Technology

Microsoft Announces Xbox Scarlett, Reveals Key Details At E3 2019

Xbox Scarlett E3
Olichel / Pixabay

As was expected, Microsoft has finally announced its next-gen console code-named Xbox Scarlett at E3 2019. Microsoft hinted at the Xbox Scarlett’s release date and revealed its specs.

Xbox Scarlett release date and confirmed specs

Microsoft said at E3 in Los Angeles that the new console will be the “biggest leap” ever from the previous generation. The company revealed that the new console will be powered by an AMD chip and be four times more powerful than the Xbox One X.

The new console will also support real-time hardware-accelerated ray tracing, resulting in more realistic lighting effects. Further, the console will use GDDR6 RAM, which the company claims will “usher in resolution and framerates we’ve never seen before.” The console will offer up to 120 frames per second. It will also feature a solid-state drive, enabling games to load faster than through its older mechanical hard drives. According to Microsoft, an SSD will boost performance by 40x over the current generation.

Microsoft’s Xbox Scarlett will support 8K resolution. However, it is not clear if the 8K resolution is only for video streaming or for games as well. As far as backward compatibility, the Xbox Scarlett will support the previous three generations, meaning the Xbox One, the Xbox 360, and the original Xbox.

“A console should be built and optimized for one thing and one thing only: gaming,” Xbox head Phil Spencer said at E3. Here is the official video about the next-gen console:

According to Microsoft, the Xbox Scarlett’s release date will be some time before the end of 2020. Microsoft shared no more details about its next-gen console, including its intended price or how it will look. Keeping the other key details secret does not come as a surprise, considering that the Xbox Scarlett release date is still about 16-17 months away.

“Sony had done a similar reveal of next-generation power at a previous investor event, but Microsoft’s exposure at E3 and the announcement that Halo Infinite will be a launch title will have positioned it strongly, especially with the US audience,” consultancy firm IHS Markit said, according to the BBC.

Won’t be easy for new consoles

Sony is promising similar specs for its next-gen console as well, including SSD storage, support for up to 8K graphics, backward compatibility, 3D audio, ray-tracing graphics, 4K graphics at a 120Hz refresh rate and more. Sony’s console will be powered by an eight-core CPU based on AMD’s third-gen Ryzen line.

Now both Microsoft and Sony have revealed key details about their next-gen consoles. Although Sony has to confirm a release date, the PS5 (or whatever name it will have) is likely to arrive in late 2020 as well. Things won’t be easy for the successors of the Xbox One X and PS4, both of which released in 2013. Now there is much more competition from the Nintendo Switch. Moreover, Google and Apple are also reportedly planning to release their gaming services soon.

In March Google announced its gaming service called Stadia, which will let players stream games in a similar way to how Netflix allows subscribers to stream movies and shows. Google’s service will do away with the need for a console, but players will need a reliable internet connection to stream games.

Xbox’s Spencer said during E3 2019 that the new Xbox is being designed to benefit from the new internet capabilities. However, he did provide further details about it.

“When we talk about Xbox in the cloud, when we talk about streaming your games, Project Scarlett and all of its power and all of its performance is the foundation of our future in console and the formation of our future in cloud,” Spencer said.

Other key announcements from Microsoft at E3 2019

Microsoft’s Xbox Scarlett will launch with the next major space war game, Halo Infinite. The console will hit store shelves in time for the holiday shopping season next year.

Other than the Xbox Scarlett, another big announcement from Microsoft at E3 was the acquisition of the indie studio Double Fine Productions. The San Francisco-based developer is known for titles such as Broken Age, Brutal Legend and Psychonauts. Moreover, Tim Schafer, chief of Double Fine Productions, is credited with title like Grim Fandango, Day of the Tentacle and Secret of Monkey Island.

Microsoft also announced the launch of the Xbox Game Pass PC. The subscription service will allow Windows 10 computers to play and download console titles.