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

New leak adds fuel to the Lockhart fire

For quite a while, we've been hearing rumblings about the possibility of Microsoft releasing two separate consoles for the next generation of gaming. One of these was originally codenamed Scarlett, while the other was nicknamed Lockhart. After the official announcement of the Xbox Series X, it seemed less and less likely that the Lockhart was still a real possibility. The rumor popped up a few times since then, but nothing was ever made concrete. However, according to a report from IGN, a recent discovery made by someone looking closely at Microsoft system files seems to point to the idea that the Lockhart is still on the table. 

While digging around in the Microsoft Windows operating system libraries, security researcher and analyst TitleOS found something very interesting. In the System32 directory, TitleOS discovered five different references to Lockhart, including one reference literally containing the phrase "Xbox-Lockhart." As if that wasn't enough to convince some skeptics, TitleOS also found multiple instances of the word "Anaconda," which is notably the codename now associated with the Xbox Series X. 

All signs here seem to point to the idea that not only is the Lockhart project real, but it may be alive and well. This seems to go hand in hand with recent theories we've seen regarding a newly trademarked logo for the Xbox Series X

Back in April, a design trademark from Microsoft was discovered that had fans buzzing about the possibility of a wider range of consoles. Despite the fact that we've already seen the logo on the Xbox Series X, this trademarked design showed a very different design. This design featured a large block letter "X" with a line dividing it down the middle. In addition, the word "Series" was relegated to the left hand side of the logo. It was a big departure from the curved and futuristic design we've seen for the Xbox Series X's logo, appearing to have more in common with a sports brand logo than a video game console.

This led to speculation that the Series X was only one of a new series of consoles. The theory was that the different consoles in the new Xbox "series" would have different capabilities and be sold at different price points. It's not an entirely unreasonable concept, especially considering how well the Nintendo Switch Lite has done. The Switch Lite is a pared-down version of the regular Switch console that retails at a much lower price from the standard version. It wouldn't be entirely out of the question for Microsoft to consider something similar, especially if these consoles cost as much to produce as has been rumored.

We have been hearing for quite some time that the next generation of consoles is significantly more expensive to produce, which means they could come with higher price tags. For instance, the PlayStation 5 is expected to retail at nearly $500 in order for Sony to make a profit off of that system. Individual games for the next generation are likewise expected to be more expensive than the current video games on the market.

With all of that in mind, it would make a lot of sense for Microsoft to look into the possibility of producing a budget system. There appears to be a very real focus on giving players an array of options for different budgets and styles of play. Whether or not this will extend to Microsoft releasing wholly separate consoles remains to be seen, but the precedent certainly seems to exist for this particular line of thinking.

IGN's Ryan McCaffrey seems to believe that this all adds up to the Lockhart being more or less confirmed. As he tweeted, "The only questions now are how and when Microsoft is going to introduce Lockhart. And will they announce Lockhart AND pricing for this and Series X at the same time?"

He continued, "I think [Microsoft will] show all the games first — make you WANT THE HARDWARE. And then give final hardware specs/price/release date once they've already got you hooked."

We'll see if the Lockhart still exists in some form or if the files discovered by TitleOS is just a holdover from a previous project. In the meantime, it's an interesting concept to consider. Microsoft has already been testing the theory of a cheaper entry-level machine with the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition, which cuts out the Blu-ray drive in exchange for a lower price. If Lockhart scales back on power and also drops the disc drive, it could perhaps act as a similar alternative to the Xbox Series X.