Rumor mill: Although Microsoft continues to deny it has two versions of the next Xbox planned, rumors of a low-end console to be released with its main offering persist. Now a small group of game developers have come forward to say there is indeed two consoles coming out next year, but still nothing official from Redmond.
Last year, rumors surfaced that Microsoft’s Project Scarlett had two next-gen consoles in the works — the standard, high-end version codenamed Anaconda, and a stripped-down model called Lockhart. However, Xbox gaming head Phill Spencer denied those rumors last June.
On Wednesday, four anonymous game developers briefed on the matter, confirmed the plan with Kotaku, and said the consoles are set to launch during the holiday season of 2020. Anaconda will be the direct successor to the Xbox One X, while Lockhart will be a digital-only (no optical drive) console analogous to the Xbox One S.
Lockhart will reportedly be less potent than its sister console, although Microsoft has yet to disclose hardware specs other than passing on some performance goals.
That said, the sources indicate that Lockhart will still be about as powerful as the PlayStation 4 Pro with around 4 TFLOPs of graphical computing power. It will also have a more substantial CPU than any current console on the market.
Microsoft is pushing developers to deliver gameplay at 60fps in 1440p for Lockhart. The company has previously stated that for Project Scarlett (Anaconda), it is shooting for 60fps in 4K.
Kotaku speculates that Lockhart will be heavily marketed and perhaps even bundled with Microsoft’s xCloud gaming service or Xbox Game Pass. This reasoning makes sense for a digital-only console.
When asked for comment, Microsoft issued its usual, “We do not comment on rumors or speculation.” So take the scuttlebutt for what it is worth until Redmond decides to remove the gag.