The next Xbox, codenamed Project Scarlett, is already out in the wild, as Phil Spencer – no, not that one – tweeted last night that he’s taken the console home. Not only that, but it’s already in a fit enough state to be his primary console, replacing his Xbox One X.
It might be ready enough for Phil, but the rest of us will have to wait until late 2020 to get our hands on Project Scarlett or Sony’s rival PlayStation 5.
And it’s started….this week I brought my Project Scarlett console home and it's become my primary console, playing my games, connecting to the community and yes, using my Elite Series 2 controller, having a blast. Great work by the team, 2020 is going to be an incredible year.
— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) December 4, 2019
The tweet also doubled down on some key aspects of the next generation Xbox. For one, it will have almost universal backward compatibility, including every Xbox One game and all those games updated for BC from Xbox 360 and the original Xbox. Secondly it will have compatibility with Xbox One accessories, whether a standard controller or, as Phil is obviously using, the Elite Series 2 controller.
What’s interesting is that the console is already able to hook into the existing online infrastructure. Phil states that he’s “connecting to the community”, which implies that he’s simply logged into Xbox Live, that there’s all the existing messaging and achievements already set up. That makes sense, but it’s a far cry from the historical troubles that still in development consoles have often had, with private networks, immature system software and software development tools. It certainly sounds as though Project Scarlett is additive, as the Xbox One X was, as opposed to throwing out all the good work done this generation.
The tweet dropped just as industry watchers were starting to speculate about Microsoft’s preparedness for the next generation. While V-shaped PlayStation 5 dev kits seem to be popping up everywhere, Project Scarlett dev kits haven’t been seen yet. The Verge senior editor Tom Warren claimed that this was because they were “nowhere near final”, as Microsoft want to “surprise” Sony this generation with more powerful hardware.
hardly anyone has them, and they’re nowhere near final. That’s why you’re hearing a lot of nonsense about them not being powerful etc. Microsoft wants to surprise Sony this time
— Tom Warren (@tomwarren) November 30, 2019
On the other hand, that could be viewed as Microsoft not having settled on their specs and potentially leaving developers with a rush on their hands to get their games ready for the next gen launch. On top of that, there’s resurgent rumours that Microsoft are planning two versions of their next gen Xbox, with a console codenamed Lockhart being a fair bit less powerful than the full fat Anaconda version, and coming without a disc drive.
Either way, Phil Spencer being able to take a version of the console home, play games on it and connect to Xbox Live is a pretty solid indicator. They might still be fiddling with CPU and GPU clock speeds, cooling solutions and the final design of the hardware, but it works in one form or another.
Source: Phil Spencer