“The area that we really want to focus on next generation is frame rate and playability of the games,” says the head of Xbox.
At E3 2019, Microsoft revealed the initial specs for the upcoming Xbox Scarlett, their next gen home console which boasts everything from a custom Zen 2 processor to a solid state drive to GDDR 6 memory- all of which is to say, it’s looking very impressive. The inclusion of an SSD is something that has particularly excited a great many developers in the industry, with the promise of having an impact on how games are played rather than just how they look.
While speaking with GameSpot, Phil Spencer, head of Xbox and Microsoft’s gaming division, spoke about these specs and how they’ll be put to use- and while 4K visuals is something that has been a huge focus for the company in the console space in recent years with the Xbox One X, with Xbox Scarlett, Microsoft is prioritizing playability of games and how quickly they load, with 4K/60 FPS being a baseline that the console is aiming for.
“I think the area that we really want to focus on next generation is frame rate and playability of the games,” Spencer said. “Ensuring that the games load incredibly fast, ensuring that the game is running at the highest frame rate possible. We’re also the Windows company, so we see the work that goes on [for] PC and the work that developers are doing. People love 60 frames-per-second games, so getting games to run at 4K 60 [FPS] I think will be a real design goal for us.”
“The thing that’s interesting is, this generation, we’ve really focused on 4K visuals and how we bring both movies through 4K Blu-ray and video streaming, and with Xbox One X allowing games to run at 4K visuals will make really strong visual enhancements next generation,” he continued. “But playability is probably the bigger focus for us this generation. How fast do [games] load? Do I feel like I can get into the game as fast as possible and while it’s playing? How does it feel? Does this game both look and feel like no other game that I’ve seen? That’s our target.”
Back when specs for the system (and for the PS5) were revealed, it was mentioned that 8K visuals would also be a possibility- but for now, it does seem like the smart (and long overdue) choice is to prioritize better frame rates. 4K visuals and 60 frames per second have already been achieved by some games this generation (even the upcoming Gears 5 boasts that on Xbox One X), so making that the standard in the early years of next gen would be the logical next step.