A leaked project roadmap report has revealed Microsoft’s plans to integrate crypto wallet support for its next-generation Xbox gaming consoles. The internal company document, dated May 2022, also provided more details on the refreshed Xbox Series X and Series S coming out next year, and an all-new console powered by machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies in 2028.
Although the slides do not explain what purpose the crypto wallet would serve, experts suggest it could be for supporting Web3 gaming.
Leaked Internal Document Exposes Microsoft’s Crypto Plans For Xbox
The unredacted documents were exhibits released by the U.S. District Court of Northern California last week, as part of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) lawsuit against Microsoft attempting to block its $69 billion acquisition of gaming company Activision Blizzard.
However, on Monday, a user posted what seemed to be an innocuous deposition shared by the court on the online gaming forum Restera that contained details of Microsoft’s Xbox project roadmap.
News outlet Axios reported on the contents of one of the leaked slides, which said company executives showed off a refreshed version of the Xbox Series X, codenamed “Brooklin”. The new console will be all-digital, with up to 2 terabytes of internal storage, and lower power consumption figures than its predecessor. The new Xbox Series X is estimated to be priced at $499.
In the same presentation, Microsoft also discussed details of a revamped Xbox Series S, codenamed “Ellewood”, and a new controller dubbed “Sebile”. The document states that the gyro-powered game controller will have a tilt sensor, quieter buttons, and the ability to connect to a mobile app.
The updated Series X and S will be launched in the fall of 2024, with the new controller slated for release in May.
In another leaked slide, Xbox executives outlined a plan to develop an all-new console that will be built on a new “ecosystem generation”. According to the presentation, Microsoft’s 10th-generation Xbox ecosystem will include consoles, phones, web browsers, PCs, a handheld system, and a cloud-based console. All the devices will be connected by a shared network.
The company has already fixated on using the ARM64 architecture for the main device’s CPU. It is expected to release development kits to game creators by 2027, a year ahead of the console’s launch.
Other details revealed by the documents include features such as support for AI and machine learning to attain “super-resolution” graphics for games, frame rate improvements, and in-game character dialogue generations. Also mentioned were standard features like voice chat, player achievements, and added support for crypto wallets on the next-generation Xbox ecosystem.
The rumor about the crypto integration is interesting because neither Microsoft nor Xbox has not publicly admitted to supporting digital assets but always considered them for possible future use. What this proves is how cryptocurrency is slowly but surely becoming a mainstream form of payment.
Xbox is definitely not ignoring the rising popularity of Web3-based crypto gaming and has decided to incorporate it into the company’s ecosystem. While Sony continues to stay away from integrating crypto into their PlayStation consoles, Microsoft is working on one-upping its main rival.
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Furthermore, in March, it was reported that Microsoft was working on integrating a non-custodial Ethereum wallet into its Edge browser. While details on its development phase are few and scarce, it was said that the company aims to make Web3 experiences more accessible and simplistic for Windows users with a dedicated crypto wallet.
Earlier this year, the Seattle-headquartered tech giant partnered with decentralized blockchain infrastructure provider Ankr to develop a node hosting service on its cloud computing platform – Microsoft Azure. The service would allow enterprises and organizations to access publicly available data on the blockchain, and developers to create decentralized applications (Dapps) on Azure using Ankr’s RPC nodes.
RPC or Remote Procedure Call Nodes are software that enables decentralized applications to communicate with different blockchains and access users’ data.
Last month, Aptos Labs, the company behind the layer-1 blockchain Aptos (APT), entered into a strategic partnership with Microsoft to build an artificial intelligence chatbot powered by OpenAI’s ChatGPT on Azure. The Aptos Assistant, as it will be known, aims to accelerate the global adoption of Web3 services.
So far the plans to expand Xbox services to include cryptocurrencies and related technologies have not been confirmed by Microsoft. Since these are not mere rumors but internal communications and documents that were leaked as part of a legal process, they are definitely credible.
Microsoft’s entry into the crypto realm is not surprising because corporate entities are finally starting to heed investor and consumer demands and preparing to go all in on cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.
Wall Street giants like BlackRock and Fidelity have already made arrangements to list the first-ever Bitcoin-focused exchange-traded funds (ETFs) for the U.S. spot markets, giving retail investors the opportunity to get exposure to BTC under a proper regulatory framework.
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