A trove of leaked documents last week revealed detailed plans from Microsoft for its gaming platform Xbox, including timelines for future upgraded gaming consoles, controllers, yet-to-be announced games from Bethesda, and other stuff.
The partially redacted files were uploaded to a website hosted by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California as part of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) lawsuit against Microsoft’s $68 billion acquisition of gaming giant Activision Blizzard.
Xbox Series X redesign
On Sept. 19, the sensitive plans, which were first published by Resetera, began appearing on the Internet and were widely shared. The FTC denied wrongdoing. Instead, it blamed Microsoft for leaking its own plans for Xbox by providing the court with a faulty cloud link to the documents.
The court has since stopped sharing the files. According to the leaked documents, Microsoft Corp. is planning a new disk-less Xbox Series X refresh design as well as new controllers with haptic feedback, meaning that controllers will be touch-sensitive.
Mid-generation Xbox Series X, codenamed Brooklin, and Series S, codenamed Ellewood, are scheduled for release sometime in 2024. This newer version of the Xbox Series X comes with a bigger storage capacity of 2TB and uses less power. The price will remain unchanged at $499.
One document lists upcoming major game titles, their release dates, and the platforms they will be available on. The list estimates that the highly anticipated game “The Elder Scrolls 6” will not be released until 2026 or later and will be a PC and Xbox-exclusive title.
It is notable that “The Elder Scrolls 6”, developed by Bethesda, will not be available on the Sony-owned PlayStation, a rival to Xbox. Other eagerly-awaited games revealed in the leak include Dishonored 3, a sequel to Ghostwire Tokyo, and Red Dead Redemption 2 for next-generation.
Okay so this is insane & easily the biggest gaming leak of the year
FTC leaked documents from Microsoft and Bethesda that have confirmed the following:
– Red Dead Redemption 2 for next gen is planned
– Xbox Series X disk less refresh design
– New Xbox controller with haptic… pic.twitter.com/waR0dU8G9F
— Synth Potato (Ameer) 🥔 (@SynthPotato) September 19, 2023
Microsoft acquired Bethesda’s parent company, ZeniMax Media, in 2021. The leaked files reveal a three-year-old release schedule for Bethesda, including yet-to-be announced games and remasters of The Elder Scrolls 4, Oblivion, and Fallout 3.
Posting on X, formerly Twitter, Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer said that it was “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.”
Blame it on Microsoft
Earlier on Sept. 19, the FTC’s director of public affairs, Douglas Farrar, denied that the agency was responsible for the leaked documents.
“The FTC was not responsible for uploading Microsoft’s plans for its games and consoles to the court website,” Farrar wrote on Twitter.
In an order filed after the leak, Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley said the documents were not meant to be made public, as reported by NBC News. She said Microsoft provided a link to exhibits in the case, and the court uploaded the files. As it turned out, the link wasn’t secure.
According to the leaked files, Microsoft is also planning a “thin OS” for below $99 “consumer or handheld devices,” suggesting that the company may release a handheld device dedicated to cloud games. The company wants Xbox to become a “hybrid game platform.”