×
Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Leaked Xbox Series X photos confirm our worst fears

We're certainly getting to see more of the Xbox Series X than we expected. A little over a month after Microsoft revealed the system during December's Game Awards, some leaked photos have popped up online of a prototype console — photos that confirm what we've feared all along.

The images were shared on the forum NeoGAF and — perhaps to the surprise of some — were deemed credible by Thurrott's Brad Sams. They don't really tell us anything we didn't already know; the standard ports you might expect on a console are there, including power, Ethernet, USB, and optical audio.

The photos do, however, drive the point home that the Xbox Series X is leaving some of its Xbox One DNA behind. There is but one HDMI port on the back of the system, which means your days of watching cable TV through your Xbox are probably over. Microsoft appears uninterested in making 2013's mistakes all over again, so much so that the company is removing the HDMI-in port entirely from its next Xbox.

As you might have guessed, we have some mixed feelings about this. Microsoft's decision to focus almost exclusively on games isn't a bad thing — it's the kind of focus that would've helped the Xbox One fare better a few years ago. But the fact remains that some did buy into that all-in-one vision. Microsoft continued to support those users, even after the Kinect was removed from the Xbox One bundle and subsequently discontinued. But now it seems Microsoft is trying to reset in a sense, despite the fact that a huge selling point of the Xbox Series X is how much compatibility it has with past Xbox generations.

This is just a prototype, and it's possible Microsoft could make changes to the final design of the Xbox Series X before its launch later this year. But it's the belief of both our guts and insiders like Brad Sams that what you're seeing is likely close to what you'll get in the retail product.

Goodbye, Xbox HDMI-in port. We hardly knew ye.

What else could change with Xbox Series X?

Believe it or not, we are able to speculate about some changes that could come to Xbox Series X — and even the Xbox One — due to the omission of the HDMI-in port.

For starters, this change leaves the door wide open for Microsoft to introduce an entirely new dashboard design. And we know what you're probably thinking — hasn't Microsoft fiddled with the dash enough already? The Xbox One home screen alone has gone through several iterations, so Microsoft ushering in a new design with the Series X wouldn't be a complete surprise.

You have to remember, though, there are legacy aspects of the Xbox software still designed for the TV focus it had at launch, including the OneGuide app. Don't be shocked if features like that don't make it to the Xbox Series X.

And with the launch of the new console, just about anything related to TV on the original Xbox One could be doomed, too. Do you really think Microsoft will go on supporting things like cable box control and program listings on its last-gen system?

It's possible the company could offer up a warning and let Xbox One owners know the TV features of the console will no longer be functional after a certain date. That would finally kill off the Don Mattrick-era vision of the Xbox One once and for all, and let the Xbox platform team concentrate on delivering new features for the Xbox Series X.

Goodbye, old friend

Don't get us wrong — it's been great to see Microsoft change its approach these past few years and put gaming back at the forefront.

The company went out and acquired a host of talented studios, ensuring Xbox will have a whole slate of promising exclusives. Initiatives like Xbox Game Pass have shown that Microsoft is still able to innovate in the gaming space and provide developers with all new ways to flourish. And without Microsoft leading the charge, would we have cross-platform play in games like Fortnite and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare?

Still, we can't help but shed a tear for the Xbox One's HDMI-in port and the entertainment features the Series X will leave behind. What other console let you watch a live football game while also playing Madden? How cool was it to say "Xbox, on" and have your whole game room come to life?

The Xbox Series X, by all accounts, is a powerhouse that'll play games better than any Xbox — or maybe any console — that's come before. We'll have to wait and see if that's enough to differentiate it from the PlayStation 5 when both launch later this year.