There are, as of now, no big new consoles on the horizon. The Switch is out, the Xbox One X is out, and Sony is still doing just fine with the PlayStation 4s, slim and Pro. And so without any actual information or new machines to hype about, we turn to a familiar pastime: wild, unfounded speculation. I’ve been reading stories about the PlayStation 5 essentially since the PlayStation 4 first came out, and today there’s a rumor going around about the next Xbox, supposedly coming out in 2019. Suffice to say this rumor has some problems.
To start with, a blanket statement: un-sourced rumors on YouTube are not to be believed. The platform is rife with fake news, particularly when it comes to gaming, and the sort of attention that you can get from making wild and unfounded statements only encourages misinformation. And while gaming misinformation might not be on the same level of importance as its more weighty siblings, it’s still in the same family. That’s why I’m not linking here: you don’t want to feed the beast.
There are also more specific issues. The idea of launching an actual new machine just two years after the Xbox One X — which was hyped for nearly that same length of time — would be a real slap in the face to anyone that bought an Xbox One X. I think this rumor has some traction because of the way that both Sony and Microsoft would seem to be chasing an Apple-like concept of quickly evolving hardware that nonetheless maintains a consistent software ecosystem across generations. From that perspective, a two-year cycle would actually make sense. But consoles are not smartphones, and I’m fairly certain that Microsoft is well aware of this fact. Gamers don’t yet want to chase that sort of hype every two years, even if hardware manufacturers would certainly like them to. So don’t expect an Xbox One…Y.
To entertain the notion that the YouTuber did get some actual information, however, it wouldn’t be at all surprising if Microsoft released some kind of new Xbox in 2019. It’s just highly unlikely that the company would actually release any sort of substantively new hardware. Two years is not an unrealistic cycle for the sort of slight hardware iteration represented by the Xbox One S, which came out three years after the base Xbox One. So it’s not impossible we’d see something similar with either the Xbox One S or the Xbox One X, though the latter might be harder. The original Xbox One had a lot of fat to trim form factor-wise, but it’s already something of a marvel that the Xbox One X is as small as it is. I suppose you’d call a new one the Xbox One X S — these naming conventions really went out the window with the 360.
Both Sony and Microsoft have entered into a strange new era of console generations by issuing these mid-generation updates, and right now we’re waiting around to see if these things represent a genuine shift in mindset or if they’ll remain one-time updates representing the rise of 4K TVs. Regardless, I don’t think we’ll see a major new Xbox update in 2019.