Wow some people on here are totally clueless about finance and business. News flash Microsoft Xbox division is profitable and making money. This thread is claiming Microsoft can't afford to release after Sony? IF Microsoft wanted they could release a next gen console for free, they can afford to do anything. Does it make business sense, that's the real question!
The OP is forgetting that Microsoft have a 4k ready consoles already with the Xbox one X, that means Microsoft can wait it out and let Sony release the PS5. Xbox one X can compete directly with the PS5 on price point alone and by that time Microsoft will already have release their plan for the next consoles that should trump of all of PS5 hardware. Microsoft has already shown that they want to be the leader in power and that their entire focus is switching to software in order to really compete with Sony. Beating Sony would be nice but that is not Microsoft motivation, they are first and foremost a business interested in generation profits. That's what really drive the company. Being the market leader would mean much high revenues and profits therefore that is one of their indirect goal.
If Phil is still head of Xbox, Microsoft for the Xbox Two will build a consoles that will continue the tag line "The world most powerful consoles". I hope they wait for Sony to reveal all their card and have price parity with the PS5 when they release their next console. The entire focus for Xbox Two will be on it's consoles exclusives launch lineup on the "The world most powerful consoles".
In order for MS to be able to accomplish this goal without doubt, they not only require multiple console hardware performance levels designed, but need to hope that PS announces PS5 as early as they did with PS4. If PS has any strategy, they will allow PS4 to keep chugging, and will announce PS5 around E3, and launch that same holiday, so that the next XB would have to wait for an entire year to launch the next holiday season. Waiting an extra year is only truly worth it for MS if they can use a brand new state of the art technology for significantly higher performance, as well as take a massive loss subsidizing it, to sell it for a similar price as the PS5.
PS seems to be playing it more safe with PS4 and Pro, but there is nothing stopping them from surprising everyone and pulling a PS3 again, just with a lower manufacturing cost and reasonable retail pricing. If XB tries to launch alongside PS5, but PS5 costs $600 to make and is sold for $399, then MS has to either go out of their way to make the 'XB2' for $700 or $800 to make sure they win the narrative, and also take a massive loss at $399. Even if they sold it for $499, while it would probably sell better than XB1X did due to it's value, the PS5 will still sell best due to enough value at a widely attainable price. Considering the XB1 situation as a whole, and that XB1X probably cost around $600 to make and was sold for $499 at launch, the odds of 'XB2' being subsidized by hundreds or sold for half price seems pretty unrealistic. If PS goes for a larger subsidy though, then there is no reason MS couldn't either.
If MS assumes that PS will at best, build a $500 console and sell it for $399, then even if 'XB2' costs $600 and is planned to sell at $399, if when announced, the PS5 hardware is worth around $600 as well, then even if 'XB2' ended up with like 1TF more performance, marketing it as "the more powerful console ever" won't mean jack. It'll be memed to death much like XB1 was. They could be more realistic and change it to "the most powerful console available", but it still won't matter much unless it has the software to back it up.
The later they wait after the PS5 is launched, the better their chances of being able to have the hardware power narrative as well as strong software to go along with it. If PS5 launches 2020, and MS waits to launch 'XB2' in 2021, then it better also have either plenty of vast quality first party titles, or 2022 level performance at a similar price to PS5 to make it truly competitive.