More Rumors Point to a Cheaper, Next-Gen Xbox On the Way

(Image: An internal view of the Xbox Series X. Source: Microsoft)

While Microsoft’s high-powered, next-gen Xbox Series X has garnered a lot of attention for the past few months, rumors persist regarding a cheaper, less-powerful next-gen console. Known internally as “Lockhart,” the existence of this lower-end model gained more credence thanks to a reportedly leaked document that refers to the console and mentions possible specs.

Whereas the Xbox Series X is being pitched as a 4K gaming machine with best-in-class hardware, Lockhart appears to be aimed at 1080p gaming and could offer a more affordable gateway to Microsoft’s growing subscription and game streaming plans. It apparently sports 7.5GB of usable RAM, compared to the Series X’s 13.5GB of usable RAM. Overall graphics performance is expected to be around 4 teraflops as opposed to the 12 teraflops the Series X boasts. For reference, 1 teraflop refers to completing 1 trillion floating point (mathematical computation) operations per second. And while its usefulness as an accurate measure of game console power is debatable (a newer graphics architecture might do more with 1 teraflop than an older design could), the performance disparity suggested seems pretty clear.

As such, Lockhart could be aimed at 1080p, or possibly 1440p, gaming since both resolutions require the console to handle far fewer pixels than 4K. And while pricing remains unclear for the Series X, and Sony’s PlayStation 5, neither is expected to be terribly cheap. So Lockhart could be an enticing option for those looking to check out Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass service, as well as its Project xCloud game streaming tech.

And although video streaming services and apps haven’t been announced for any next-gen consoles just yet, it doesn’t seem like a stretch for these upcoming consoles to serve as very powerful streaming devices, in addition to their gaming capabilities. Of course, we’ll continue to keep an eye on how the upcoming generation of consoles shapes up. In the meantime, if a cheaper Xbox console that’s not focused on 4K output appeals to you, perhaps as an all-around gaming/video-streaming hub, let us know in the comments below.

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