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Series X controller leak adds fuel to the fire

Microsoft's upcoming next-gen console, the Xbox Series X, has been shown off quite extensively since its reveal late last year. The slightly redesigned Series X controller has also gotten a fair amount of screen time. Both have only been displayed in black, however, with the Series X gamepad matching the look of the console. That's what makes this latest leak worth paying attention to.

Over the weekend, a post appeared on the Xbox subreddit accompanied by an image of a white Xbox Series X controller. The poster claimed the photo was taken, according to The Verge, "at a party in Washington state hosted by the child of a Microsoft employee." Since then, the poster has deleted their Reddit account, the post, and the image. It seems someone realized the post could get someone else into a bit of trouble.

Fortunately, nothing truly dies on the internet — in fact, someone tweeted a copy of the image at The Verge's Tom Warren yesterday. Upon inspection, it does indeed look like a white Xbox Series X controller out in the wild.

The controller has the same share button present on the Series X pad Microsoft revealed. Not only that, it comes with the same circular d-pad — a sort of round disc that incorporates a traditional-looking d-pad. These are telltale signs that what you're looking at is probably a controller meant for the Xbox Series X, or perhaps a console in its family. That raises all sorts of questions.

The Verge covers a fair amount of these in its piece. Could the controller be a "special edition" gift for Microsoft employees who worked on the Series X? Or could it even point to the long-rumored Project Lockhart console being real?

The Verge noted that Microsoft did make white controllers for Xbox One team members, so the "special edition" idea isn't totally crazy. The Lockhart theory, meanwhile, may seem like more of a stretch. There are plenty of rumors floating around about the existence of Lockhart. What no one has seen up to this point, however, is the console itself.

But that may be up for debate. As The Verge states in its article, it spoke to the original author of the Reddit post before everything was deleted. The poster reportedly mentioned the console paired with the controller was also white. Not only that, the poster is directly quoted as saying the console "looked more squarish and the Xbox button looked bigger on it." Maybe it's time to smash that Lockhart alarm button after all.

Of course, there are plausible explanations for the console, too. Perhaps what the Reddit poster saw was a test unit. Or maybe it was just an Xbox Series X, but white. The console could appear to take on a slightly different shape or have differently sized buttons. If you've only seen the Xbox Series X in photos, however, that might be a tough distinction to make.

It's really too bad the poster didn't manage to snag a photo of the machine. That would've settled the entire matter and given the world some sense of what the console might be. As it stands, all anyone has to go on at the moment is a picture of a white Xbox Series X controller and the word of an anonymous Reddit user.

Still, this may be enough to keep the Lockhart dream alive for some. It's not totally clear when Microsoft would unveil a lower-priced alternative to the Series X. In fact, a good time might have been last week, or even weeks before that. It could be argued that the closer Microsoft gets to launching the Series X, the more confusing a Lockhart announcement would be. But this is yet another piece of potential evidence to toss on the pile.

Lockhart may indeed be real. Either that, or fans may be shaping small details to fit the narrative they want to believe. Whatever the case, no one will know for sure if Microsoft does have a second console until images get leaked or the company itself decides to reveal it.

In the meantime, we'll have a close eye on Microsoft in the months leading up to the Series X launch. There are undoubtedly more announcements in store — notably, when the machine will actually go on sale and how much it'll cost. Those are two things that are still up in the air. If a Lockhart surprise somehow gets wedged into any upcoming news about Microsoft's next-gen console, we'll be sure to let you know.