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Project Scarlett Release Date, Design, Specs And More

Following the reveal of the project at E3, we take a look at early Project Scarlett and what Microsoft's next-gen console will offer

Project Scarlett is official, following confirmation and a lengthy trailer showcased during Microsoft's E3 2019 keynote presentation. Microsoft's next-gen console is set to go big, with confirmed details including the ability to output at 8K@120fps, and we've even got a release window to look forward to, too. 

Here, we explain everything you need to know about Microsoft's Project Scarlett, including release date details, confirmed features and rumours. 

When Will Project Scarlett Be Released?
The million-dollar question is, when can we expect to see Project Scarlett in person? While there were a number of conflicting rumours about the release of the next-gen console prior to Microsoft's announcement, the company put that to bed during the reveal. 

Microsoft confirmed that the next-gen Project Scarlett console will ship "Holiday 2020", aka the run-up to Christmas next year. It's not surprising as the Xbox One had a similar release window, as well as Sony's PS4 and (we suspect) the PS5 too. 

What Should We Expect From Project Scarlett?
As Project Scarlett has now officially been outlined by Microsoft, we've split this section into two subsections; confirmed details and rumoured features. 

Confirmed Project Scarlett details
Let's start with the (admittedly very few) details revealed by Microsoft at E3 2019 about the upcoming console. Project Scarlett was announced in the form of a shiny new trailer, along with headline specs. First, it's powered by a custom AMD chip capable of providing four times more power than the company's high-end Xbox One X, with claims that the console will provide an eye-watering 8K@120fps experience. 

Along with upgraded graphical support, the console is set to get an upgrade in the storage department. Current-gen consoles come with mechanical hard drives as standard and as such, gamers are left with noticeably long loading times. That's set to change with the next-gen console, which will offer a fast SSD as standard. "A console should be built and optimized for one thing and one thing only: Gaming," Xbox head Phil Spencer said during the company's presentation.

And while it's not exciting as a console detail, Microsoft has confirmed that the upcoming Halo Infinite will be a Project Scarlett launch title. At least there's one game worth playing! 

You can take a look at the full Project Scarlett reveal here:
Rumoured Project Scarlett features
Based on the release of the Xbox One S and Xbox One X, it’s not a stretch to imagine that Microsoft will keep this format for the Xbox Two – an affordable console for the masses and a high-end console for those with a little more money to spend. 

We also assume that the next-gen Xbox will feature AR/VR support. Sony has cashed in on the interest in virtual reality with the PlayStation VR headset, something that Microsoft is yet to do despite the impressive power of the One X, and Sony has promised significant upgrades in the VR department with the PS5.

Alternatively, Final Fantasy 15 Director Hajime Tabata suggests that we could see something radically different with the new console: cloud-based gaming. While it's not exactly new (Sony's PS Now subscription service uses cloud-gaming), a shift to cloud-only could be the next revolution in gaming.

Tabata claims that games are the next form of media to be converted from physical to digital, like with music- and movie-streaming services. He's not wrong, especially with Google going big on the cloud-based Stadia platform in 2019. 

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That's what one leak, reported by Paul Thurrott, suggests. Thurrott claims that Microsoft is working on two next-gen Xbox devices - both codenamed Scarlett - and that while one will be a traditional high-end console box, the other will be a much cheaper device built entirely for streaming Xbox games - though with just enough local computing power to help keep latency low.

Thurrott goes on to say that all Scarlett games will be playable across both devices, and that both are on track for release in 2020. While Thurrott is accurate in terms of release window, we should take the rest with a pinch of salt. 

A late-2018 patent filing could also shed some light onto the next-gen Xbox controllers. As picked up by Windows Latest, Microsoft is looking to truly enhance the controller's trigger technology for the next-gen console. The filings describe motor-driver force-feedback and adjustable tension triggers that could provide developers with the ability to place different levels of resistance on the triggers to match what is happening on-screen.

While that may sound confusing, the tech has wide applications. As explained by Microsoft in the patent application, the trigger could be driven "to simulate a hard stop that effectively adjusts a pull length or range of rotation of the trigger" or "assist the trigger in returning to a fully-extended or “unpressed” posture when a user’ s finger is removed from the trigger".


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