According to Sams, who held a livestream on YouTube discussing information he had received from sources, “the Xbox mini is a real thing.”
Although he didn’t provide further details on it, The Verge’s Tom Warren has said the “new Xbox at E3 will be 40 percent smaller.”
Sams’ sources have also indicated a more significant hardware revision is planned, but won’t be announced at E3 2016. It is more likely for next year, he said.
Shortly after the livestream finished, Kotaku published an article claiming that Microsoft is preparing “at least two new Xbox models for release in the next two years.”
According to Kotaku, this year’s model is believed to include a 2TB hard drive, while next year’s model is codenamed Scorpio and will have a more powerful GPU. It will also be “technically capable of supporting the Oculus Rift.” This may have been foreshadowed by the partnership between Microsoft and Oculus, which paved the way for Xbox One controllers to be included with retail bundles of the VR device.
During his livestream, Sams also claimed Microsoft will separately announce new streaming hardware at E3, and will reveal devices akin to Google’s Chromecast and Amazon’s Fire Stick.
“They’re going to have two devices, it’s going to be one [for] super streamers, think a Roku style device, and then another device that’s going to have more features,” Sams said.
“What I think the differentiation between these two devices are, I’d imagine the smaller devices will be for streaming only … but the other device I honestly think is where they’re going to start using app leverage. I could see this device sitting in the cabinet and being able to play Windows Store games.”
Sams clarified he doesn’t believe either devices will be capable of playing high-end games such as Rise of the Tomb Raider, but would be better suited for “lightweight games,” much like the Apple TV.
In terms of pricing, Sams said early indications have been varied, with the low-end device reportedly being around $100 and the high-end one between $150-$175.
Further Strides on PC
Microsoft will also continue its shift towards presenting Xbox as a platform across multiple devices, according to Sams, who highlighted the recently introduced cross-platform play between PC and Xbox with Rocket League.
“Look to see more of that,” he said. “I’m hearing Microsoft is looking to bring the Xbox interface to the PC,” he added, which would address calls for the return of Media Centre.
Kotaku’s sources state this is codenamed “Project Helix,” and developers have told the site Microsoft intends to release all future flagship games across Xbox One and PC.
GameSpot has contacted Microsoft for a statement.
Microsoft has announced its E3 conference will take place at 9:30 AM Pacific on Monday, June 13.
In March, Xbox boss Phil Spencer discussed the possibility of console hardware one day becoming upgradable, saying Microsoft is building towards a future where its games consoles will be upgradable.
“People have asked me before, are we going to do another console, and I say I fully expect that we will,” he said. “And people say well, why do you say fully expect? Why don’t you just say yes? I’m in a job right now–I make decisions based on what’s today; I can’t always predict the future. But if you think about the strategy we’re on, the strategy is a long-term vision that includes multiple hardware generations on both console, and frankly PC.
“I’ve said the ‘end of a generation’ and this step-function that happens is not something I embrace. I think it’s something we can do better at. I see it in music, I see it in books, I see it in movies. When I buy digital content, that digital content stays with me and I’m able to use it when I got out and get new devices.”