The 6 biggest things we expect from Xbox in 2019

Halo Infinite343 Industries/Microsoft

  • For the first time since 2013, Microsoft is expected to announce a brand-new Xbox console in 2019.
  • In addition to the upcoming consoles, we're likely to see major games from the "Halo" and "Gears of War" franchises, among others, in the coming year.
  • Here's everything we know - and a few educated guesses - about the next year for Microsoft's Xbox division.

In 2019, the next Xbox consoles are likely to be announced.

That's just the first major move of several expected from Microsoft's Xbox division in the coming year - and that's before we start talking about the major games, like "Gears 5" and "Halo Infinite," that are expected to arrive.

Here's a look into the known and the expected from Xbox in 2019:

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1. The next Xbox consoles.

1. The next Xbox consoles.

Indeed, it's that time once again: Both Microsoft and Sony are gearing up to announce new versions of the Xbox and PlayStation platforms.

In the case of the next Xbox, things are a bit more clear — Xbox chief Phil Spencer has outright announced Microsoft's ongoing work on new Xbox consoles.

"The same team that delivered unprecedented performance with Xbox One X is deep into architecting the next Xbox consoles, where we will once again deliver on our commitment to set the benchmark for console gaming," Spencer said on stage in Los Angeles on June 10.

The latest rumors point to multiple tiers of Xbox consoles, similar to the current line-up with the Xbox One S and Xbox One X consoles.

Rumors also say the new Xbox will be compatible with all previous generations of Xbox; the code names are reportedly "Lockhart" (for the less powerful/less expensive version) and "Anaconda" (for the higher-end version).

2. "Crackdown 3"

2. "Crackdown 3"

"Crackdown 3" has been in the works for years at this point, having been delayed multiple times.

As the name implies, it's the third game in the open-world, third-person action "Crackdown" series. But this time, apparently, it stars Terry Crews!

The series is big on mobility — allowing you to go anywhere you want — and huge explosions. It looks like the third game in the series is no different in this respect.

3. "Gears 5"

3. "Gears 5"

Are you ready to chainsaw some more Locust? With "Gears 5" in the works, Microsoft's betting that the answer is a resounding "yes."

The next entry in the gruff and grisly "Gears of War" third-person shooter series was announced by Microsoft in June 2018 during the company's annual E3 media briefing. A new character is at the forefront, introduced during a short trailer — her name is Kait, and she previously debuted as a supporting "Gears" character.

Like previous games in the series, "Gears 5" features third-person shooting with a focus on movement and cover. It doesn't have a firm release date, but it's scheduled for launch sometime in 2019.

4. "Halo Infinite"

4. "Halo Infinite"

The new "Halo" is the next major entry in the long-running first-person shooter series, and it once again features the iconic supersoldier Master Chief as its main protagonist. In fact, "Halo Infinite" is rife with nods to "Halo" tradition.

It's not named "Halo 6" for a good reason, however: The game features a new art style, and is said to take the series in "new and unexpected directions."

But let's not get too crazy: This is still a "Halo" game, and that means Master Chief is still front and center. The game's story focuses on him, and you're playing as him, and — if history serves as a guide here — shooting like, a trillion aliens as him.

Regardless of the name, "Infinite" is a follow-up to "Halo 5: Guardians," and will continue the story that began in that game. Given that it's been more than three years since the last "Halo" game, we expect to see this one in 2019.

5. The expansion of the "All Access" program for buying Xbox consoles

5. The expansion of the "All Access" program for buying Xbox consoles

In 2018, Microsoft took a risk with a new program for buying Xbox consoles. Instead of buying a console outright, with a large upfront cost, you could pay for it monthly. At the end of a predetermined period of time, you'd stop paying for the console and just own it.

It was called "Xbox All Access," and it was apparently enough of a success that Microsoft is bringing back some form of it in 2019.

"Thanks to our fans and the amazing response we’ve received for Xbox All Access, we’re excited to share that we’ll be expanding the program and bringing it to even more gamers in 2019," a Microsoft representative told Business Insider in a recent email.

What that means for Xbox buyers remains to be seen, but we'd guess that an expanded version of the program is in the works for Microsoft's next Xbox consoles.

6. The launch of Project xCloud, Microsoft's game streaming service.

6. The launch of Project xCloud, Microsoft's game streaming service.

What we know about Microsoft first-ever game streaming service — À la Netflix, but for video games — is extremely limited.

The service was officially announced this year as "Project xCloud," and it's intended to bring high-end games to every device. The idea is simple: Run games on powerful hardware in a handful of centralized locations which can be streamed to any device, anywhere.

It's an attempt to democratize gaming in a way that hasn't been done since the launch of the iPhone's App Store. Rather than having to own an expensive game console, and having to buy expensive games, Project xCloud aims to cut out the need for that upfront cost.

Like cross-platform play, which Microsoft's Xbox group has spearheaded, Project xCloud is another attempt at expanding the gaming audience through accessibility.

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