E3 takes place next month and all eyes will be on Microsoft... and Sony... and a host of other big names in the gaming industry. Depending on whom you ask, the Redmond-based company may unveil a new version of its Xbox One console and a new streaming device… or maybe there are two new Xbox One consoles… or maybe two streaming sticks... or maybe nothing significant at all (unlikely).
The Verge, per sources familiar with the matter, says Microsoft is planning to unveil a new Xbox streaming device at E3 (Brad Sams from Petri claims two streaming devices are in the works). The device will reportedly function as a basic streaming stick for Xbox digital content and may even allow users to stream Xbox One games from a main console – say, in the living room – to another television elsewhere in the home.
Sams, speculating on the other device, thinks it may be the more advanced of the two. As the publication points out, Microsoft originally planned two SKUs for the Xbox One – the second of which would have been a more TV-focused device which may have served as the inspiration for this new device.
If Sams is correct, the second device would allow users to access universal apps and games from the Windows Store, furthering Microsoft’s Windows 10 ambitions. It probably won’t be able to run high-end games but casual titles would be fair game (no pun intended). It may even be able to stream games from an Xbox One to another TV on a local network, much like the other rumored device.
Meanwhile, sources reportedly familiar with the matter tell Kotaku that Microsoft is working on two new Xbox One variants. The first is said to be a cheaper, more compact version of the existing console that will arrive by the end of the year. This model may ship with a 2TB hard drive, twice as much storage as Microsoft’s current capacity leader, and is expected to be announced at E3 in June.
The other console, codenamed Scorpio, won’t arrive until sometime next year. It’ll reportedly pack a more powerful GPU that’ll technically be capable of powering the Oculus Rift. Microsoft is said to be actively pursuing a partnership with the Facebook-owned company. This certainly seems plausible as Microsoft doesn't currently have a known virtual reality strategy (HoloLens technically doesn't count as that's augmented reality).
Kotaku says these two devices are part of a larger push at Microsoft known as Project Helix. As the name suggests, the eventual goal of Project Helix is to combine Xbox and Windows – a strategy that isn’t exactly a secret.
Interestingly enough, Kotaku sources say Microsoft is moving forward with an iterative approach to its game console. Instead of releasing a new console every five to eight years, Microsoft wants to release incremental models on a more frequent basis with games that are both forward and backward compatible with consoles and Windows 10.
As always, keep in mind that this is all rumor and speculation at this point. Microsoft will host its Xbox E3 press conference at 9:30 a.m. PDT on June 13.