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Rumored Xbox One hardware upgrade may be built for Oculus Rift VR headset

Microsoft will overhaul its Xbox One console with a pair of new hardware revisions launching over the next two years, multiple insider sources told Kotaku this week.

Kotaku’s sources expect a smaller version of the Xbox One to launch later this year, while an upgraded console featuring a boosted GPU and possible Oculus Rift support is due in 2017.

Related: New FCC filings by Microsoft lend credence to rumors of a new Xbox One

According to Kotaku, Microsoft will likely announce a “cheaper, smaller” Xbox One at next month’s Electronic Entertainment Expo ahead of a retail release later this year. Rumors indicate that the console will see further upgrades in 2017 with the launch of “Scorpio,” a code-named hardware revision that boasts an upgraded GPU capable of supporting 4K resolutions.

Citing “three people familiar with [Scorpio]” on condition of anonymity, Kotaku reports that the console’s upgraded GPU will be “technically capable” of supporting the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset and compatible games. When approached by Kotaku, Microsoft and Oculus representatives declined to comment on a rumored partnership that would make an Oculus Rift-ready Xbox One a reality.

Polygon corroborates Kotaku’s report with additional sources, who claim that Scorpio “will be over four times more powerful than the current Xbox One.” Polygon’s sources believe that Scorpio will hit retail in “late 2017.”

The Verge, meanwhile, reports that Microsoft is readying “a Chromecast-like device that will work as a basic streaming stick for Xbox digital content,” in addition to a more technologically advanced, Xbox-branded streaming device capable of running universal apps from the Windows Store.

This week’s Xbox One rumors follow up on recent reports suggesting that Sony is planning a similar upgrade structure for its PlayStation 4 console. The rumored PlayStation 4 hardware upgrade, code-named “NEO,” features a faster CPU and GPU compared to current models. Like Microsoft’s Scorpio, NEO will also enable support for 4K/UltraHD resolutions. Documents obtained by Giant Bomb made no mention of a possible connection between NEO and Sony’s upcoming PlayStation VR headset.

Acknowledging Wednesday’s reports, Xbox division head Phil Spencer stated that more details regarding Microsoft’s future plans will be announced at E3 on June 13.

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