A bit of information has made its way to the public through Xbox Boss Phil Spencer expressing his hopes, dreams, and potential plans for the upcoming next-generation of console gaming expected to be launched in November of 2020 or 2021. We will continue to update all information regarding the next-gen Xbox Project Scarlet platform as the next few years should be some of the most interesting in gaming history.
Editor’s Note: Project Scarlet is a code name for use during the development of the next Xbox and will probably not be the final name of the product(s) developed under this frame work. The following post includes the latest information but this project is a work-in-progress and subject to change over the next few years.
Please check our Project Scarlet section for the latest info as it becomes available.
Faster load times, or none at all – Phil Spencer discussed the Xbox team’s goal to remove or reduce loading screens, this will likely be made possible through high-speed connections between solid state, memory, and logic units paired with next-gen APU architecture.
Higher Framerates – While sadly we don’t have an exact figure on this yet, Phil Spencer has confirmed that the next-generation of Xbox hardware will drastically increase the frame rates of games going forward in all resolutions, with or without HDR. Over the next few years we should be able to find out if that means a solid 60 fps minimum across the board, 120 fps coming to some console games, or possibly better in rare cases (for those who have the televisions and monitors to support such visuals). Improved hardware should be able to make this possible without losing texture quality, but gamers on console have also been hoping for more enhanced settings menus in games which allow for the player to set custom settings for shadows, resolution, anti-aliasing, texture quality, and more in order to try and control the image quality versus frame rate performance of a game similar to the way PC Gaming players adapt settings based on their hardware limits and personal preference.
More Exclusives – Xbox announced that they are already hard at work developing their next-generation of consoles at E3 2018 in which they also announced the acquisition of several big name studios plus the founding of brand new game development companies. All of this is a clear strategy for Xbox to address their number one problem, not having enough exclusive game franchises. In the past we saw Microsoft attempt to create deals and developer tools with third party companies to produce exclusives. This didn’t really work out well as titles like BioShock and Mass Effect eventually made their way to other consoles.
More First Party Studios & New IPs – Interestingly enough, Microsoft has also recently tried pitching ideas to big studios only to later cancel projects that didn’t turn out the way they envisioned them (Scalebound, and a few others the public never heard of). Finally, the team at Xbox understands that they need to put their money where their passion is, game design. Phil Spencer has committed to spend more on the IPs players already know about from Xbox as well as amplify investing into New IP for exclusive Xbox games. Microsoft now owns Undead Labs, Playground Games, Ninja Theory, Compulsion Games, and has created a Santa Monica studio called The Initiative.
No Installs – The team at Xbox is also working hard to attempt to get rid of the need to install games, possibly by using a fast Blu-ray disc reading drive. In the past, consoles like PlayStation 2 did not require games to be installed on a hard drive. This became necessary because the amount of data read by Blu-ray drives wasn’t fast enough to keep up with High Definition games. There are higher versions of Blu-ray that haven’t been used yet by consumer electronics, and it sounds like Phil Spencer wants Xbox to explore implementing that tech to get rid of, or heavily reduce installs for games on physical disc format.
Download & Start Digital Games Faster – Part of the E3 2018 announcements from the Xbox Press Conference included FastStart, a new technology which will analyze which parts of games players actually use first. Instead of just providing a multiplayer or story mode first, every aspect of a game’s usage will be determined in order for digital game files to be downloaded in the right order, start up faster, and finish downloading in the background while playing. This time there should be much less interruption and unexpected brick walls, and an overall quicker experience for digital library users.
Choose Your Price – We’ve also been told that Microsoft is looking to launch more than one console as part of Project Scarlet. While Project Scorpio ended up becoming the Xbox ONE X console (high power for a slightly higher price), the next generation Xbox platform could see an immediate choice rather than making players wait for an optional upgrade. It could be a great benefit to consumers to be able to choose right away if they’d like to spend more on a higher spec machine or go for the more affordable option. We aren’t sure what each system would offer just yet, but there will be of course more hard drive space with possibilities of more ram and a more powerful graphics processor.