One of Microsoft’s biggest announcements at E3 2019 this week was Project Scarlett, which is the company’s next-generation Xbox platform. During the briefing, Microsoft spoke at a high level about what to expect from the console, which is said to be four times as powerful as the Xbox One X. It’ll support up to 8K graphics and frame rates up to 120fps. It sports a powerful, custom-made AMD processor and a solid-state drive. It appears to be a substantial leap over the current top-tier Xbox hardware, but we still have questions.
Chiefly, is Project Scarlett a single console or the name of Microsoft’s overall next-generation console strategy? Noted Microsoft insider Brad Sams reported that Project Scarlett is the name of Microsoft’s next-generation console plan, covering both a high-end system and a lower-spec console that will launch at a lower price point.
The high-end system, which is reportedly codenamed Anaconda, was the system that Microsoft talked about during its E3 2019 briefing, according to Sams. The lower-spec model, which is supposedly codenamed Lockhart, was not discussed.
Tom Warren of The Verge also reported on the Anaconda and Lockhart Xbox consoles being part of the overall Project Scarlett next-generation console plan. Lockhart is described by sources as the Xbox One S to the Anaconda’s Xbox One X.
Microsoft is saying that the Anaconda Xbox model will feature “unmatched power and speed [that] ushers in a new level of gameplay performance and the future of gaming.”
Officially, Microsoft has not acknowledged a lower-spec next-generation Xbox Scarlett model. It makes sense that Microsoft would focus on the big, beefy console at E3 where all eyes are on the company, and leave an announcement of the second model for a later date.
Whatever the case, the Xbox Scarlett platform–whether it’s one console or two–will support four generations of Xbox games, spanning Original Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Scarlett. Xbox boss Phil Spencer says Microsoft wants to be “respectful” of purchases you made on past consoles so your games work on new hardware, including Scarlett.
This is similar to the way entitlements work on music, movie, and TV platforms where content is not tied to one device but instead moves with you to new hardware whenever you upgrade.
Xbox Scarlett launches in Holiday 2020, and in a major piece of news, Microsoft’s Halo Infinite will be a launch title.