First look at Microsoft's purported Xbox handheld via leaked FTC docs; Next gen Xbox in 2028 could use AMD Zen 6 or ARM with Navi 5 GPU and NPU
Microsoft's plans for the upcoming Xbox Series X|S refreshes leaked recently. In the FTC documents that somehow found their way to the web, we also get to see Microsoft's vision for the next generation Xbox that is slated to arrive in 2028.
According to info presented to the FTC, the next generation Xbox is envisioned to make the most of client and cloud technologies,"beyond the capabilities of client hardware alone". The slides indicate Microsoft is looking at exploring both ARM and x64 options with a hybrid core architecture.
The GPU would be a Navi 5 part that is either co-developed with AMD or licensed. Microsoft may combine AMD and ARM IPs for custom silicon. The next-gen Xbox will also feature AI/ML smarts with a dedicated NPU.
Microsoft is also developing a new version of the DirectX API with next gen ray tracing, dynamic global illumination, and micropolygon rendering optimization properties. There's support for ML-based upscaling as well.
The slide also mentions something about "Thin OS". It's not clear what exactly Microsoft is referring to here, but this seems like a thin client OS that is just about capable of getting you on to the cloud.
Microsoft seems to be looking at bringing the Xbox to other form factors including a "Cloud Device" and a Steam Deck-style "Handheld". While the prospect of using ARM with a "Thin OS" for these devices does make sense, it remains to be seen whether Microsoft would indeed go the ARM route.
We've known for some time that Microsoft isplanning to have in-house siliconat least on the server side, so it's only a matter of time before the company looks at bringing that IP to gaming devices.
2028 is still a long time away, but Microsoft can be expected to debut thin-client and handheld hardware in the near future given the increasing popularity of devices like the Nintendo Switch, Steam Deck, and Asus ROG Ally.
It looks like AI and ML implementations will be major aspects of game development in the coming years. Nvidia recently demonstrated its ACE and SteerLM platforms for creating interactive in-game NPCs, whose responses can be customized in real-time by the developer or gamers.
The company has listed several such ideas in the pipeline, which could be a big part of upcoming hardware and game design.