Microsoft may have shelved plans for its next-generation Project Lockhart Xbox console, suggest some industry rumors. The company had teased plans for its next-generation of Xbox consoles at E3 2019 when it announced Xbox Project Scarlett, also confirming specs and that it would launch in holiday 2020.
Benji-Sales, who often reveals and discusses games industry leaks on Twitter, posted this week that it looks like "the weaker version of Microsoft's next gen console code name Lockhardt has possibly been shelved." Other rumors had suggested that Microsoft is working on two Xbox consoles under Project Scarlett, the powerful Project Anaconda and the weaker but more affordable Project Lockhart.
Benji-Sales also said that while he doesn't know firsthand that Lockhart has been shelved, these are the "rumblings going around." The way that Microsoft spoke about Project Scarlett at E3 2019, like it was a single console, may suggest that only Project Anaconda is in the works. He has only heard of developers having devkits for Project Anaconda too, which may confirm that Microsoft is no longer working on the next-generation Xbox console that has weaker specs.
To be clear I do not know firsthand if Lockhardt is indeed canceled. This is just the rumblings that are going around.— Benji-Sales (@BenjiSales) June 16, 2019
It very well still could exist, however Phil himself seemed to indicate this as well at E3. He said next gen "console" whereas at E3 2018 he said "consoles"
Nothing has been officially confirmed for now, but the response to this rumor seems to be that shelving Project Lockhart would be a good thing. There have been other rumors that say that the PS5 will be much more powerful than the next-generation Xbox console. If Microsoft's most powerful next-gen console cannot compete with the PS5, Project Lockhart may only add to the idea that Microsoft's consoles are underpowered.
A less powerful Xbox console would also be another challenge for developers to face. Xbox Project Scarlett is expected to have cross-generation games for some time, as Xbox game developers have to make games for the next-generation system and the Xbox One. Adding a third level of specs with Project Lockhart could make things difficult for developers unsure of how big the scope of their games should be. Benji-Sales says that while game engines are scalable "raising the overall baseline for next gen will result in better looking and performing games."
These are just rumors about Xbox Project Lockhart and Microsoft may still be trying to make a decision about its plans. Xbox boss Phil Spencer has said that Microsoft doesn't yet have an official name for Xbox Project Scarlett so it's not out of the realm of possibility that the company is also still choosing between releasing one next-generation console or two.