Last week, Microsoft announced that it would unveiling next generation hardware and accessories at gamescom come August. While there’s basically no chance of this being the new Xbox, it is likely we could see an updated Elite Xbox controller along with some special bundles. However, some new leaks have pointed at interesting details regarding the currently in development next generation Xbox console hardware.
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Outside of a very brief acknowledgement, the new hardware is indeed in the works, Microsoft has been very quiet about where Xbox is headed next. Previous leaks indicated the new Xbox, code-named Scarlett, is actually a family of devices that should release sometime in 2020. Now for many, that date does seem a little too soon, despite the fact that Microsoft’s Xbox division could use a boost in sales and that PlayStation 5 rumors are putting the same date on Sony’s next generation console. But more recent leaks are adding some validity to the family of devices claim.
Reports suggest Scarlett will feature a more typical next generation machine, but will also include what is being described as a cloud-only machine. While details are obviously scant here, that likely means very limited on-board computing power, a lighter price tag to match and a heavy reliance on Microsoft’s online streaming gaming service, Game Pass.
It sounds like Microsoft will be solving the latency with streaming games via a certain level of built-in horsepower on the cloud model. This would allow the company to keep the price down, bring loads of new subscribers to its Netflix-of-gaming service and do just enough native processing to keep the gameplay experience tight and snappy. If the leak is accurate, we are also being led to believe all games will be compatible for both the conventional Scarlett Xbox and the cloud-based machine.
Xbox One has been on the tail of PlayStation all generation long, for the most part. Many suggest a major injection into the Xbox division’s product lineup is needed soon, and 2020 might be as long it will be able to wait.
While the date doesn’t seem to hold as much weight for us, the idea of slowly introducing a cloud-based console into the AAA home console market seems like a natural path of progression. It will only be so long before the gaming industry moves entirely over to digital distribution, much like other entertainment markets, and with such a strong push for Game Pass over the last year or more, it seems likely Microsoft has had all this in the works for a while.