If Microsoft is currently working hard on its next-gen games showcase planned for July, it’s getting more likely that we could see the company’s second next-gen Xbox console "codenamed Lockhart" in August. Traces of the cheaper “Lockhart” SKU have recently been found in Windows 10 as well as official Developer documentation, confirming previous rumors about Microsoft planning a less powerful next-gen console to go along with the Xbox Series X.
Earlier this month, Jeff Grubb from VentureBeat reported first that Microsoft initially planned to reveal Lockhart in June, but ultimately changed its plans. "The company was aiming to show off the long-rumored, more-affordable Xbox Lockhart around June 9. But it pushed those plans all the way to August — at least for now. Microsoft doesn’t want to go before Sony’s Thursday event,” Grubb wrote.,
While Xbox marketing exec Aaron Greenberg quickly replied that the Xbox team had not “pushed anything back," Eurogamer is now backing VentureBeat’s previous report of the Lockhart revealed being delayed from June to August, while also offering additional information about what could have led to the rescheduling. The publication is also referring to the console as the "Xbox Series S,” a name that would make sense if Microsoft decides to stick with the S/X dichotomy that debuted with the Xbox One family of consoles.
The original plan was to showcase the Xbox Series S as part of Xbox's big E3 2020 show, so the proposition of a cheaper next-gen option could be explained properly, sat alongside the graphical powerhouse provided by the beefier Series X, both playing the same next-gen games.
But when E3 was cancelled and remote working hindered progress on various internal game projects, it became clear Microsoft could no longer show both its boxes and next-gen games all at the same time. It had to rethink the timeline for all these plans, and instead opted to spread its reveals over a longer timescale - something the company publicly branded Xbox 20/20.
The absence of a June Xbox 20/20 Update this month left Xbox fans a bit disappointed, especially since it allowed Sony to claim back the next-gen gaming narrative with the much-talked-about PlayStation 5 reveal. The Japanese company also surprised many by announcing a disc-less PlayStation 5 Digital Edition, which may outshine Microsoft's much less powerful (4 rumored teraflops vs. 10 teraflops for the PS5) and also disc-less Xbox Series S.
If remains to be seen if Microsoft does reveal its Lockhart/Xbox Series S console in August, but as Microsoft never confirmed it publicly so far, the cheaper SKU could still be canceled at any point. Anyway, if Microsoft has already started manufacturing its next-gen Xbox consoles ahead of the holiday season, it may become increasingly difficult to prevent more Lockhart/Xbox Series S leaks ahead of the rumored reveal for August.