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Everything we know about the next Xbox console

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By Gabe Gurwin


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Xbox One X review controller hand
Les Shu/Digital Trends

It’s been nearly five years since the launch of the Xbox One, and the console has changed significantly over that time with the discontinuation of Kinect, full redesign of the Xbox One S, and major enhancements of the Xbox One X. But revisions like these can only get a console so far, and it has us thinking about what comes next — including the very name of the product. Will it be called the Xbox 2020? Or perhaps the Xbox Two? Here is everything we know about the next Xbox console.

It’s currently being designed

During Microsoft’s E3 2018 presentation, head of Xbox Phil Spencer revealed that Microsoft is currently designing the architecture for the next generation of Xbox consoles. The team working on the project is the same one behind the Xbox One X.

Curiously, Spencer said “consoles” rather than “console” when announcing this news during the conference. We’ve heard reports that Microsoft could be planning more than one console, possibly in an attempt to capitalize on both casual and hardcore players.

It will likely feature game streaming

Xbox One X review gaming close
Les Shu/Digital Trends

Sony’s PlayStation Now subscription service allows PlayStation 4 users to stream games from the cloud instead of buying and downloading them outright, and in Japan, the Nintendo Switch has even flirted with this for Resident Evil 7.

No such service exists on the Xbox One, but during Microsoft’s E3 2018 presentation, Phil Spencer revealed that his team is currently developing cloud gaming technology that will allow you to play console-quality titles from several devices. It goes without saying that the next Xbox will be one of the supported systems, and this service could save players money if they want to try a game for a few hours before purchasing it.

However, it’s very unlikely that the next Xbox will drop support for discs. The Xbox One S and X are the only two consoles on the market that support 4K Blu-ray discs, and with internet speeds still slow in much of the United States, physical games still serve a purpose.

It will likely be backward compatible

The Xbox One introduced backward compatibility with Xbox 360 games a few years ago, and it eventually added backward compatibility with original Xbox games, as well. It appears this will continue with the next generation of Xbox, though what form this will take remains unclear.

Speaking to Eurogamer, Phil Spencer said he is “very proud of [Xbox’s] track record of compatibility” and that he wants to respect players’ previous purchases. Nothing concrete was revealed, but this certainly makes it sound like Xbox One games will be supported on the next Xbox.

Virtual reality won’t become reality

Mike Nichols, Microsoft’s Chief Marketing Officer for Xbox, squashed the rumors about virtual reality support by telling Gameindustry.biz that “We don’t have any plans specific to Xbox” for VR, or even mixed reality.

The “specific to Xbox” phrase could give Microsoft an out, since it’s possible the company could bring over technology from Windows. Still, that seems like a long shot, because Microsoft has struggled there, too.

The hardware will be similar, but quicker

There’s no firm rumors about what will be in next Xbox, but there’s also not many options. Both Microsoft and Sony turned to using x86-based processors, like those found in PCs, with the latest console generation. They also turned to using AMD to build graphics. Both those solutions remains the most sensible, so it’s unlikely we’ll see anything different in the next Xbox.

That said, the follow-up will of course be more powerful than the Xbox One X. The architecture of the current Xbox One and Xbox One X suggest the company has many opportunities for improvement. It could increase the CPU core count, change the CPU architecture, or upgrade to a new GPU architecture, like AMD’s Vega or perhaps even Navi, which isn’t yet in production but is on AMD’s roadmap.

It’s codenamed ‘Scarlett’ and it’s two years away

According to Thurrott’s Brad Sams, the next Xbox consoles are being codenamed “Scarlett,” similar to how the Xbox One X was referred to as “Project Scorpio” before its final name was revealed.

The same report claimed the systems are planned for release in 2020, which would fall in line with Microsoft’s general timeline for hardware launches. The Xbox 360 was followed by the Xbox One eight years later, but that was an unusually long time for a console generation. Given the relatively low sales numbers for the Xbox One since its launch, expediting this process seems likely.


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