Microsoft has been planning to launch a second, cheaper, more power-saving next-generation Xbox console, codenamed Lockhart, that aims to take advantage of most of the key next-generation improvements in the Xbox Series X and offer 1080p or 1440p games at a lower price. A newly leaked Microsoft file posted on Twitter contains references to the Lockhart console and several “Project Scarlett series consoles.”
Project Scarlett was the name Microsoft originally used to refer to the Xbox Series X console before it was officially named. Rumours are that there will be two next-generation consoles under the broader Project Scarlett scheme. Microsoft, which includes Anaconda and Lockhart, has painted a python on the Xbox Series X motherboard, but the company has never publicly discussed the Lockhart project.
The leaked document also mentions Lockhart Profiling mode, a special model that is part of the Xbox Series X developer kit. The development kit, codenamed Dante, allows game developers to enable a special Lockhart mode, which Microsoft hopes to achieve with this second console, which includes 7.5GB of available memory, slightly low-frequency CPU speed, and about 4 terabytes of GPU performance. The Xbox Series X includes 13.5GB of available memory, with the goal of 12 teraflops GPU performance.
Developers will be able to use this Lockhart mode to test their game and verify it based on this performance curve. Microsoft expects its Lockhart console to be positioned at 1080p or 1440p games, which are currently the two most popular resolutions for PC game displays.
Although Microsoft has yet to acknowledge Lockhart, it can also find the code in the company’s Xbox One operating system, along with Anaconda and Dante. We understand that this second next-generation Xbox console will be launched at the same time as the Xbox Series X. Lockhart is likely to be named “Xbox Series S”, which explains why Microsoft registers the Xbox Series brand as a trademark.
The second Xbox console will be key to Microsoft’s next-generation console pricing strategy. The company has promised to launch an Xbox All Access subscription service for Xbox Series X, which includes a console, Xbox Live and Xbox Game Pass for a monthly fee. “Xbox All Access will be critical for us to launch the Xbox Series X and just the entire generation,” Phil Spencer, Microsoft’s Xbox director, said in a Game Live keynote speech earlier this week.
Microsoft’s current Xbox One S full digital subscription costs $19.99 a month, including the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. It’s reasonable to imagine that this Lockhart console will be available in a similar way to attract people to Microsoft’s subscription stake. Microsoft is also bundling its Project xCloud game streaming technology into the Xbox Game Pass later this year, another effort to strengthen its subscription service.