Update: I don’t think Microsoft enjoyed the speculation about the potential for a huge hardware announcement at Gamescom, so it’s clarified its language in the blog post, removing the hardware reference. An MS rep told me that they will “be announcing new Xbox One bundles and accessories” at Gamescome, which could still include the Elite controller, but for sure rules out a new console premiere, which again, I was in no way expecting. The original article follows below:
Microsoft is heading to Gamescom in Germany next month, and they will be bringing at least one significant announcement with them. In an era where console generations are practically a decade long, any talk about new hardware is enough to make ears perk up, and that’s what Microsoft says is coming.
Microsoft published a blog post this morning detailing its Gamescom plans, including the following:
“Tune in on Tuesday, August 21, at 4:30 p.m. CEST (7:30 a.m. PDT) for lots of news, all-new Xbox hardware and accessories, and features on upcoming titles that we can’t wait to tell you more about and perhaps even a few surprises!”
So, are we about to see Xbox Two for the first time?
Almost certainly not.
Unfortunately, even with the promise of new hardware, it does not seem likely that Microsoft is going to announce its next generation Xbox in August 2018 at Gamescom. Rumor has it we won’t see a new Xbox until 2020, and you can bet that when that is announced, Microsoft will have a dedicated event for it like they did with Project Scorpio.
So, what exactly is this hardware then, if not a fully new Xbox? The most common theory is that it might mark the debut of the new Xbox Elite controller, glimpses of which have leaked already, and it might be time to show it off for good.
Past that, however, when addressing the future of Xbox, Phil Spencer has made comments that the future of the brand was possibly a family of devices, rather than just one central box. No one really understood what he meant by that at the time, but it could be possible we might be seeing something having to do with that at Gamescom.
Xbox needs a win in 2018. It had a well-orchestrated show at E3 with a lot of big acquisition announcements, but in reality, its year has been barren. Sea of Thieves has been its highest profile release, and that was met with…mixed reactions at best. Crackdown 3 continues to look troubled and has been delayed out of 2018 entirely. Once again, the console’s lone saving grace is Forza, with Forza Horizon 4 coming this October.
A big announcement of something significant at Gamescom would be just what the doctor ordered, but we’ll have to see what they have planned. I know a lot of people love the Xbox Elite controller, so that would excite the base, but probably wouldn’t do all that much for outsiders who aren’t going to shell out for the pricey accessory.
Part of me hopes that Microsoft is planning for some sort of blockbuster reveal here, but I wouldn’t put money on it. We’ll know more in just over a month.