Xbox Anaconda, Xbox Lockhart and PS5 Release Dates: State of the 2020 Console Wars

The next-generation Xbox, expected to arrive in 2020, is now two next-generation Xboxes. Whereas systems like the Xbox One X and the PS4 Pro looked like stop-gap systems, essentially keeping up with new tech like 4K resolution in between brand new systems, the latest rumors suggest that two-tiered console gaming is instead the new paradigm as Microsoft plans to launch a premium system alongside a more affordable model.

Windows Central uncovered codenames for the upcoming Xbox systems: Anaconda and Lockhart. Anaconda is the Xbox One X equivalent, with souped up hardware and a customized graphics chip from AMD. It's also rumored the Anaconda will include SSD storage, with a major focus placed on radically minimizing loading times.

Lockhart won't be quite so impressive, but will be cheaper. According to Windows Central, the Lockhart system is likely to be similar in processing power to the Xbox One X.

Plus, credit where credit's due, current leaks hold that both Anaconda and Lockhart will support backward compatibility for Xbox, Xbox 360 and Xbox One titles.

Next Xbox vs. PS5

Sony skipping next year's E3 convention could also point to imminent plans for announcing the PS5, with PlayStation setting up its own event, rather than launching an upcoming console in the midst of other E3 releases. Further disclosures from anonymous source to outlets like Kotaku confirm the likelihood of PlayStation 5 landing in 2020. What's missing so far is whether or not Sony will adopt a similar approach to Xbox by releasing multiple models of their next generation PlayStation.

But that's not all for Console Wars 2020. In addition to the upcoming Anaconda, Lockhart and PS5, Microsoft is about to take the Xbox massively multiplatform. First up is a rumored disc-less version of the Xbox One S, which could ship as soon as Spring 2019. This will be Microsoft's opening gambit in a massive push for fully-digital games releases. The previously mentioned disc-to-digital conversion program, which will upload your physical games, is also in the works. Combined with Microsoft's upcoming game streaming service, codename XCloud, new, graphically intensive Xbox games may be playable across systems and even on PCs and phones, with the cloud streaming servers handling the bulk of the processing.

While the information is more sketchy, it also looks like the PS5 will be invested in a similar cloud-based architecture. A new job listing for Sony Interactive Entertainment's Cloud Gaming Engineering and Infrastructure team suggest PS5 and the upcoming Xbox consoles are thinking along the same lines when it comes to digital game streaming.

There are obvious upsides to the new gaming services heading our way, including more cross-pollination between PC and Xbox game development and easy, Netflix-like game streaming, even to relatively underpowered platforms. But 2019 or 2020 could also see the domination of product-as-service in gaming. Similar to how Amazon or iTunes Movies have turned digital movies into products you no longer "own"—instead you are provided access to them on a provisional basis, subject to license revocation at any time—a move away from physical media game releases could result in an even more restrictive future. Good luck playing your new game, then lending the disc to a friend.