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The third next-gen Xbox rumor unpacked

The last week has been a big one for news involving Xbox's next-gen consoles. The first look at the all-digital Xbox Series S was leaked at the beginning of the week, which led to an official announcement of the console. Microsoft followed that up by announcing the price point and release date for the Xbox Series X and the Series S. However, it appears as though Microsoft may actually have another trick up its sleeve for when those two consoles make their debut on November 10.

The latest commotion surrounding Xbox began when noted industry info leaker Idle Sloth posted a photo to his Twitter account that showed something very peculiar.

As can be seen in the above image, it appears to be a photo of a computer screen depicting the new Xbox console line. Both the Xbox Series X and the recently-announced Series S are accounted for, but there is a third console that gamers have not been shown before now. In between the other two consoles is one that is identified in the image as the Xbox Series V. This console seemingly retains the all-black color of the Xbox Series X, but it also appears to be significantly smaller than that console. It is also slightly larger than the Xbox Series S, yet is apparently missing the disc drive of the Series X. 

According to the post from Idle Sloth, this mysterious Xbox Series V could be released as a mid-tier alternative to the other two consoles. It would be less powerful than the Series X and more powerful than the Series S. From this base information, it can also be presumed that the price point for the Series V would land somewhere between the $499 of the Series X and the $299 of the Series S. He also stated that the Xbox Series V was being developed under the working title of "Project Edinburg," adding a bit more intrigue to the already bizarre story.

The idea of Xbox releasing multiple consoles beyond just the two that have been announced has been floating around for quite some time. Earlier this year, a trademark for the Xbox Series X logo was leaked that bore a significant resemblance to the one seen on the branding for the Xbox One S. This led to a theory that Microsoft would be releasing multiple consoles with different letter designations. If the Series V really does exist, then that fan theory may be more accurate than anyone could have expected.

Also, if the Series V does exist, there is a new theory about what exactly the console would offer. One of the ideas among fans right now seems to be that the Series V would offer the same specs and processing power as the Xbox Series X, with the only difference being that it would not have a disc drive. In other words, there's a chance that the Series V is quite literally the digital version of the Series X, while the Series S is more like a budget version of the Series V. Yes, it's a headache to think about.

The other theory surrounding the Series V is that Microsoft is holding off on an announcement until Sony announces price points for the PlayStation 5 and the PS5 Digital Edition. The idea here is that Microsoft would then make a surprise announcement for the Series V and totally undercut Sony's announcement. This would be a huge win for the company, but the idea of bringing three brand new consoles to market at the same time sounds like a nightmare from a marketing standpoint.

Of course, plenty of people seem to believe that there is no way that this alleged leak is for real. Business analyst Robert Serrano expressed that he believed the information to be fake, which more than a few fans agreed with. One ResetEra forum user quipped that the "V" in the console's name stood for "Very fake."

Lit Gaming Arena Podcast seemed unsure of what to do with the new info. The podcast's official Twitter account remarked, "This can't be real, right? ... I can't believe this."

Again, the existence of this new console has yet to be confirmed by anyone at Microsoft, nor has Idle Sloth revealed where the screenshot of the system came from. It could turn out that this is all wishful thinking on the part of some Xbox fan, or it could be an early plan of Microsoft's that ended up being dropped. As with all rumors like this, fans probably won't know the answer until they hear it straight from Microsoft.