Gaming

Microsoft all but confirms the Xbox Series S is real

If you're trying to keep something a secret, you probably shouldn't be sending out marketing materials about it.

A black Xbox Series X controller.
Microsoft

We know that Microsoft’s next-gen Xbox — the Series X — is coming to stores sometime soon. Because Microsoft is apparently very, very bad at keeping secrets, we’re also pretty sure at this point that the company is planning to release another version of the console, too: the Xbox Series S.

A Game Pass trial card that Twitter user @BraviaryBranden found in his Xbox One controller box all but confirms the console’s existence. The card reads:

Redeem code for 14 days free. Includes Xbox Live Gold and unlimited access to over 100 high-quality games on Xbox Series X | S, Xbox One, and Windows 10.

“Xbox Series X | S,” eh? Care to elaborate on that offering?

Speculation about the mysterious second new Xbox has been circulating for months now. The fun part about these rumors is that they’re entirely created by what seems to be a series of mistakes on Microsoft’s part — mostly marketing and packaging slip-ups that really should’ve been caught by the company before making it to the general public.

Hey Microsoft: it might be time to give up and just announce this thing already.

What we know about the console — Not much. Really almost nothing except the name, which appears to be “Xbox Series S.” This would follow the same naming scheme as Microsoft’s current-gen console; back in 2016 the original Xbox One was succeeded by the Xbox One S, a smaller version with 4K video support. Some have speculated that the Series S will be digital-only, much like the Xbox One S Digital Edition.

Rumors about the Xbox Series S date back years. At the 2018 edition of E3, Xbox chief Phil Spencer mentioned multiple consoles being created. Sources like Thurrott.com and Windows Central have claimed Microsoft’s next generation of gaming would include both a high-end and a lower-end version of the console, though Thurott later reported that Microsoft at some point scrapped the lower-end project to focus on projects like xCloud.

It’s happening again — If this leaked info sounds familiar, that’s because we just went through this exact situation last month. The Verge reported at the time that leaked Series X controller packaging used very similar language. In describing console compatibility, the packaging mentions “Xbox Series X|S.”

Microsoft is, at this point, just playing itself by not announcing whatever this second console is. We know it’s out there somewhere. And with the Series X’s planned November launch soon approaching, the company is running out of time to build hype if the Series S is to be released at the same time.