Everything We Know About Microsoft's New Xbox Console

Image: Fanboygaming

During this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo briefing, Microsoft showed off a lot of great stuff, including a new game streaming service, Halo Infinite, a PC version of Game Pass and over 60 new games.

But the biggest reveal by far was its next-generation console, dubbed Project Scarlett. Here's everything you need to know.

What is Project Scarlett?

Project Scarlett is the code name for Microsoft's next video game console. This isn't an upgrade to existing tech, like the Xbox One S or Xbox One X. Rather, it's a proper "next-gen" console based on entirely new hardware. Here's the official announcement trailer:

What's under the hood?

Like the PlayStation 5, Project Scarlett will benefit from much beefier specs with processing power supplied by a custom-built AMD Zen 2 chip, a "new generation" of solid state drive and GDDR6 SDRAM.

According to Microsoft, the new console will be "four times more powerful" than the Xbox One X. In practical terms, this should translate to more complex 3D environments, effects and character models.

Microsoft mentioned hardware-accelerated ray tracing and 120Hz refresh rates as specific examples. Naturally, 8K gaming will be possible for gamers with compatible displays. There will also be vastly reduced load times. (Having been gaming since the era of 8-bit tapes, I find this point slightly humorous.)

"More immersion, more exploration, more detail" - that's the new console's catchcry. If Microsoft can be believed, it's going to be the biggest technological leap between consoles ever.

An example of a next-gen game world (Image: Microsoft)

Games will be streamed to users

Project Scarlett is being built for online gaming, with streaming set to play a big part in Xbox's future. Indeed, Microsoft went so far as to describe the console as "the formation of our future in cloud."

The ability to stream games directly from the cloud - ala Google Stadia - is pretty much assured. If Microsoft opts to release a version with no optical drive, it wouldn't surprise us at all.

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Expect more platform integration

Remember when Sony tried to bundle its phones, consoles and portables under the gaming umbrella? It looks like Microsoft will be attempting something similar for the next generation.

"When we think about the future of gaming, it's not just PC, it's not just console, it's not just mobile, it's literally all of the above."

That's the opening statement from Microsoft's Project Scarlett trailer. In other words, the new console will be positioned as the central hub for multiple types of gaming experiences. Precisely how all these platforms will interact remains to be seen.

What about backwards compatibility?

Happily, Microsoft will continue to support legacy Xbox games from previous generations. During its E3 briefing, the company said "thousands of games" would be accessible on the new console.

It's not clear whether this will require the original discs or some other proof of purchase but it looks like we'll get to play plenty of favourites dating all the way back to the original Xbox. Hurrah!

When is the new Xbox coming out?

Microsoft has yet to announce a concrete date, but the company has confirmed the next Xbox will appear in 2020. Definitely expect it before Christmas.

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Comments

    Holiday 2020 is very non-specific. Which holiday?
    Christmas? Talk Like a Pirate Day? At least they didn't say "Fall".

      I think the US only really has one holiday period - that end of the year Thanksgiving, Christmas time.

      Whilst I agree, at least if they said "Fall" we would be able to inverse this to narrow it down to the 3 months of spring.
      Outside of American ignorance, I never really understood this whole practise of "lets announce our release dates using non specifics that only relate to half of the physical world".
      If your product comes out in American Fall - just say Q3.

    I really like the name Project Scarlett, sounds like from Avengers, very witty and knowing it's xbox, then it must be good as it [email protected]Brian

    The thing is Microsoft are very pushy when it comes to jamming what we ain't asking for down our throats. On the announcement of the Xbox one nobody wanted a always connected internet connection to be able to operate the console but Microsoft did and that left a bad taste in everyone's mouth. I'm simple saying if Microsoft want to sell a console having to stream a game to play only or eventually faze out the disc version on this new console it ultimately leads to having to rely on the internet connection. The reliance on a stable connection or even a connection at all is not always a option but having that option as well as downloaded and disc access is a must if Microsoft want to have a chance at selling this new xbox console as much as the Playstation

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