New, faster Xbox coming out next year

Mr Phil Spencer, head of Xbox at Microsoft, announcing the new Xbox console, code-named Project Scarlett, ahead of the E3 gaming convention in Los Angeles. He said the console would be designed for "one thing only - gaming".
Mr Phil Spencer, head of Xbox at Microsoft, announcing the new Xbox console, code-named Project Scarlett, ahead of the E3 gaming convention in Los Angeles. He said the console would be designed for "one thing only - gaming".PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Microsoft says Project Scarlett will be four times more powerful than Xbox One X

Microsoft has announced that its new Xbox gaming console, code-named Project Scarlett, will be four times more powerful than the Xbox One X and will be released next year.

The official announcement of Project Scarlett capped the technology giant's media briefing on Sunday at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), one of the world's largest gatherings for the video game industry. This year's E3 is on from today to Thursday.

Microsoft also revealed that the console will ship with Halo Infinite as a launch title - heralding the return of one of Xbox's best-known video game franchises.

At its briefing, Microsoft said the goals for Project Scarlett - which is being developed by the same team that created the Xbox One X - include faster load times and loading screens. The console will have a "bigger generational leap" compared with its predecessors.

Mr Phil Spencer, head of Xbox at Microsoft, said: "For us, the console is vital and central to our experience."

He said it would be designed for "one thing only - gaming".

The new console will include storage in the form of a solid-state drive, which will mean faster load times for games. This means that players will be able to process levels, graphics and other gameplay elements faster.

In a teaser shown at the briefing, Microsoft said the solid-state drive will be 40 times faster than the drive in the current Xbox.

Faster game-loading times and faster gaming performance look set to be a key battleground in the upcoming console war between Microsoft and Sony.

Sony had said that its upcoming PlayStation will be able to load 10 times faster than the current generation of the console.

But it has yet to announce a launch date for its new console. It is not participating in E3 this year.

On its website, Xbox said Project Scarlett will also have features such as hardware-accelerated ray tracing, variable refresh rate, 8K capability and ultra-low latency input.

Ray tracing models light travel to simulate complex interactions in three-dimensional environments and allows for more realistic visuals, it said.

"With Project Scarlett, we continue our commitment to compatibility by ensuring your gaming accessories and Xbox career will also move forward with you, along with thousands of games across four console generations which will look and play best on Project Scarlett," it added.

 
 
 

The statement implies that the new console will likely feature some form of backward compatibility, which means it might be able to run games made for previous iterations of the Xbox console.

In an interview with The Straits Times, head of Xbox Asia Jeremy Hinton said Project Scarlett will aim to "set a new bar for living room and console hardware" by having the best possible specifications so that game developers producing titles for the console can develop new and more innovative ones.

"We want to make sure developers have the power at their disposal, that they can come up with new ways to play, and meaningfully different content for consumers," he said.

Microsoft made several other announcements as well, including an update on its new xCloud streaming technology.

From October, Xbox owners can stream games from an Xbox One console to smartphones and tablets using xCloud. This means that they can play Xbox games on the go.

On its website, Xbox said: "With Project xCloud, Xbox is investing to ensure players have the choice and freedom to play the games they want, with the friends they want, how and where they want."

New and upcoming gaming titles were also announced, such as Elden Ring, a collaboration between Game Of Thrones author George R. R. Martin and Dark Souls developer FromSoftware.

Trailers for other games that were shown include Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order from Electronic Arts, Borderlands 3 from 2K, and Cyberpunk 2077 from CD Projekt Red, an open world role-playing game that Microsoft revealed will feature actor Keanu Reeves, who made an appearance at the media briefing.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 11, 2019, with the headline 'New, faster Xbox coming out next year'. Print Edition | Subscribe