What is the 'Xbox Series Z' and does it exist?

Xbox Series X, Series S
(Image credit: Windows Central | Jez Corden)

Does the Xbox Series Z exist?

The Xbox Series Z does not officially exist, and is only a fan-created term used to refer to a possible future Xbox console and/or handheld gaming device. While it's possible (if not likely) that an Xbox handheld arrives in the future, there's no official word just yet, and such a device is unlikely to be named the Xbox Series Z.

If you spend time browsing online in gaming forums or subreddits, you may have seen people refer to the so-called Xbox Series Z at some point or another. To clarify, this is not something real, at least not yet. While we can't rule out the possibility that something called the Xbox Series Z could be announced at some point, it's unlikely. 

The speculation naturally comes from the idea of finding a name for something that could follow the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, the two current-generation consoles from Microsoft. The Xbox Series X is the "older brother" of the consoles, providing higher-end graphics, while the Xbox Series S features the same CPU and ultra-fast internal SSD, just with less graphics processing power. 

By extent, some people then reason that another entry in the same "family" of consoles would be referred to as the Xbox Series Z.

What will future Xbox hardware look like?

It's currently unclear exactly what the next Xbox hardware will look like, but we've got some ideas. Current speculation is that Xbox is exploring a handheld gaming device, something that's been backed up by some comments from Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer. 

Our managing editor Jez Corden previously outlined reasons why a handheld Xbox device would make sense, allowing Microsoft to find a completely new audience and expanding beyond the existing console market. The Steam Deck and especially the Nintendo Switch have found success operating in a hybrid space, and taking the Xbox ecosystem to that space means people could take their games on the go without relying on Xbox Cloud Gaming. 

We also know that Microsoft was at least exploring ideas surrounding a hybrid or handheld Xbox device as recently as a couple of years ago, per leaked documents from the Microsoft vs. FTC court hearing. 

Sarah Bond, president of Xbox at Microsoft Gaming, mentioned during an update on the Xbox business in February 2024 that the hardware teams at Xbox at working on delivering the "largest leap" ever for a console generation. Given the natural limitations present in handheld gaming — heat, power, and physical space all present different design challenges — it's unlikely that Bond was referring to a handheld. This doesn't mean a handheld won't be happening, but it's something to keep in mind.

Samuel Tolbert
Freelance Writer

Samuel Tolbert is a freelance writer covering gaming news, previews, reviews, interviews and different aspects of the gaming industry, specifically focusing on Xbox and PC gaming on Windows Central. You can find him on Twitter @SamuelTolbert.