in the form of a in intermediate console positioned between Xbox Series X and S, in an all digital (ie less the disc drive) format. #recordscratch. “Say what now???”
According to a post by Twitter user Idle Sloth, there may be another Xbox Series console in the works. Going by the purported codename “Project Edinburg” (his spelling, not ours), Idle Sloth reported the rumor is that the “Xbox Series V” will be close to its Xbox Series X big brother, a much closer approximation of the Series X flagship, with more power than the S, but without the optical drive. This comes from his tweet, along with a screen shot (a shot of a computer screen of an image showing the three side-by-side.)
As we are generally skeptical of rumors around here, I’ll play the usual role of devil’s advocate and ask the obvious question… “Why would Microsoft and Xbox bother? What would be the benefit to Microsoft?”….
“Well, that’s damn fine question to ask, and I’m glad you asked it!”
The most likely argument comes down to money and marketing. As we speculated before the release about pricing of the consoles, lets examine the logic of a mid-level model and the likely pricing structure. The Series X will run $499. The Series S, at $299 is significantly cheaper, but also significantly less powerful than the X. Logically speaking, an “Xbox Series V” would come in at $399, with an intermediate performance. There may be some sense to it, allowing a consumer to trade a bit more money for a bit more performance, but it leaves Xbox sort of pigeon-holed on the pricing. Any less, Microsoft would risk undercutting sales of the S version because, if its “almost as powerful” as the X and the price differential between the “S” and the “V” was any closer, it would lead many a buyer to bite into the better version. On the other side of that pricing structure, Microsoft risks undercutting its sales of the Series X also, the console it likely wants to sell the most of, by tempting buyers to get an “almost as powerful” console in a “Series V”, but spend $100 less. So if its too close to either the X or the S, Xbox ends up hurting sales of one or the other. Split the difference and, voila! $399.
Especially for fans of the Xbox Game Pass and other digital game services, who likely make little use of the disc drive, $100 is a tidy sum to save for potentially near identical performance. Not only that, but the added costs to develop, market, manufacture, ship and sell a third console that will create competition within its own marketplace seems more likely to cause a self-inflicted wound than increase overall sales, revenue and profits, at least at this early point in the product cycle. From both directions, the Xbox Series V doesn’t make sense.
Which is why this rumor makes no sense, at least not at the present moment. (Not to mention the obvious fact that creating this “leaked” image using something as simple as Microsoft Paint would not exactly be a stretch.)
However, in fairness, even if this is all a fabrication, lets at least pay credence to the IDEA. As Gamesradar and others have pointed out, “Edinburgh” is a term that has been seen in code from the Xbox operating system releases. However, that’s about all the info there is: a name. We do know now that “Project Lockhart” was indeed codename for the, at the time, an only rumored all-digital version that would ultimately become the Series S, so Edinburgh might be codename for some other thing.
So there are a couple of possibilities we can speculate on. It might be that the “Edinburgh” project is a name that was or is being used for something unrelated to a new console itself, but rather some other as yet unknown feature. It might be a placeholder for some future tech that is, as of now, non-existent or in an early development phase intended for some future add-on. It also wouldn’t be surprising if Xbox has it in mind that, a couple of years out from now, when the new console smell has somewhat worn off, a “Series V” console could be a future product release. Consider that Xbox did so with the Xbox One S console and later the Xbox One X, where the Xbox One was retooled to break into additional market segments by offering a refresh later in the product cycle, with alternative higher and lower pricing options and upgraded tech. It was a necessary mid-generational refresh. It would not be in the least bit surprising for the Xbox team to be planning this far out, as it is a natural and predictable part of the product cycle.
For the meantime, we can certainly expect that the rumored “Xbox Series V” is not something we will be seeing anything officially about in advance of the November 10th release of the new XBox Consoles. The big news is already out of the bag, and the only really big console news anyone gives a damn about now relates to when the heck is Sony going to give up the goods on the PS5 release?
What do you think of this rumor? Comment below!