In what could potentially shake up the gaming console market, recent rumors have surfaced regarding Microsoft’s next-generation Xbox, slated for a 2026 release. According to insider sources cited by @Middleagegamegy, the tech giant is planning to introduce two distinct versions of its upcoming console, aiming to cater to a broader audience of gamers with varying preferences and budgets.
The highlight of the rumored launch is a groundbreaking, dockable handheld console, reminiscent of Nintendo’s popular Switch device. This innovative approach marks a significant departure from Microsoft’s traditional console offerings, suggesting a strategic move to capture the growing market for versatile, hybrid gaming experiences.
The handheld console is expected to be the more affordable SKU, designed and developed by Microsoft’s esteemed Surface team, known for their expertise in creating high-quality, user-centric hardware. This collaboration hints at a device that will not only excel in gaming performance but also in design and usability, potentially setting a new standard for handheld gaming devices.
(Rumor) According to @Middleagegamegy the Next-Gen Xbox is on track for 2026 and will have two SKU's, a traditional powerful high-end console and a Switch-like dockable handheld.
– The switch-like console will be the cheaper SKU and will be developed by the Surface team.
– The… pic.twitter.com/wBwfqVIqEW
— Idle Sloth💙💛 (@IdleSloth84_) February 6, 2024
Further adding to the excitement, the handheld is rumored to support native Xbox gaming, complete with built-in controls, providing gamers with the ability to play their favorite Xbox titles on the go, without the need for streaming or external peripherals. This feature alone could make the device a must-have for dedicated Xbox fans and casual gamers alike.
Moreover, the device is said to be equipped with a touchscreen, suggesting functionalities beyond gaming, such as media consumption and web browsing, aligning with modern consumers’ expectations for multipurpose devices. The rumored console is also described as a hybrid cloud console, indicating advanced cloud gaming capabilities that could leverage Microsoft’s robust cloud infrastructure to deliver seamless gaming experiences, both online and offline.
While details are still scarce and Microsoft has yet to confirm these rumors, the gaming community is abuzz with speculation and anticipation. If true, the introduction of a dockable handheld alongside a traditional high-end console could significantly expand Xbox’s market reach, appealing to gamers who value flexibility, mobility, and the convenience of cloud gaming, in addition to the hardcore gaming audience that has been the brand’s cornerstone.
As 2026 approaches, all eyes will be on Microsoft to unveil the next chapter in the Xbox saga. With the potential to redefine gaming paradigms and further blur the lines between console and handheld gaming, the next-gen Xbox could very well set a new benchmark for the industry.