Editor's take: Even though it has now been leaked twice through its own packaging and marketing materials, Microsoft still refuses to acknowledge the existence of an Xbox Series S (a.k.a. Lockhart). What is the point in hiding it anymore? Sony has already played its two-console card, and everyone at this point knows Microsoft is releasing two consoles as well. Just unveil it already.
An Xbox owner who needed a new controller purchased one from the Microsoft Store. Upon opening the package, he noticed a marketing insert with a trial code for Xbox Game Pass. What was perhaps more interesting than the free trial was the small print on the card that confirms the Xbox Series S is set to launch with the Series X.
"Redeem code for 14 days free, " the trial card reads. "Includes Xbox Live Gold and unlimited access to over 100 high-quality games on Xbox Series X | S, Xbox One, and Windows 10."
I got a new controller for my Xbox since mine was broken. Interestingly enough, the Game Pass Ultimate trial code sheet mentions the unannounced @Xbox Series S. It’s definitely a thing. pic.twitter.com/GX1rOYG5g7— Brendan (@BraviaryBrendan) August 31, 2020
Now, it's one thing for a leak to come from a secondary source. In those instances, a healthy dose of skepticism is in order. But in this case, the information is coming directly from Microsoft.
Furthermore, this is the second time the company has leaked the Xbox Series S branding in its own currently available packaging material. Last month, leaked images of a new controller revealed packaging reading that it is compatible with Xbox Series X | S.
So, it's a pretty safe bet that, like Sony, Microsoft is launching not one, but two next-gen consoles. The company still has not officially announced the Series S, but it is highly likely that it will be a digital-only console. Not only is the naming scheme similar to the digital Xbox One S, but it also correlates with Sony's offering of a PlayStation 5 sans optical drive.
So to Phil Spencer: Why continue to hide it. We know you have an Xbox Series S coming. There is no surprise factor anymore. We're even pretty sure about the specs. So what are you waiting for? Your dramatic entrance has passed.
Image credit: Natanael Ginting