Microsoft's affordable Xbox Series X alternative could be on the cusp of reveal

(Image credit: Microsoft)

While Microsoft has lifted the lid on some details about the Xbox Series X, such as specs and hardware design, the company has continued a radio silence about the rumored other console in its next-gen lineup: Project Lockhart. But that could change soon.

Project Lockhart is set to be a more affordable, digital-only alternative to the Xbox Series X – much like the Xbox One S All-Digital was this generation. However, Microsoft hasn't revealed any information about this other console, only confirming that the Series X will be a part of the a family of consoles which fall under the banner-head 'Xbox'.

But the company could be gearing up to reveal further information on Project Lockhart in the coming months, as Windows Central has reported that the elusive console is has entered home testing, allowing Xbox employees to get their hands on the system, with the publication suggesting that we could hear more about the console at the rumored Xbox showcase in May.

What else do we know

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In addition, Windows Central's report claims that Project Lockhart will be a 4TF "entry point" to next-gen gaming, aiming to replace the Xbox One X. 

While not much is known about what specs this digital console will have, rumors suggest it will be a lower-cost next-gen Xbox console that will sit just below the high-end Xbox Series X - but will be an upgrade on the Xbox One X.

The most solid information on Project Lockhart until now came from a report by Kotaku’s Jason Schreier, who claims there is indeed a lower-spec console in the works from Microsoft that will still play all the next-gen Xbox Series X games.

According to Schreier, Project Lockhart will be disc-less console but Kotaku's sources believe it will be substantially more powerful than Microsoft’s current disc-less box, and will come with both a solid-state hard drive and a faster CPU than any current game console.

The report goes on to say that Microsoft told developers to shoot for a 1440p resolution and 60 frames-per-second frame rate with Project Lockhart and 4K/60 with Xbox Series X, and those same developers have likened the performance of the lower-end console to the PS4 Pro

As a digital-only console, we'd expect that Project Lockhart to be primarily function as a digital gateway for both Microsoft’s game-streaming service, Project xCloud, and its Xbox Game Pass service. Either way, it sounds like it will sit below Series X and be a less powerful – but more affordable – option.

But will we see Project Lockhart soon?

(Image credit: Microsoft)

We should treat these rumors with speculation, especially as Microsoft hasn't officially confirmed any Project Lockhart details. Whether we'll actually hear more about the digital next-gen console in May remains to be seen, especially as Microsoft hasn't even confirmed it'll be holding an Xbox showcase in May. 

However, rumors suggest that the company could have brought its Xbox Series X reveal showcase forward due to the cancellation of E3 2020

Prominent industry analyst, Daniel Ahmad, claims that the cancellation of E3 2020 has meant that many announcements and reveals have been moved, and that the first proper next-gen showcase will be much earlier.

While Ahmad teased that one of next-gen showcases has been brought forward due to E3's cancellation, he didn't confirm which one. However, we can speculate that it may be Microsoft's Xbox Series X that will be showcased earlier. Now that Microsoft is no longer confirmed to E3 2020 week, the company would be able to show off its console sooner as a direct result – and maybe even Project Lockhart.

With nothing set in stone, we'll have to wait for confirmation from Microsoft on whether the company will be hosting a showcase in May. Hopefully we don't have long to wait.

Vic Hood
Associate Editor, TechRadar Gaming

Vic is TechRadar Gaming's Associate Editor. An award-winning games journalist, Vic brings experience from IGN, Eurogamer and more to the TechRadar table. You may have even heard her on the radio or speaking on a panel. Not only is Vic passionate about games, but she's also an avid mental health advocate who has appeared on both panels and podcasts to discuss mental health awareness. Make sure to follow her on Twitter for more.