Microsoft’s video game console names have always been a little jarring.
First, there was the Xbox, then the Xbox 360, the Xbox One, the Xbox One X and the Xbox One S, as well as the disc drive-less Xbox One S All-Digital Edition. Then last week, during the 2019 Game Awards, Microsoft revealed its next-generation video game system, the Xbox Series X.
At the time, I speculated the name likely referred to multiple consoles and not a single device. It turns out there is at least some truth to this theory.
The fact that the next-gen Xbox is called ‘Series X’ indicates that there’s at least another new system coming to Microsoft’s lineup. My guess is that that the rumoured lower-end ‘Lockhart’ console is real. What we saw tonight was probably Project Scarlett. #GameAwards
— Patrick O’Rourke (@Patrick_ORourke) December 13, 2019
It seems Microsoft’s next video game console will just be called ‘Xbox,’ according to a recent interview with a Microsoft representative from Business Insider.
“The name we’re carrying forward to the next generation is simply Xbox,” said the Microsoft representative during the interview. The Microsoft rep then goes on to say that “Similar to what fans have seen with previous generations, the name ‘Xbox Series X’ allows room for additional consoles in the future.”
This means Microsoft’s next-gen strategy likely involves a high-end and a slightly less powerful Xbox. The statement also backs up rumours that have been swirling for months regarding Microsoft releasing a high-end new Xbox codenamed ‘Project Scarlet,’ along with a less powerful console known as ‘Lockhart.’
What remains unclear is if Microsoft will launch the weaker console at the same time as its next Xbox, as well as if the less powerful system will still feature the ‘S’ name like its current generation of systems. There’s also a possibility Microsoft could ditch this strategy entirely depending on how its next Xbox is received.
Phil Spencer, the head of all things Xbox at Microsoft, seemed to indicate that this might be the company’s strategy during a recent interview with GameSpot.
“In the name ‘Series X’, it gives us freedom to do other things with that name so that we can create descriptors when we need to,” said Spencer during the interview.
Though not everything is known about the next Xbox, Microsoft has confirmed it’s more powerful than the Xbox One X, features a new controller that includes a share button, and that it’s capable of playing all generations of Xbox games. We also know the new Xbox will adopt a PC-like tower shape, an aesthetic shift that some have viewed as controversial.