Thanks to prior experience, Microsoft knows it can announce a console even more than a year before its launch.
Microsoft’s E3 presser was a bit of a letdown, but we got one major reveal out of it nonetheless- that of Project Scarlett, which what they’re calling the next generation of Xbox for now (it’s what we’ve been calling it for a while anyway, thanks to numerous leaks).
That said, it wasn’t a full reveal. We didn’t see the box, we didn’t get the proper name (or names) of the console (or consoles), nor did we get information on what the pricing will be. And that’s because Project Scarlett, whatever it is, is more than a year away from launch. So why is it that Microsoft wound up talking about a console in June of 2019 that is not due out till Holiday 2020?
Well, as per head of Xbox Phil Spencer in an interview with The Verge, the company’s experience with the Xbox One X gave them the confidence to do so. Microsoft started speaking about Project Scorpio a long time before it was finally unveiled as Xbox One X, and even longer before it ended up releasing. Spencer says that gave Microsoft the confidence to talk about Scarlett at E3 2019.
“I definitely think doing the announcement of Project Scorpio 18 months-ish before we launched X was good learning and background for us this year,” said Spencer. “I think that’s definitely true. I think that gave us some confidence that we could keep buzz. We also know that we’re going to have dev kits out, developers building games, and I’d rather not have to pretend that something is not happening when everybody knows it is happening.”
“So it puts you in this position of people asking you, ‘What’s the name?’ and I say, ‘We don’t have the name yet,'” he continued. “They ask me about price points and everything else, so you’re in this position of talking about the things that you set. Most importantly, you’re going to talk about what your goals are for the platform. Give people something to look to, so when they hear there’s a game in development that’s launching at a certain date, is it going to support X? And I think our experience with Scorpio gave us the confidence to talk about Scarlett on Sunday.”
Project Scarlett is due out in Holiday 2020, which means we can expect to hear more about it at E3 next year. When it does launch, it will do so with Halo Infinite releasing alongside it as a launch title.