Microsoft has been laying out breadcrumbs in its promotional videos for E3 2019, teasing information for the next-gen console known only as Project Scarlett. Near the conclusion of the Xbox briefing, Project Scarlett details were revealed alongside confirmation that the console will launch Holiday 2020 with Halo Infinite. In addition to the new home console, Microsoft will be giving gamers access to Xbox games through cloud streaming.
On top of the new home console, players will be able to use the Azure platform to stream their games via Project xCloud. Players will be able to stream games either using their own home console as the server, or through one of Microsoft’s data centers. This is clearly the company’s response to Google Stadia.
Spencer said the platform will let gamers access games wherever they want, but specific ways to access Project xCloud weren’t discussed. Microsoft also didn’t provide information about pricing, availability, or technical details.
Following up the cloud gaming reveal, Phil Spencer took the wraps off Project Scarlett. Microsoft’s next game console will have a custom processor based of AMD’s Ryzen 2, a GPU based of AMD’s Navi, and GDDR6 RAM. It can reach up to 120 frames per second and will support 8K resolution. Real-time ray tracing will also be enabled. Like the PlayStation 5, Project Scarlett will have an SSD that will double as storage and virtual RAM for the platform.
Those broad strokes are all Xbox was ready to reveal, but the company promises Project Scarlett will be four times faster than the Xbox One X. Whatever the details, the information shown suggests the next Xbox will have internals very similar to Sony’s PlayStation 5.
Project Scarlett is first out of the gate for next-generation home consoles — though we still don’t know what its official title will be — and it’s a perfect opportunity for Microsoft to set expectations. Microsoft had arguably one of its most robust Xbox briefings and, with Sony nowhere to be seen, consumers get to ruminate on all of the new information without many distractions.
The Halo Infinite trailer that followed up the Scarlett and Project xCloud reveals didn’t share much about what players can expect from the games, but did re-introduce Master Chief and suggested the game will pick up some time after other games in the Halo franchise. The trailer ends with Master Chief staring out at a Halo that, through means unknown, is shattered and broken.
Both Project Scarlett and Halo Infinite are keeping with the vague Holiday 2020 time frame. We’ll likely have to wait until next year’s E3 before we hear final pricing and the release date.