At E3 2018, Microsoft ignited the rumor mill by referencing the next generation of Xbox. After all, the Xbox One launched in 2013, so it's about time to start wondering what the next generation will bring.
Here are the big tidbits so far:
- At E3 2018, Microsoft confirmed that the next generation of Xbox is in development.
- The new console, codenamed Scarlett, is expected to arrive as soon as 2020.
- The next Xbox may come in two variations: a standard, high-power console, and a cheaper, cloud-based device that streams games from the internet.
At this point, there are far more questions than answers, but here's what we're able to piece together about the next chapter of Xbox.
Latest Update 7/23: A tale of two consoles
Credit: Barone Firenze / Shutterstock.com
According to a recent report by Thurrott's Brad Sams, the next Xbox will come in two flavors: a traditional Xbox hardware unit that downloads games locally (codename Scarlett), and a cheaper, cloud-based device that streams them from the internet (codename Scarlett Cloud. According to Sams, both the standard and cloud-based devices will play the same game library. Sams also notes that "Microsoft thinks it has figured out how to handle the latency sensitive aspects of gaming."
What will the next Xbox be called?
We don't know what the next version will be sold as (Xbox Two? Xbox One XI?), but internally, Microsoft is reportedly calling it Scarlett. That's according to Brad Sams of Thurrott, who says he has seen some internal Microsoft documents.
When will the next Xbox release?
Sams has also reported that Microsoft is aiming for a 2020 launch, but also wrote that plans are still subject to change this far out.
In a July blog post, Microsoft teased that it will be showing "all-new Xbox hardware" at Gamescom 2018 on August 21. This could simply mean that we'll see new peripherals or a limited-edition Xbox One, but it's possible that the company may shed more light on what the next generation of Xbox could look like.
Will there be more than one console?
That does appear to be the case.
"The same team that delivered unprecedented performance with Xbox One X is deep into architecting the next Xbox consoles, where we will once again deliver on our commitment to set the benchmark for console gaming," Xbox head Phil Spencer said at E3. Notice that he said next Xbox consoles, plural.
The Xbox One X. Credit: Tom's Guide That could mean that the next Xbox will have several releases in its life span, the way we've seen the Xbox One, Xbox One S and Xbox One X. But it could also mean that there will be multiple variations at launch with different capabilities and price points, much like we see with gaming PCs.
Will it stream games?
It sounds like it. That's not to say discs are necessarily going anywhere. But Spencer and other Microsoft executives have spoken to the important of playing any game, anywhere.
"Our focus is on bringing console quality games that you see on TV or PC to any device," Spencer told the Guardian. "I want to see the creators that I have relationships with reach all two billion people who play games[.]"
It's unlikely that streaming will be the only way to play games on Xbox. Not everyone has that kind of internet connection. But it's possible that the system will stream games to your phone, PC or even another system if that's where you want to play. Additionally, Microsoft seems to be open to keeping cross-play open, which its chief rival, Sony, has not.