With excitement reaching fever-pitch in the gaming community as we progress steadily towards the roll-out of an entirely new generation of gaming consoles, there remains an uneasy fact that both the PS5 and the Xbox Series X will release amidst some very uncertain economic times when they do so at the end of this year.
And with much of the news surrounding the two consoles speculating as to how much they're going to differ from their respective predecessors, questions remain as to how accessible next-gen gaming will initially be to many gamers who want to remain as up to date as possible with their latest pastime.
However it appears that Xbox, for one, have already started looking towards a world where the latest and greatest in gaming is made more accessible to people from differing socio-economic backgrounds, with reports emerging that they could be working on a more affordable version of their next-gen console.
Security researcher Twitter account TitleOS, which specialises in trawling through the source code of Xbox consoles in search of potential new products and projects in the works at Microsoft, tweeted a piece of code that refers to a previously unknown Xbox console, codenamed 'Lockhart'. IGN speculates that the other console detailed in the code, named 'Anaconda', is the flagship Series X that will release later this year.
Per Windows Central, a trusted news source for all things Xbox, Project Lockhart could point towards an 'entry-level' derivative of the Xbox Series X to launch in the year following the release of the Series X. They say it's "designed to be affordable but will offer aspects of a next-gen experience currently unavailable to past-gen consoles, presumably in the form of NVME loading speeds and perhaps some limited ray-tracing."
Windows Central also reported that the console has entered the 'take-home testing' phase, whereby Microsoft employees test prospective hardware in their own time to provide feedback to aid development. If this is the case, Lockhart, or whatever the console itself may be called, could break official cover in the next few months. Given Microsoft's previous habit of naming consoles, rumours have speculated that it might be called the Xbox Series S.
It's likely Xbox will reveal more as Xbox 20/20 a programme of monthly updates on the future of Xbox, rolls out over the coming months.