Don’t worry, Xbox is staying in the hardware game

Somehow it’s been just over three years since the Xbox Series X launched. But here we are! It’s not surprising that Microsoft is already looking ahead toward its fifth-generation console; these things take a long time to develop. But the company officially acknowledged development on Thursday in its Official Xbox Podcast, where Xbox president Sarah Bond said Microsoft is targeting “the largest technical leap you will have ever seen in a hardware generation, which makes it better for players and better for creators and the visions they’re building.”

She continued: “We’re also invested in the next-generation roadmap.” Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer also spoke to The Verge in an interview published alongside the podcast, where he teased the “unique aspects” of future Xbox hardware.

“I’m very proud of the work that the hardware team is doing, not only for this year but also into the future,” Spencer said. “[We’re] really thinking about creating hardware that sells to gamers because of the unique aspects of the hardware. It’s kind of an unleashing of the creative capability of our hardware team that I’m really excited about.”

Microsoft bumped up the timing on a series of announcements after reports and rumors came out about the future of Xbox exclusivity and consoles. With little information available, the public started speculating, and eventually, some discourse landed in a place where people thought Microsoft might stop making hardware altogether. Microsoft Gaming is the company’s third largest business thanks to the Activision Blizzard merger, per its recent financial reports, but it’s well behind Microsoft’s server and office divisions, both of which include cloud services. Console hardware is just a part of Microsoft’s gaming strategy, and it’ll still clearly be an important part of the brand.

But still, the cyclone that was last week’s discourse got big enough that Complex wrote an article speculating whether Xbox was shutting down completely.

Unsurprisingly, Microsoft didn’t share anything else on Xbox’s fifth-generation console, but it did tease a hardware announcement coming “this holiday.” It’ll be part of what Microsoft called its “robust and innovative multi-year hardware roadmap.”

We have an idea of what’s to come because back in 2023, Microsoft leaked its own confidential documents related to its Federal Trade Commission case. One of those documents, a presentation called “Roadmap to 2030,” outlined Microsoft’s hardware lineup for 2024. The documents were older but outlined refreshes of the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S — the most dramatic of which was the disc-less Xbox Series X. Those documents also included specs for a new Xbox controller.

What’s still missing from the picture is an Xbox handheld, which has been rumored for a bit. Spencer told The Verge he’s a big fan of handhelds, but that there’s nothing to announce.