Xbox's next-gen console meant to succeed the Xbox Series X/S is currently in the works and has a codename, a review of newly surfaced regulatory filings has revealed. The document confirming that a PS6 rival is already in the pipeline stems from Microsoft's ongoing trial with the Federal Trade Commission, who sued to block its proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard on antitrust grounds in December 2022.
As arguably the biggest private opponent of the deal, Sony got heavily involved in the FTC lawsuit that is currently in a discovery phase, pending trial. However, Microsoft's back-and-forth with both the U.S. regulator and Sony resulted in some unintended effects for the Japanese gaming giant, most recently after one legal disclosure seemingly narrowed down a potential PlayStation 6 release window.
In yet another such episode of prematurely revealed information, the FTC seemingly confirmed that a next-gen Xbox console is already in the works. Namely, a March 14 motion signed by the complaint counsel seeks to compel Microsoft to produce documentation pertaining to its tenth-generation gaming system, even mentioning it by its codename. While the provisional moniker was redacted from the copy of the filing that made its way to the public docket, the internal name appears to contain around 15 characters. Given that the average English word is under five characters in length, the next-gen Xbox system's codename presumably contains two words.
For reference, the Xbox Series X and Series S were code-named Anaconda and Lockhart, respectively, though Microsoft also dubbed the entire ninth-generation Xbox lineup as Project Scarlett. Prior to that, the Xbox One was internally designated as Project Durango, whereas the Xbox 360 and the original Xbox were called Project Natal and Midway, respectively.
The reason why the FTC is even interested in learning more about Microsoft's next-gen hardware plans comes down to the very essence of its lawsuit, which seeks to prove that allowing the company to acquire Activision Blizzard would likely result in antitrust problems in the future. The complaint counsel believes that getting a clearer view of Microsoft's long-term gaming plans would provide it with the arguments it needs to prove that owning the Call of Duty maker would give Xbox too much easily abused power.
Microsoft already provided the FTC's lawyers with some documents detailing its gaming division's strategic business goals, as evidenced by the fact that the newly emerged motion references its PS6 rival by a specific codename. However, the filing counsel isn't satisfied with the scope of the provided documentation and is now trying to compel Microsoft to be more transparent in its disclosures prior to the trial. As for the plausible outcome of these proceedings, many industry watchers have been predicting that Microsoft is likely to complete its Activision Blizzard acquisition since February, positing that the FTC's opposition to the $69 billion deal has little legal merit.
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