Whatever the Xbox Two launch date turns out to be, it's getting closer by the day – and we're starting to get buried by rumours and leaks around the next-gen console code-named Xbox Scarlett.
Here we've pulled together all the Xbox Two / Xbox Scarlett news and rumours we've heard so far. It's your ultimate guide for what's coming next from Microsoft in the console wars, and we're going to keep updating it on a regular basis.
Admittedly the Xbox One line is currently languishing in the shadow of the PlayStation 4, but Microsoft has big plans for the next round, and the Xbox Two just might have enough power and style to beat the PS5. So what exactly can we expect from the next chapter in the Xbox gaming story?
- PS5 or Xbox Two: which will win the next-gen console war?
- Xbox Scarlett: 5 games we can't wait to play on the next Xbox
- Best Xbox One games
Next Xbox Two Scarlett: release date
Five years is a decent amount of time for a company to be thinking about a new console, and a new machine is going to start feeling a little overdue. It seems that Microsoft agrees, because Xbox boss Phil Spencer has said a new Xbox is on the way. In fact, he's hinted that multiple devices could be incoming.
We've seen several industry analysts predict that 2020 is a good bet for the next Xbox Two Scarlett launch, and that release schedule has been backed up by inside sources. In fact, it looks as though the Xbox Two and the PlayStation 5 are going to go head-to-head at E3 2020.
Next Xbox Two Scarlett: models and price
What's the next Xbox going to cost you? You can currently pick up an Xbox One X from £420-£450 (or $450-$480) depending on where you're shopping. Microsoft will want to pack in lots more power but at the same time won't want to put people off with a price that's too high.
In other words, the price of the next Xbox is likely to come in at about the same level, or maybe a bit more. Advances in manufacturing processes and internal components should even out the extra oomph the Xbox Two console will provide under the hood.
Bear in mind that Microsoft currently offers a two-tier system for console buyers, with both the S and X models on sale at the same time, depending on how high-res you like your games and how much you want to spend. It's possible that we'll see the Xbox Scarlett in two variations as well, at different price points.
Indeed, as we alluded to above, whispers from deep inside Microsoft suggest a "family of devices" is on the way. Does that mean multiple Xboxes? Another rumour has also suggested multiple consoles are in the pipeline, a high-end one called "Anaconda" and an entry-level one called "Lockhart".
The same source says a third Xbox Two is on the way, code-named "Maverick", which will be for streaming games only.
Next Xbox Two Scarlett: design
Smaller, slimmer, sleeker – those are the overriding trends we're seeing in tech hardware as the years go by, and you only need to look at the difference between the Xbox One S and the original Xbox One to see where this trend might take the console in the future. We're not expecting too many surprises here, just a compact and elegant-looking box that slots in under your television set.
We can't give you any leaked images of the next Xbox – it's possible that the design has yet to be finalised, so if you do see any pictures on the web, they're most likely to be concept images made by fans.
Remember that the design could be one of the latest pieces of the jigsaw to fall into place, after all the internal components have been finalised.
What we do (think we) know is that three different versions of the Xbox Two are on the way: the high-end Scarlett Pro (code-named Anaconda), the entry-level Scarlett Arcade (Lockhart), and the streaming-only Maverick, perhaps a completely new type of Xbox device. That should give us three different hardware designs too.
Despite the advancements in cloud computing, local storage will still be a must, as will some powerful graphics hardware, so the box won't end up being too tiny. We'll even stick our necks out and say it'll have green or white highlights. According to Jez Corden from Windows Central, the next Xbox's design has been in development for at least a year now.
Next Xbox Two Scarlett: specs
The next Xbox Scarlett will boast more processing performance and graphics power – more than the six teraflops currently inside the Xbox One X, at least. Expect to see more and more games pushing that 4K resolution limit, which should be more of a fixed standard by 2019 or 2020 (though 8K will still be a way off).
Think more of everything in terms of power and performance: Xbox boss Phil Spencer has promised the next Xbox is going to "set the benchmark" for console gaming, so it's going to be no slouch (especially the high-end model).
Both the Xbox Two and the PS5 are being tipped by those in the know to have a separate graphics chip, rather than combining the CPU and GPU on one piece of silicon. That should mean faster frame rates at higher resolutions, and enough in the way of performance to get even the most demanding games running smoothly.
It looks very likely that GDDR6 graphics hardware will be adopted in the next Xbox consoles, giving these machines even more grunt than the GDDR5 tech built into the Xbox One X.
We know that gamers and developers alike are going to want to see more performance, more memory, and faster loading times, and the Xbox Two Scarlett models look like delivering based on the rumours and speculation we've heard up to this point.
Thanks to a job listing posted on the Microsoft site, we know that the company is keen to get some cutting edge graphics installed in its next console, and that will go for the other components as well (as much as 20GB of RAM has been mooted).
Next Xbox Scarlett: games
Something that should feature prominently on the next Xbox main console (and maybe other "Scarlett" devices) is game streaming – the Xbox Game Pass launched last year and it seems Microsoft is going to push ahead with this "Netflix for gaming" idea.
That could open up access to a host of older games, as well as enable the Xbox Two models to play cutting edge games even after its original hardware has become dated.
It sounds likely that the next-generation series of consoles are going to use a combination of the streaming and physical discs. Downloading games or streaming them over the web is of course very convenient, as Xbox execs have said, but when it comes to 4K graphics it's still easier to use physical discs and it doesn't look as though they'll go away completely anytime soon.
At the moment it sounds like the Anaconda and Lockhart versions of the Xbox Two will use discs and downloads, while the Maverick model will be downloads or streaming only: a subscription service will be offered giving you unlimited access to more than 100 titles, apparently.
Microsoft will definitely want to tempt in potential Xbox Scarlett buyers with some top-tier games, and we'd expect the usual suspects to feature prominently (it sounds like the budget is definitely there). The likes of Minecraft, Forza, and possibly an update to Halo 6 may well be on the cards, giving gamers more reasons to want to lust after the new hardware.
Since E3 2018, we know a lot more about the games heading our way for Microsoft's console – the likes of Just Cause 4 and Gears of War 5 – though most of them are likely to arrive before the 2020 launch window for the Xbox Two.
Cyberpunk 2077 is one game we're particularly looking forward to playing, though we seem to be no nearer getting a release date for it, even after six years (and counting) of development. Betheseda's Starfield is another game that's been tipped to appear on the next-gen consoles.
We'd bet that a few exclusives like Sea of Thieves will be in the pipeline, but whatever the launch titles end up being, the Microsoft All Access monthly purchase plan looks like being one of the best ways of getting your hands on next-gen Xbox Two kit.
Next Xbox Scarlett: other rumours
Rumours about this next Xbox console are really gathering pace now, and that's only going to increase in the months ahead. We can also make a few educated guesses about what's heading our way – Microsoft has heavily invested in virtual reality and augmented reality (or "mixed reality" as it calls it) and the Xbox Two is likely to add to that.
Sony has the PlayStation VR and Microsoft has its mixed reality headsets for Windows 10, so we expect those headsets to make the jump from computer to console with the arrival of Xbox Scarlett (given the extra processing power it's going to be packing). Look for a lightweight and relatively affordable AR/VR headset to launch alongside the new system.
Backwards-compatibility with older Xbox systems has been rumoured and looks likely given recent comments from Microsoft. We're also expecting stronger integration with Windows 10 and everything that the desktop OS offers – which is really something of a no-brainer for Microsoft.
We're definitely excited to see where Microsoft takes the Xbox next, and we'll bring you all the news as it's announced, right here. Stay tuned for more updates direct from Microsoft and the rumour mill as that 2020 launch approaches.