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Project Scarlett: What we know about Microsoft’s next Xbox


Ayear ago at E3, Microsoft confirmed it was working on the next console in its nearly 20-year-old Xbox line. At E3 2019, the company went further into its capabilities, gave it a provisional name, and even a launch window.

Much more will be shared in the coming 12 months, but the early adoption-minded among us are making plans now. What can they expect? Here are the latest confirmed details and informed speculation about what Project Scarlett will do, how much better it’ll do it than the Xbox One, and, of course, what games it’ll be playing next year.


WHAT IS PROJECT SCARLETT’S RELEASE DATE?


Holiday 2020. If Project Scarlett follows the same cadence as the Xbox One, there will be a fuller reveal sometime in advance of E3 2020; of course a big show of it at that year’s expo; and then a few months walking back features that people aren’t digging.

Just kidding about the latter, of course, but Microsoft is painfully mindful of how the Xbox One’s original positioning — as a set-top TV box with Kinect 2.0 and all kinds of social features — was about 66 percent things people didn’t really care about. It set back the console before the race against the PlayStation 4 even started in November 2013.


IS PROJECT SCARLETT BETTER THAN THE XBOX ONE X?

There’s a lot of buzzy tech-speak in the Project Scarlett promotional video shown at E3 2019. But the capabilities most players will recognize include 8K resolution support, a solid-state drive (same as the PlayStation 5) that promises much faster load times, and frame rates as high as 120 frames per second.

Another term slung around a lot is “real-time ray tracing,” and if you’re wondering what that’s all about, this video of ray tracing applied to something as simple as Minecraft is a good example.


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