New Xbox consoles beyond Xbox Series X and S are already in the works at Microsoft, and work is only picking up as the new generation settles in.
Liz Hamren, Xbox's CVP of gaming experiences and platforms, gave us a peek behind the curtain at Microsoft's hardware plans for our feature on the future of Xbox. She was quick to point out that, even though Microsoft is pushing hard to get more people playing on all kinds of platforms with services like Xbox Game Pass cloud streaming, consoles remain at the center of all things Xbox - and that means working on new ones.
"Cloud is key to our hardware and Game Pass roadmaps, but no one should think we're slowing down on our core console engineering," Hamren says. "In fact, we're accelerating it. We're already hard at work on new hardware and platforms, some of which won't come to light for years. But even as we build for the future, we're focused on extending the Xbox experience to more devices today so we can reach more people."
That means going beyond traditional forms of gaming hardware to make more spaces instantly and easily gaming friendly: "We're working with global TV manufacturers to embed the Game Pass experience directly into internet-connected TVs so all you'll need to play is a controller. Beyond that, we're also developing standalone streaming devices that you can plug into a TV or monitor, so if you have a strong internet connection, you can stream your Xbox experience."
In other words, those rumors of the next piece of Xbox hardware being a streaming stick don't sound terribly far off from Microsoft's actual vision for the future - but that vision also includes new core consoles that are on the roadmap for years from now. The big question at this point is whether they go Xbox Series Y for the next one, or if that sounds too quizzical to be the name of cool next-gen gaming hardware.
Looking ahead slightly less far in the future, there's going to be plenty to play on the latest Xbox hardware - check out our guide to upcoming Xbox Series X games to see what's on the way.