The next Xbox, codenamed "Scarlett", is confirmed as in development and already looking like an absolute beast of video game console.
The Xbox One X already holds the title of the world's most powerful video game console, capable of delivering games at a native 4K resolution. The follow up will, by definition, set another benchmark in terms of power and performance because the internal components will be newer.
However, the things we think we know about the next Xbox suggest it truly will be a special system, and not just the same gaming tricks tarted up with better processors. That's why Sony should be worried…
- Xbox Scarlett: 5 games we can't wait to play on the next Xbox
- Best Xbox One games
- Best gaming headsets
Here we've rounded up the 5 most exciting next Xbox Scarlett leaks and rumours we've reported so far, detailing exactly how they will contribute to taking gaming to a new level of fidelity, immersion and enjoyment, and why Sony will need to fight back with its PS5 console.
1. The next Xbox is coming soon: 2020 soon
One of the earliest pieces of rumoured information to emerge about the next Xbox was its scheduled release date, with commentators concluding that Scarlett will arrive in 2020.
This release date, despite seeming too close to that of the Xbox One X, was massively backed up last week when respected Microsoft info reporter, Thurrott, stated that "Microsoft is planning for the next Xbox console release to arrive in 2020".
If the Scarlett does arrive in 2020, then that will be a colossal blow to Sony, who recently confirmed that there would be no new PlayStation until 2021 at the earliest. The PS4 Pro already trails the Xbox One X in terms of raw gaming power. It would also, clearly, trail Scarlett, too.
2. It's going to be graphical juggernaut
As T3 reported on back in April, the next Xbox is almost certainly going to be an absolute graphical powerhouse thanks to its adoption of GDDR6 graphics hardware.
The Xbox One X uses GDDR5 graphical hardware and is highly impressive, but GDDR6 tech is significantly faster and more efficient. An Xbox Scarlett equipped with a GDDR6 graphics processor will be able to perform the calculations it needs to make even more quickly and efficiently.
As a result of this powerful new hardware tech, developers will be able to make games run at resolutions and frame rates never before seen in the console space. We could see Halo 6 running at a 4K resolution and 60fps, or Cyberpunk 2077 running at 4K with crazy detailed textures.
3. Game streaming will finally achieve peak awesome
One of the most interesting bits of information to leak so far about the "Scarlett" programme is that while it definitely involves the next Xbox console, it is actually described by Microsoft right now as a "family of devices".
This makes perfect sense in light of Microsoft's heavy involvement in developing subs-based 'game streaming' technology, evidenced in its Xbox Game Pass service – the 'Netflix of gaming', if you will.
According to industry reports, the Xbox Scarlett console, as well as that supporting family of devices, will "support current gen games but offer more advanced features and align possibly with Microsoft’s upcoming game-streaming services," too.
This means that alongside a new Xbox console we may actually see multiple pieces of hardware released in 2020, all of which may allow game downloads directly from the cloud.
As well as allowing near-instant access to games old and new via downloads, with broadband speeds accelerating across wired and mobile, we could also see true, cloud-based streaming finally achieving mainstream success, years after OnLive and Nvidia GeForce Now pioneered the idea.
That means the next Xbox would have true future proofing, with graphical heavy lifting done by super computers in the cloud as processing technology continues to improve.
4. Backwards compatibility: it's back!
It makes sense that this commitment to backwards compatibility will continue with the next Xbox both because of Microsoft's excellent work so far in the field, but also in light of the current industry push toward on-demand, subscription-based gaming, as with Xbox Game Pass.
A next Xbox where you can access both modern and games from past consoles, on-demand, sound great, and if that experience can be expanded with Scarlett's "family of devices", then so much the better.
5. Elite-level game exclusives
Finally, despite exclusives largely drying up across the industry as of late, Microsoft has some top, top level exclusive franchises with new games confirmed as in the pipeline that will look astounding and play superbly on Xbox Scarlett.
The idea of playing Halo 6, Gears of War 5, Forza and more on the next Xbox, with insanely high resolutions and frame rates, with HDR enabled, and with super advanced Dolby Atmos audio turned on, is a mouth-watering proposition, and would make the system a best-in-class proposition for gamers.
Indeed, if by 2020 Microsoft not only has the top two most powerful video game consoles in the world, but also the best game streaming service, best family of devices, and best exclusive game series, too, then Sony really will be under pressure to fire back with something spectacular in 2021.
And, that's great news, as the only winner is gamers the world over.