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Xbox Series X Brooklin Console: Will It Ever Release?

Microsoft's court case against the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which kicked off over the company's pending acquisition of Activision Blizzard, has offered gamers an almost unprecedented look behind the curtain at some of gaming's biggest companies. Whole treasure troves of documents that otherwise would have remained internal have been posted to the public, including plans and roadmaps pertaining to Microsoft's Xbox console line going forward. 


In a document called the "Roadmap to 2030," gamers got to see a fairly complete picture of Microsoft's hopes for the console market over the next few years, including refreshes to its current products and unannounced systems. One of the most interesting reveals came from pages dedicated to a new version of the Xbox Series X, codenamed "Brooklin." So, what is Brooklin, when is it supposed to come out, and will it ever actually make it to stores? Here is what we know about it so far.

It would be a significant technical upgrade

One of the things most emphasized in the leaked document is the scope of technical improvements Brooklin would offer over the current Series X console. Most exciting is that it would offer an increased 2 terabytes of storage, meaning owners of the console would have significantly more space for their digital games. This is a crucial upgrade for the console, because the biggest change from the base model is that Brooklin is not designed with a disc drive. This means that a significant upgrade in storage space over the current Series X is an absolute requirement. 


Another technical improvement is upgraded wi-fi capability, which the leaked document says will reduce both lag and interference in the console's online connection. Brooklin is also built to use significantly less electricity than its predecessor — a whopping 80% less, in fact, when the console is in standby mode. Finally, the power input will use a USB-C connection, offering Brooklin increased cross-compatibility with wires and connectors for other modern electronics.

Microsoft is emphasizing sustainability

Another point of improvement for Brooklin over the current Series X console is in the area of environmental sustainability. The world is becoming more and more environmentally conscious, especially when it comes to the younger generation that makes up the core of any gaming company's audience. Microsoft, according to the leak, is planning to take steps to meet the expectations of these more conscious gamers with Brooklin. 


The console's casing will be made with a higher percentage of recycled plastics when compared to the core Series X model. In addition, Brooklin will be packaged using fully recyclable materials. This is on top of the aforementioned decreased power usage, which also fit into the goals of environmental sustainability. According to the document, these moves are all part of the company's "continued progress toward reduction of Carbon Tax impact," and are considered to be major selling points of the new console.

Brooklin would cost $499

Despite coming out well after the original Series X's launch, Brooklin is intended to retain the exact same price point as its predecessor: $499. This is somewhat surprising, as Microsoft could easily justify an increased price point by pointing to the significant technical upgrades Brooklin has to offer. In addition, the impact of inflation would most likely make Microsoft's profit margin on each sale appear even less, as the company's other production and marketing costs will have no doubt increased with it. 


Even so, Microsoft is apparently committed to a customer-friendly approach, keeping the price of the refresh intact. This could end up being a fantastic deal for Xbox fans, who won't feel quite as much trepidation towards paying for an upgraded system. It would be a rare case of a dollar going just as far (if not further) in the future as it did in 2020. As anyone who has had to pay an electric bill or buy groceries over the last two years knows, this is pretty much never the case.

Brooklin is a crucial part of Microsoft's plan to dominate the console market

The "Roadmap to 2030" document paints a pretty cohesive picture of the next few years for Microsoft. The roadmap paints Brooklin, along with an Xbox Series S refresh (codenamed "Ellewood") and a new controller (codenamed "Sebile") as the three key pillars of Xbox's future. Sebile would arrive first in late 2024, then the two console refreshes would arrive shortly thereafter. 


The document claims that "console business is the foundation" on which all of Microsoft's gaming successes are based. The company refers to console sales as a "key health meter" for said business. The refresh of the Series X is, of course, an important element in the fight to keep that meter looking strong. By addressing various customer concerns that Microsoft sees, Brooklin would appear to be an appealing upgrade for those who already own the Series X. On top of that, Microsoft would count on Brooklin to renew excitement in the company's main gaming product, thus drawing in new customers who are impressed by its technical upgrades.

Some fans are disappointed by the lack of a disc drive

Some Xbox fans are quite unhappy with Brooklin's lack of a disc drive, and it's easy to understand why. Physical media has been a part of gaming for as long as video games have existed. With Xbox now seemingly planning to move entirely away from physical media in its consoles with the Brooklin refresh, some fans have expressed trepidation. They want to continue buying hard copy discs, giving them the option of using less storage on their console's hard drive. In addition, many gamers like to have a physical copy to display on their shelves, as a way of easily showing off their collection of games. Without a disc drive, Brooklin would presumably leave its users with zero option to continue doing this. 


The lack of a disk drive also reduces backwards compatibility. Brooklin would naturally be unable to use physical discs of Series X games, but also cut out older generation Xbox One games which are playable on the Series X, making those who rely on the console to play older games potentially uninterested in the Brooklin model.

Brooklin is slated for 2025, according to the court leaks

The leak paints a fairly clear plan for Brooklin's release as part of its "Roadmap to 2030." According to the doc, the Brooklin and the Series S refresh, Ellewood, would be announced in the middle of 2024, followed by a full launch in late October or early November 2025. Brooklin being over two years away may come as a disappointment to some fans who want the upgrade sooner. Still, considering how central to Xbox's plans Brooklin is made out to be in the leaked document, it seems safe to assume it will still come out in some form. 


Canceling Brooklin would theoretically mean a significant change in Microsoft's long-term plans in order to meet the goals outlined in the leaked document, or would at least require a reduction in the scope of those goals. That being said, delays are a way of life when it comes to gaming hardware, and production difficulties or hardware challenges regularly push back highly anticipated releases. With that in mind, there are a few reasons to believe this launch timeline may have changed since these documents were created.

Brooklin might be beaten to market by the PS5 Pro

According to sources close to Insider Gaming, Sony's PS5 refresh, the PS5 Pro, is scheduled for a possible release in late 2024. If the leaks are true and the PS5 Pro were to actually be released then, it would hit the market a full year before Brooklin is supposedly scheduled to hit shelves. It is known, thanks to another leak from the FTC court case, that Microsoft is quite confident it is winning the current generation of the console wars. However, with the PS5 Pro possibly beating Microsoft's refresh to the market by at least a year, that dominance could change quickly. 


With newer, more hyped, and more advanced hardware on the market, Sony could possibly have enough of a headstart to claw its way back to even ground with Microsoft. Of course, whether the PS5 Pro is actually released in late 2024 is still very much up in the air, as is Brooklin's release window. As more leaks make their way to the internet, it's possible that these two companies change their release plans accordingly.

Phil Spencer is not happy about the leaks

After the leaks, Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to express his disappointment with the leaks. He wrote, "We've seen the conversation around old emails and documents. It is hard to see our team's work shared in this way because so much has changed and there's so much to be excited about right now, and in the future. We will share the real plans when we are ready." 


As reported by The Verge, Spencer also sent out an internal memo to Microsoft Gaming employees imploring his team not to be discouraged, and to keep pushing forward with projects which may not be reflected in the leaks. Spencer's statements, both publicly and internally, heavily imply that the leaked document is either an outdated or incomplete picture of Microsoft's plans for their console future. What exactly will be different from the roadmap (if anything) remains to be seen. It's totally possible that Brooklin's design has changed since these plans were drafted. If Spencer is to be believed, there is still much we do not know about the future of Xbox and Microsoft Gaming, despite the leaks.