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This Series X Leak Might Be Too Good To Be True

Now that Sony's "Future of Gaming" event has come and gone, fans now have a sense of how the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X compare to one another. The technical details for both consoles are out in the wild. We know what both of them look like. The only mystery that remains is how much each system will cost.

Though both Sony and Microsoft are keeping mum on pricing as of now, some recent leaks could hint at where the Xbox Series X will fall on the price spectrum. If these leaks hold true, the Series X could be poised to undercut the PS5 in a very big way.

According to a Beyond3D forum user by the name of eastmen, Microsoft is indeed working on the often-rumored Lockhart console. It'll have a "small form factor" and contain many of the same features as the Series X in a scaled down package. As for what you can expect in terms of performance, eastmen claims Lockhart will offer "better than [Xbox One X] performance."

Now here's where things get very interesting. In response to another user on the forum, eastmen stated that they believe Lockhart will be "half the price of the [Xbox Series X]." And as for where the Series X will ring up? Microsoft is reportedly "prepared for a $400 XSX," eastmen said.

If Microsoft can somehow sell an entry-level Lockhart at $200 and the Xbox Series X at $400, it would almost certainly turn the next generation on its ear. That said, Microsoft would probably have to take a pretty big loss on each console sale to make that happen. The conventional wisdom has been that both the Series X and PS5 would come in somewhere around $500 or even $600. If the Series X is hundreds of dollars below those marks, that is probably money Microsoft is simply giving away.

The strategy may not be a crazy one, though. It's been rumored that a Lockhart machine — if one does indeed exist — could come without an optical disc drive. This would push more people toward buying digital games, and would also entice more people to sign up for Xbox Game Pass. If Microsoft sells its consoles at a cheaper price, but can make up the difference in digital revenue from games and Game Pass, the gamble could pay off.

That assumes, however, that Sony won't try to do something similar with the PlayStation 5. The company's stream last week revealed that there are, in fact, two PS5 consoles on the way. One is the flagship machine with an Ultra HD Blu-ray drive. The other is exactly the same in terms of performance, but drops the disc drive in favor of pushing customers toward an all-digital experience.

It stands to reason that Sony will also sell its digital machine at a lower price than the standard one. If Sony also intends to take a loss on hardware sales in order to make up revenue through games and digital services, we could have a very interesting next-gen fight on our hands.

At the moment, Sony and Microsoft are engaged in a sort of staring contest to see who will blink first when it comes to cost. Neither seems eager to be the first one out of the gate with a price announcement, and this is likely because both want to see what the other will do before making a final decision.

You can probably assume, however, that both companies will try and make the contest competitive, either with their main consoles or with their secondary models. There was a lot of worry about how console prices might balloon with the introduction of the next generation. That may not end up being the case if both companies feel compelled to lower prices in order to gain a foothold in the market.

The holidays are only a few short months away, so we're bound to get some news about pricing in the very near future. It'll be interesting to see how closely these leaks about the Xbox Series X compare with what actually happens. Microsoft is no stranger to experimenting with different business models, but a $200 Lockhart console and a $400 Xbox Series X? That move would really shake things up and give Sony something to think about.

In the meantime, we'll have our eyes peeled for any news on the Series X. Microsoft is set to hold an event in July to talk about games for the platform, and it's possible a price could be announced then. Keep your fingers crossed.