E3 is here and there is one thing for sure: 2020 looks to be an amazing year. No, not just because of scheduled video games like Cyberpunk 2077, Marvel’s Avengers, or the remake of Final Fantasy VII. Next year will also be the debut of the next PlayStation and Xbox consoles.
While Sony hasn't expressed a codename for its system, Microsoft has gone with Project Scarlett. Although not a lot of notes were provided in regard to this new box during the company's E3 presentation on Sunday, just enough was revealed to fuel the flames of anticipation. Plus a few extra interviews and blog posts will help round things out.
10 It Will Have An SSD
Back in April, Wired held an exclusive interview with Sony in regard to the next PlayStation. In this sit down with the console’s lead architect, Mark Cerny, he revealed that it would use a solid state drive in order to improve load times.
Not to be outdone by Sony, Microsoft is also going to use an SSD for their next Xbox. This is all well and good to get into games faster, but the big question remains. How much storage will both consoles have?
9 The Release Date
While this is not as great as getting a hard release date with a day and month, proclaiming a Holiday 2020 launch is as good as fans are likely to get for some time. Based on previous generations, it's reasonable to deduce it will launch in November prior to Thanksgiving.
The first Xbox launched on November 15 in its respective year, while the Xbox 360 and Xbox One both debuted on November 22 for their launch years. As for Thanksgiving, well, most companies love getting their big-ticket items out before Black Friday, which is November 29 this year by the way.
8 Halo: Infinite Will Be A Launch Title
Despite having started last year's conference with a teaser for Halo: Infinite, Microsoft decided to leave that for the end in 2019's presentation. Halo launched with the original Xbox back in 2001. This announcement then was used to mirror that move and to celebrate a momentous anniversary for both Halo and Xbox come 2020.
On stage Phil Spencer, the head of the Xbox division of Microsoft had this to say: "Well, because humanity was, and is, worth saving, next holiday we will launch Project Scarlett with Halo."
7 Game Pass Continues
It's hard to know what really prompted Microsoft to introduce Xbox Game Pass into the world. Did they want to support their customers with a wide option for games because they felt like it, or was it a move to battle Sony's domination over the Xbox One this generation?
That is to say if they were in the first place, would the Xbox Game Pass have ever existed? Whatever the case may be, even if Project Scarlett "wins" the next console wars, Game Pass will carry on. How exactly remains to be seen.
6 Backward Compatible
Game Pass is great and all, but it means nothing if the generations that came before aren't compatible. While Microsoft hasn't explicitly said what will and what won't be compatible on Project Scarlett, some form of backward compatibility will exist. On the announcement of their final list for Xbox One, they had this to say on the official Xbox blog for Project Scarlett:
…we’re taking our work a step further and announced this week that thousands of games from all four generations will be playable on Project Scarlett.
Seems like a positive sign.
5 Discs & Streaming
During their Xbox show, Phil Spencer brought up the subject of streaming. Come October, those interested can join Project xCloud in order to test out streaming capabilities on their various Xbox One systems. It will then obviously continue into the next generation via Project Scarlett as well.
Along with Google's push for streaming via Stadia, Project xCloud may make some gamers unsure of where the next generation is going. Will everything be digital? The short answer is no. In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Phil Spencer revealed that Project Scarlett will have a disc drive. Phew!
When the PS4 and Xbox One hit the scene, 4K was not a thing. It may have been in the works at this point, but both companies were not embracing the future as much as they are today.
That is to say, Project Scarlett and the PS5 are 8K capable. What does that even mean? The adoption rate of 4K is growing; however, compared to 1080p, it still has a long way to go. It seems insane to advertise this now but the Project Scarlett is 8K ready.
3 The Frame Rate
Another seemingly far off number Microsoft is focusing on concerns Project Scarlett's frame rate. It is supposedly capable of 120 frames per second. Right now developers are struggling to maintain games at 60 FPS at max, and 30 FPS on the average.
Although 120 FPS may sound like a mad jump in power, do not forget going from SD to HD consoles was also a big leap forward. This current generation was more like a baby step. Maybe this time around changes will be more noticeable.
2 4X The Power
Four times the power of the Xbox One X sounds all well and good, but what does it mean? Basically, this translates to Microsoft developing their own processor for the console. They will use Zen 2 and Navi technology courtesy of AMD to create a beast of a chip.
Again, that sounds great. Nevertheless, until gamers get their hands on it, this is nothing more than an ambitious promise. Let's not forget that the Xbox One X had roughly four times the power of the Xbox One. Again, these are things to keep in mind.
Project Scarlett will support ray-tracing. Cool! So, what is it? The term has been tossed around a lot recently for both consoles and PCs, which of course, has a significant advantage of at the moment. However, the tides will turn come 2020 when both new systems will have this feature at launch.
It may sound like a bunch of nonsense if one reads an article in an attempt to break it down for the none tech savvy, like this Digital Trends piece, but it basically boils down to making light in video games more impressive. Sounds great!