Rumor mill: We still don't know how much Sony and Microsoft's next-gen consoles are going to cost, but we do know that Sony will have a second, more affordable PS5. Despite numerous leaks and rumors, Microsoft has continuously maintained that it only has one console in the works. However, more evidence has surfaced that indicates Redmond has a surprise up its sleeve.
It has only been a couple of weeks since Sony revealed it would have two versions of the PlayStation 5 at launch. Now a leak on Twitter appears to indicate Microsoft will have two next-gen Xbox consoles as well. Self-described "infosec engineer" TitleOS posted screenshots (below) of alleged Microsoft documentation that reference a second console different from the Xbox Series X.
The documents are supposedly XDK and GDK release notes for developers. The snippets mention two modes pertaining to graphics—AnacondaProfiling and LockhartProfiling.
"GPU Capture may fail in LockhartProfiling mode if the title is using all available title memory," says one set of notes.
More proof of Lockhart, this time from the XDK/GDK release notes for June 2020. pic.twitter.com/hulDoC9owv— TitleOS (@XB1_HexDecimal) June 24, 2020
"The following console modes are supported in the June 2020 GDK. Scarlett Dev Kit: default, AnacondaProfiling, and LockhartProfiling modes," reads the other.
As you may recall, back in late 2018, rumors circulated that Microsoft had two versions of the next Xbox in development under the Project Scarlett umbrella—a premium one codenamed Anaconda and a cheaper version called Lockhart. Microsoft's vice president of gaming Phil Spencer dispelled these rumors at E3 2019.
Spencer played off his slip up during E3 2018 when he mentioned the company was working on "consoles" as a misunderstanding because he was referring to the Xbox One refresh—the Xbox One S.
"Last year we said consoles, and we've shipped a console [XB1S], and we've now detailed another console. I think that's plural," said the Xbox boss at E3 2019. "Right now, we're focused on Project Scarlett and what we put on stage [aka Anaconda]."
an Anaconda snake is etched into the Xbox Series X mainboard, so what's going to be eteched into Lockhart? pic.twitter.com/cV7oXoDZmO— Tom Warren (@tomwarren) March 17, 2020
However, later that year, multiple anonymous game developers confirmed that there is indeed a second console (LockHart) slated to release with the Xbox Series X (Anaconda). Microsoft has not announced a second version and never commented on the leak from developers.
According to sources that spoke with The Verge, Anaconda and Lockhart profiling modes are part of the XBSX devkit. These modes allow developers to switch to Lockhart mode to test games with the machine's lower specs without having to use two separate devkits.
Microsoft has not announced a second unit, so don't bet the farm on two Xbox consoles being launched later this year. However, taking all of the rumors together and noting that Sony has already confirmed a second, cheaper PS5, the likelihood that Microsoft is doing the same is strong.
Image credit: Mr.Mikla