We’re five years into this generation and there are already talks of next-gen being just a couple years away. Sony says their next console is slated for 2021 at the earliest, Bethesda is already developing two games for next-gen including The Elder Scrolls VI, and Microsoft announced they’ve already begun production on their next-generation Xbox which is codenamed Scarlett.
With Sony looking to continue using PlayStation 4 as their main console for another three years at the least, Microsoft is looking to get out ahead of them and have an early start to the generation. It’s no secret that Microsoft had a very rough launch with the Xbox One this generation. The rocky messaging when it was announced led to lots of controversy, causing them to revert a lot of features and ideas at a system level that more or less made the console a nightmare to use for months on end when it released.
With it launching just a week after PS4 with a $500 price tag ($100 more than PS4) and a mandatory Kinect bundled in, it made the PS4 seem much more lucrative. According to Brad Sams from Thurrott (a trusted source when it comes to Microsoft news), Xbox is planning on releasing Scarlett in 2020 but what’s perhaps the most interesting is that Sams states that Scarlett isn’t just one console, it’s a family of devices.
Microsoft has referred to the Xbox One as a family of consoles since the launch of the One S, the slimmer version of the now defunct launch Xbox One, and the One X, the beefy 4K console, meaning they’re no stranger to creating a “family” of consoles. The Xbox One is ultimately the console every Xbox player has right now but there are differences that benefit consumers in certain ways such as 4K media, better performance in games, a more aesthetically pleasing piece of hardware, and more.
With Scarlett, it sounds like Microsoft may avoid releasing a new upgraded Xbox every year and just drop them all out of the gate, allowing more choice right away and preventing anyone from feeling cheated if they buy a console at launch but end up seeing a more lucrative one released a year or two later. This could look more like a PC and offer better components inside of the console depending on which version you buy, providing you with more premium gaming experiences, but that’s pure speculation on our part.
With a heavy focus on backward compatibility this generation, we can likely expect to have at least Xbox One games playable on Scarlett and it probably wouldn’t be much of a stretch to see OG Xbox and 360 games make their way over too.
It’ll be interesting to see what this means for next-gen games as the consoles won’t all launch at the same time now. Does this mean Starfield could potentially be out on Xbox for an entire year? Could this give Microsoft a significant advantage next gen? Only time will tell!
We likely won’t hear any more news regarding Microsoft’s next console until next E3.