Some word has already leaked on Xbox Scarlett, a family of next generation Xbox devices that will act as the successor to the Xbox One line. However, the specifics have remained unclear until now. Now, Brad Sams of Thurott, the man who leaked Scarlett to begin with, has more details on what we can expect from Microsoft’s next generation efforts.
First things first- there will be a traditional next generation Xbox console. The specs on this device are unclear right now, given that it is early in development. For those who might be worried, it is important to remember Phil Spencer announced at E3 that the same team that designed the Xbox One X will be designing the successor- so we can expect similar sensibilities to transfer over.
The second console in this family of devices is far more interesting. See, it’s a lower priced option, and entirely reliant on the cloud streaming game service Microsoft announced at E3 (which apparently also has the internal codename “Scarlett”). The reason this box exists at all for a cloud solution is to counter the problems with latency, which have traditionally been the biggest roadblock with cloud gaming.
Apparently, the cloud console will exist to handle some processing locally, with some speculative processing done to handle controller input, image processing, and collision detection- all things that add the most to latency if processed remotely via the cloud. This means the box will have some local hardware- but it will be able to ship for a far cheaper price than the traditional Xbox console presumably will sell for.
This is, in many ways, very similar to what Microsoft tried with the Xbox One to begin with back in 2013, but there are two crucial differences- firstly, the technology now is better than it was back then to handle something like this (though we are still not at a point where a digital only console is feasible), and secondly, this time, for those players who don’t want a cloud only solution, Microsoft is providing the option to have a traditional gaming console instead, too.
They’re offering a choice, which is something they never offered with the original Xbox One at first, which was why there was such severe backlash against it- Microsoft taking away user choice. Now to see how the market responds to them this time.