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New Xbox dev kit certified in South Korea

The mid-cycle refresh is raring to go
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Update (March 19, 2024, 4:05pm CET): It appears as if only a new Xbox dev kit has been certified in South Korea, not one for the upcoming PS5 Pro as well. 

It seems like the device has been mistaken for a machine that may have been used for PS5 Slim testing and is not related to the PS5 Pro.

Original (March 19, 2024, 9:45am CET): Speculation about Microsoft wanting to exit the hardware market for gaming consoles has been widespread recently as it moved to make some of its formerly exclusive games available on the platforms of its competitors Sony and Nintendo. However, the certification of a new Xbox dev kit by South Korean authorities should shut down these rumors for the time being.

According to Xbox News for Koreans, which is citing the National Radio Research Agency, the new Xbox dev kit received approval on March 18, 2024. Under Korean law, all electronic devices need to be certified by this agency before they can be used in order to ensure that they’re not a threat to existing radio infrastructure.

Xbox logo above the skyline of Cologne, Germany.

Microsoft seems to be gearing up for a Xbox Series X refresh.

The Xbox Series X dev kit received approval around five months before the console itself was launched in the country, giving an indication of the potential timetable Microsoft is working under.

Microsoft isn’t the only manufacturer gearing up for a mid-cycle refresh of its current-gen offer: A dev kit for Sony’s PS5 Pro has already been certified by the NRRA on November 24, 2023. That same month Sony started selling its PS5 Slim, a slightly upgraded version of its console.

During the court battle between the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Microsoft in the US about the acquisition of Activision Blizzard in 2023, internal documents were leaked which had details on Microsoft’s future hardware strategy. A key component of this appeared to be a fully digital version of the Xbox Series X. While the exact plans may have changed in the meantime, the company denied that there were plans to leave its role as a hardware manufacturer behind. Leadership stated that more information about upcoming hardware would follow later this year.

Microsoft’s new approach of spreading its first-party titles among as many platforms as possible seems to be working out well for the time being: Sea of Thieves topped the PS5 pre-order charts pretty much worldwide after it was announced to come to the Sony console.

A recent earnings report by Sony indicated that it may follow a similar strategy in the future with its successful launch of Helldivers 2 possibly serving as a blueprint.