2021 was a big year for Xbox. Not only did it defy its doubters by launching multiple first-party games such as Halo Infinite and Forza Horizon 5, but also expanded its Game Pass offering and introduced its cloud-streaming xCloud technology.
But what does Xbox have up its sleeve for 2022? We’ve searched the web for all the latest news and rumours, while also making our own educated guesses, on everything Xbox in order to offer a sneak peek at the next 12 months.
So without further ado, here’s what you should expect from Xbox in 2022.
Lots of exclusive games
The biggest criticism Xbox has faced in recent years is the lack of high-quality exclusive games compared to Nintendo and PlayStation. But thanks to a number of big studio acquisitions, it looks like that won’t be a problem in 2022.
Bethesda’s epic sci-fi action RPG, Starfield, is pencilled in for a November 2022 release, and will be a console for the Xbox Series X|S. In the Summer, Arkane Studios will also be launching Redfall, which is a vampire-slaying first-person shooter that will support both single player and co-op.
Other Xbox console exclusives set for a 2022 launch include Scorn, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl and Shredders, ensuring that Xbox has just as many console exclusives as its rivals.
We’re also still waiting to hear a release date for Hellblade 2 and the next Fable, so we wouldn’t rule out a 2022 release date. And best of all, every single first-party Xbox game will be available day one via Xbox Game Pass.
Xbox Game Pass streaming stick and TV app
Speaking of Xbox Game Pass, it’s inevitable that Microsoft will continue to make its subscription service even more tempting in 2022. We’ve got our fingers crossed that we’ll get a 4K tier for Game Pass, but Microsoft has given no indications that will happen soon.
However, Xbox has already confirmed that a new Game Pass app will soon be available on various smart TVs, allowing subscribers to play on their big screen without the need of a console, as long as you’ve got a fast internet connection. It also looks like an Xbox streaming stick could launch, allowing you to access Game Pass on your TV, even if it doesn’t support the app.
Microsoft hasn’t confirmed that the streaming stick and TV app will launch in 2022, but the company has been hinting that it’s close to release for a while now. We’d be very surprised if we had to wait until 2023 for both of the releases, so 2022 looks to be a very safe bet.
Refresh of the Xbox Series S
The Xbox Series S only launched in 2020, yet there are already reports that it could see a mid-cycle refresh. YouTube channel Moore’s Law Is Dead claims the Xbox Series S will be upgraded with AMD’s upcoming 6nm chip in 2022.
It’s hard to say whether this will result in a substantial performance boost, but Wccftech suggests such an upgrade could potentially unlock its full 24 CU RDNA 2 GPU. Rumours suggest the PS5 will see a similar upgrade in 2022, while the Xbox Series X could follow suit in 2023.
Could the Xbox Series S also see a new design? We don’t expect so, although we wouldn’t rule out a new colour option or something else along those lines. Either way, if you still haven’t purchased an Xbox Series S, it may well be worth holding back until this new refresh arrives.
Wild card: A portable Xbox
We decided to throw in a potential handheld Xbox as a wild card option. There haven’t been any credible rumours about this, besides unverified Tweets by self-acclaimed leakers, but this does seem like the perfect opportunity for Xbox to finally release a gaming portable.
With Xbox Game Pass now supporting xCloud, it’s possible to play the likes of Halo Infinite and Forza Horizon 5 via the cloud from a smartphone. But Microsoft could potentially go one step further, releasing a more ergonomic form factor (like the Nintendo Switch) for on-the-go gaming. Depending on the specs, it could run AAA games via the cloud, and less demanding titles (such as Fortnite, Among Us and Minecraft) natively.
You could make the argument that Xbox doesn’t really need to launch its own portable device to encourage gamers to play Game Pass on the go. After all, the upcoming Steam Deck already supports Game Pass, while we can also expect plenty more third-party gaming portables to arrive with Game Pass support in the near future thanks to the emergence of Snapdragon’s gaming chip.
But the prospect of Xbox launching its own gaming portable is nevertheless exciting. This probably won’t happen in 2022, if at all, but can you blame us for dreaming?