OPINION: 2021 saw Xbox partnering with Samsung to bring the Xbox App to 2022 Smart TVs and Microsoft agreeing to acquire Activision. But in terms of game releases, 2022 has been a pretty stagnant year.
But does that mean that 2023 will be able to pick up the slack? We’ve been searching the web for all the latest Xbox news and rumours to figure out what the company is planning for the next year, and we have to say, it looks like it’s going to be good.
Without further ado, here is what you should expect to see from Xbox over the next 12 months.
A plethora of exclusive games
Several exclusive Xbox titles slated for 2022 ended up getting pushed back to next year, meaning that we should have a boatload of choices when it comes to games in 2023.
Forza Motorsport was announced almost three years ago in 2020, but it seems like the game will finally come to fruition next year. Turn 10 Studios seems to be putting a lot of emphasis on the graphics; real-time ray tracing and dynamic time-of-day weather will be included for a more immersive experience, and it should push the Series X console to its limits.
But one of the most noteworthy games to be released next year may be Starfield; originally intended for a 2022 release, the game was eventually pushed back to the first half of 2023. This game looks to be a massive sci-fi adventure, with thousands of explorable planets, an intricate storyline and myriad ways to take on your enemies.
Some other Xbox launch exclusives coming next year include The Last Case of Benedict Fox, Replaced, Ark II, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl and Redfall, ensuring that Xbox owners will have plenty of new game options to choose from.
An upgrade to the Xbox Series X/S
There have been many rumours floating around that Microsoft is currently working on an Xbox Series X and Series S upgrade, potentially as a way to counter the rumoured PS5 Slim that could also be launching next year.
The story was picked up first by the Polish outlet PPE and reports that Chinese electronics company TCL has noted the existence of an upgraded Xbox console, which will supposedly support 8K and 120Hz capabilities.
It’s important to note that this has not yet been confirmed by Microsoft, and it’s possible that the new console could be pushed back even further to 2024 or beyond. But the concept of Xbox launching an upgrade does fit with the company’s history, as the Xbox One X console was released a couple of years after the original Xbox One S.
2023 is arguably a little premature for an upgraded Xbox console, but we wouldn’t rule it out, even if it’s just a minor design refresh rather than a specs boost.
New Day One Release games on Game Pass
We can’t talk about Xbox without mentioning Xbox Game Pass. Microsoft has now confirmed that Day One Release games will be coming to both Xbox Game Pass as well as PC Game Pass services in January 2023 through the Xbox Game Preview Program.
As the name suggests, Day One Release means that games will be available in the Game Pass library on the same day they launch, making it even easier for fans to get stuck into the latest releases.
While Xbox exclusives are guaranteed to arrive on Game Pass on launch day, there have been a few shocking third-party launches on the platform. We’re hoping to see more of the same in 2023.
Looking closer at the Xbox Game Preview Program, it looks to be a Microsoft equivalent of Stream’s Early Access. A few games on Game Pass are available to play before they release in full, but it looks like Xbox will give fans the chance to try out games that are in earlier stages, with Disney Dreamlight Valley being the most recent example.
The release of the Xbox Game Pass Streaming Stick
Speaking of Xbox Game Pass, 2023 may finally be the year when we get to see the coveted Xbox Game Pass Streaming Stick. Codenamed Keystone, it is slated to be a dongle-sized device that can stream Xbox games from the cloud.
An Xbox Streaming Stick is exciting for many reasons, with one of the biggest being that it could help close the gap in gaming wherein you need the latest hardware to access the latest games. While opening a brand-new next-gen console will probably never be unmatched, the ability to take a small streaming stick with you will open the doors to gaming on the go, and save some households the stress of trying to buy the latest console as soon as it comes out.
Unfortunately, Phil Spencer recently said that a streaming stick release could be “years away, so 2023 may well be too soon. We’re hoping that isn’t the case, as streaming stick makes sense for Game Pass and may be the push some people need to get back into gaming without needing to break the bank.
And if the streaming stick doesn’t come to fruition, we at least hope the streaming app will become available on more TVs.