Microsoft's next Xbox Two, code-named Scarlett: leaks, rumours, and everything we know so far

The next Xbox is already looking like it is going to be a very special system. But will it beat the PS5?

Next Xbox Scarlett

The Xbox Two launch date is getting closer and closer – whenever it is – and the levle of leaks and speculation is growing all the time. Here we're going to collect everything we know so far about the next-gen console codenamed Xbox Scarlett.

If you want to know exactly what to expect from the Xbox Two / Xbox Scarlett then you've come to the right place: news, rumours, predictions, leaks, renders, images and more... it's your ultimate guide to what's coming next from Microsoft in the console wars.

While the Xbox One line is currently lagging behind the PlayStation 4 behemoth, it's certain that Microsoft has big plans for the next round – and the Xbox Two might just have enough power and style to beat the PS5. So what exactly can we expect from the next Xbox?

Next Xbox Two Scarlett: release date

Next Xbox Scarlett

What's next for Xbox?

The original Xbox One went on sale in 2013, and the Xbox One S showed up in 2016, and then the significant Xbox One X mid-gen refresh arrived in 2017 – a schedule which might give us a few hints about when the Xbox Two will launch.

Six years from the debut of the Xbox One, a new machine is starting to feel a little overdue, and Microsoft agrees: Xbox boss Phil Spencer has said a new Xbox is on the way (and 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. We're hoping that at E3 2019 we get at least some teases and previews about what's in store.

Next Xbox Two Scarlett: models and price

Next Xbox Scarlett

The current generation Xbox consoles, the Xbox One S and Xbox One X.

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 a console with lots of power but a relatively affordable price tag to appeal to as many gamers as possible.

With that in mind, the price of the Xbox Two will probably 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, and there's now the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition too. That multi-model approach might be kept for the Xbox Two Scarlett update as well.

Indeed, 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 – which sounds like a successor to the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition.

Next Xbox Two Scarlett: design

Next Xbox Scarlett

The distinctive Xbox logo. We will soon see it on a brand new games console.

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, and perhaps the design has yet to be finalised. If you do see any pictures on the web, chances are they're going 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. With that in mind it's perhaps not surprising that we haven't seen any design leaks yet.

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. That should give us three slightly 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 several years now.

Next Xbox Two Scarlett: specs

Next Xbox Scarlett

We loved the Xbox One X on review, giving the system a maximum 5-star score.

The next Xbox Two 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 or 2020 (though 8K is perhaps too much to hope for).

According to insider sources, the Xbox Two Scarlett will be more powerful than the PS5, and on top of that Xbox boss Phil Spencer has promised the next Xbox is going to "set the benchmark" for console gaming. In other words, 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 (and among other things that means better hair renderings).

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. It's certainly being tipped to offer better performance than anything Google Stadia can come up with this year.

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 Two Scarlett:  games

Next Xbox Scarlett

We hope the Xbox Two Scarlett gamepads look this funky.

 Something that should feature prominently on the next Xbox main console (and maybe other "Scarlett" devices) is game streaming – carrying on the work started by the Xbox Game Pass and the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition.

Indeed, Microsoft has announced it's already working with Sony to try and improve video game streaming technologies – so it seems even rival companies can try and forge a common path when a new threat (Google Stadia) appears.

We're hoping that means a host of older games available on the Xbox Two Scarlett as well, though the next-gen console will most likely use a combination of streaming and discs. Downloading and streaming 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.

Sea Of Thieves Xbox Two

Sea Of Thieves has been a hit: can Microsoft better it for the Xbox Two?

Microsoft will definitely want to tempt in potential Xbox Two 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. There have also been hints that the next generation of consoles will play more nicely together.

Next Xbox Two Scarlett: other rumours

Next Xbox Scarlett

The Xbox One X is the most powerful video game console in the world right now.

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 Xbox Two Scarlett updates direct from Microsoft and the rumour mill as that 2020 launch approaches.