Technology

Xbox Two: What Can We Expect From Next Gen Microsoft Console

The existence of the Xbox Two can be considered something of a secret. While Microsoft will undoubtedly be working on next generation technology to release at some point, the whole concept of console generations is very much up in the air. Hardware behemoths that last for several years without alteration are no longer the zeitgeist, and Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo alike are all currently assessing the future direction of the market.

Xbox Two
QuentinLGH / Pixabay

With the Xbox One X having just been released, it is fair to say that the Xbox Two will probably be delayed for quite some time. Both Sony and Microsoft now have two viable machines in the public domain, which are intended to complement one another, rather than competing. It doesn’t seem as if there is a huge space for either a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Two at present, particularly as the Xbox One X is literally brand new.

Albert Penello, senior director of Xbox console marketing at Microsoft, has already indicated that the generational notion of console releases is certainly changing.

“If you look at the rate of technological change in the last 15 years, it’s probably greater than the 30 years that preceded it, and the console business is one of the ones that hasn’t evolved. In past generations, I don’t think you could have done something like this, but honestly, when I look at phones at $800 and graphics cards at $600, it shows that people are willing,” Penello argued.

Branding

Nonetheless, despite the extent to which the contemporary marketplace requires a nimble approach, at some point there will certainly be a sequel to the Xbox One. With branding being considered increasingly important in all technology circles, naming the console appropriately will be absolutely key. They could be other options open to Microsoft other than Xbox Two, but the usage of Xbox One for the last release does suggest that this sequential branding would be logical.

Gaming focus

One thing that we can say for certain about the Xbox Two is that Microsoft will place the emphasis on gaming from day one. It is not inconceivable that an 8K Blu-ray drive will be available by the time that the Xbox Two is released, and it is possible that the manufacturer could embrace this technology when the console sees the light of day.

Microsoft has certainly learned from its completely misguided approach to the Xbox One launch, and will absolutely emphasize from the moment of unveiling that the Xbox Two is a video games console first and foremost.

More models

One thing we can expect with the Xbox Two is that Microsoft will release several models from day one. Consumer choice will be a byword of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Two generation, and Microsoft isn’t about to let itself fall behind Sony in this department. So we can reasonably expect several purchasing choices to be made available, even with different specifications.

Other options open to Microsoft with the Xbox Two include the removal of the physical drive in favor of a streaming model, and different quantities of memory in different releases.

VR and AR support

Virtual reality and augmented reality are central to the future of the video games industry. While neither technology has managed to become truly mainstream as of yet, the decent performance of the PlayStation VR headset means that Sony is fully committed to virtual reality going forward. Naturally, Microsoft will respond to this in time, and the appearance of both virtual reality and augmented reality technology in the Xbox Two generation is likely.

Microsoft has already confirmed that the Xbox One X will support Windows 10 virtual and mixed reality headsets, but it could also release its own proprietary technology as well. One of the key aspects of virtual reality in particular is that it enables the video game industry to go in an entirely new direction; something that is needed, despite its massive success, with other ways of improving games delivering ever diminishing returns.

Augmented reality has also been embraced in the smartphone niche, and is already a part of many people’s everyday lives.

Power and graphics

The Xbox One X is already an awesomely powerful console, which means that the Xbox Two should be an absolute juggernaut by the time that it arrives. 4K resolution at 60 frames per second is absolutely guaranteed, and it is even probable that the Xbox Two will be capable of displaying 8K resolution, if not with gaming then certainly with media.

While it is difficult to speculate on the precise processing setup required to deliver this, there is no doubt that this will be an extremely powerful machine. Microsoft may also embrace a projection cinema system similar to Project Ariana. This was recently shown off at the CES 2017 show, and enables gaming environments to be stretched beyond the physical screen and into the room of a gamer.

Cross-platform and PC

Cross-platform play, accounts and digital purchases are now common in Windows machines, and this is something that Microsoft will embrace in the Xbox Two release. The increasing significance and influence of PC gaming will also see Microsoft adopt a Steam-type interface, which ensures that gaming is placed at the centre of the Xbox Two experience.

There will probably also be further collaboration with PC platforms, as Microsoft looks to ensure that the Xbox Two is a flexible machine.

Xbox Two Release date

The Xbox Two will probably appear after the PlayStation 5. At least, that would seem to be the case at present, with Sony having at least discussed the PlayStation 5 publicly, and Microsoft having only just released the Xbox One X. Microsoft will assert that its new console is already a PlayStation 4 Pro beater, and that the ball is in Sony’s court. Meanwhile, Sony will not unreasonably state that it is one year ahead in the development cycle, and also has a massive lead in terms of units shifted.

Nonetheless, it is hard to imagine the Xbox Two appearing before 2021.