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A closer look at Microsoft’s next move with the Xbox One

So, what does Microsoft have up its sleeve for the Xbox One? Will we see a bigger hard drive, or maybe a cheaper disc-free model? With the PS4 taking the early lead in sales, Microsoft is definitely going to need to react in some way, especially considering that the PS4 is set for a mammoth release next month in its home country of Japan. Thanks to a huge dump of leaked information, we might already know what to expect out of Redmond in 2014.

Over at NeoGAF, a user going by the name “ntkrnl” revealed a number of interesting details regarding Microsoft’s plans for the Xbox One. This anonymous source revealed countless information on big titles like Halo 2: Anniversary Edition, a new Forza Horizon instalment, and the next Gears of War game. More importantly, some information also surfaced about the console itself

A cheaper $399 model (matching the PS4’s price in the US – so hopefully it would be £349 over here) could be released later this year, and it might drop the Blu-ray drive completely. A mock-up of a special edition Titanfall-themed console was released, and apparently an all-white model is on its way as well. Interestingly, ntkrnl also references a limited edition model with a 1TB hard drive, but there’s no word on a permanent size increase.

There’s no way of knowing for sure if this information is legitimate, but a number of independent sources are confirming different bits and pieces of the story. VG247 has a source confirming that a cheaper model is on its way for 2014, but no confirmation of the lack of a Blu-ray drive. Meanwhile, a source has confirmed to Kotaku that Microsoft is attempting to identify ntkrnl, and take legal action against the controversial forum poster.

We’ve been hearing rumours about a disc-free Xbox One for a while now, and a complete redesign is bound to happen eventually. So, why would Microsoft be making these drastic changes so early in the game? Simply put, the PS4 is selling more units. For instance, reports are coming in that PS4s are outselling Xbox Ones in the UK at a ratio of 1.5-to-1. While Sony platforms have traditionally done very well in Europe, the UK served as an Xbox stronghold throughout the lifespan of the Xbox 360. Considering the Xbox One actually launched first in Europe, it’s a bit surprising to see the PS4 stretch out such a substantial lead this early in its lifecycle.

Over the last year, we’ve seen Microsoft change its mind on just about everything. The online requirements got dropped, the Kinect is no longer mandatory, and even the available processing power has changed. At this point, a hardware revision within a year of release would simply be the icing on Microsoft’s upside-down cake.