The company is reportedly preparing a smaller version Xbox One Slim, but is that enough to compete against the beefed up Sony PS4 Neo?
With E3 2016 just around the corner, all eyes are on the two big console companies and what they will unveil at the event. Sony's situation is pretty clear (if not officially so), with the company almost certain to launch a PS4 Neo that will pack 4K gaming and other upgrades over the regular PS4. Microsoft's position is a little less clear, but typically accurate source, Kotaku, says the company will be unveiling an Xbox One Slim at E3.
Microsoft has been sending out conflicting messages regarding its plans for the Xbox hardware this year. Division head, Phil Spencer was pretty emphatic in saying the company did not want to release and upgraded Xbox One 1.5. Considering there has been little rumor suggesting a beefed up Xbox, it seems Spencer's promise will hold true.
That said, there have been persistent reports that Redmond is indeed working on a new Xbox One variant, but Kotaku says that it is a slim console and not an upgrade. The new device will be a smaller version of the Xbox One and will cost less to buy, and it is landing at just about the right time in a lifecycle considering the sheer size of the Xbox One.
If the Slim console is indeed due to be unveiled at E3 then there will be an interesting scenario at the event this year. Sony could be launching a beefed up gaming beast, while Microsoft raises the curtain on a slim Xbox One, but a console with unchanged specifications.
Interestingly the two companies will have contrasting consoles on the market, giving consumers the clearest choice they have had in the market for a long time. The current Xbox One and PS4 are very similar, but after E3 Sony's PS4 Neo will give consumers a 4K juggernaut, while the Xbox One Slim will present an affordable option.
Microsoft has already lost the 8th generation of consoles in terms of sales, the PS4 is the runaway leader in the market. A slim Xbox will not change that, but the company will now be presenting consumers with a take it or leave it choice.
So, what about an upgraded Xbox One that can live up to the PlayStation 4 Neo? It seems that Microsoft will be launching such a console in 2017, and could even introduce a new machine. Either way, that device will add support for Oculus Rift and will expand on Microsoft's own HoloLens augmented reality headset.