Microsoft is working on a comprehensive overhaul of the Xbox controller. The information comes from slides submitted to the court as part of the company’s litigation with the FTC. The leaked document contains detailed plans from Microsoft’s hardware division.
The new controller is codenamed Sebile, and the most interesting thing about it is that it will follow the lead of the DualSense in implementing haptic feedback. Like the PS5 controller, the next Xbox controller update will feature VCA haptics (speakers) and an accelerometer.
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Microsoft also plans to ship rechargeable (and replaceable) batteries with the controller, which is a good idea considering how taxing the new features will be on standard AA batteries. In addition to expected features such as an updated Bluetooth standard, Sebile will also include modular analog sticks to improve longevity.
You can also expect quieter buttons and a smartphone-like feature that allows the controller to be activated when lifted. Sebile is scheduled to launch in summer 2024, at the end of May or beginning of June.
Microsoft is also working on an update to the Xbox Series X with the code name Brooklin. The new console doesn’t offer improved performance, but it does have 2TB of built-in storage, a greener redesign and WiFi 6E.
The big news is that Brooklin doesn’t have a disc drive, meaning Xbox is officially transitioning to a digital-only future. The console refresh is set to launch at the same current price as the Series X – $500.
Aside from where the documents come from, the fact that they relate to announcements that have already been made public gives these particular plans more credibility. In a slide showing the future of Xbox branded hardware releases, we see Ellewood – the 1TB Xbox Series S announced in June.
However, the original plan was apparently to announce both consoles at the same time, with the Series S Carbon Black releasing in September 2024 and the Series X refresh following in November. The Series S refresh landed in September this year instead, and the Series X refresh has yet to be officially announced. However, Microsoft still has time this year to properly announce/release Brooklin.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that the Series S refresh was originally supposed to cost $300, but ended up retailing for $350. It’s clear that these slides are a bit old and may have been created before Microsoft increased prices for the Xbox Series X in several territories (but not the US).
As always, plans change, at least in this case. So it’s worth taking the news with caution.
As part of the same leak, we also learned that Microsoft is still seriously considering buying Nintendo. Aside from the Pi in the Sky plans, Microsoft-owned label Bethesda appears to be working on Oblivion and Fallout 3 remasters alongside Arkane’s Dishonored 3.