Microsoft seems to be going all in with the next generation of consoles and if Brad Sams (from Thurrott) is to be believed, there will be a total of four Xbox consoles releasing in the coming two years. This may seem a bit far-fetched but if you look at the present console lineup, it’s really not.
Firstly, you’ve got the standard Xbox One and the PS4 that ushered in the new generation. After that, we saw the budget versions, namely PS4 Slim and the Xbox One S that are basically reskins with some extras like 4K streaming and backward compatibility for the One S. The surprise came a little late in the form of the Xbox One X, the most powerful console till date with support for native 4K (albeit at 30 FPS) and while Sony didn’t take long to respond with the PS4 Pro, the One X still is a fair bit more powerful. Regardless, Sony with all its exclusives doesn’t have to worry about much. And that is precisely what Phil Spencer and Microsoft are looking to change.
As per Brad Sams, the codename Scarlett refers to the whole generation of Xbox consoles coming in the next two years. There will be two traditional consoles, codenamed Anaconda and Lockhart. Just as the name suggests, Anaconda will be the replacement for the Xbox One X and should for the first time allow 4K 60 FPS gameplay on consoles. As for Lockhart, think of it as the next Xbox One Slim, for gamers who’d rather spend more money on games than the console itself.
As we’ve already reported, all the consoles will leverage AMD’s chips both on the CPU and GPU side. AMD’s 7nm Navi GPUs and the 2nd (or perhaps 3rd) gen Ryzen CPUs will power both the next-gen Xbox consoles.
As for the xCloud, there will also something called Anthem (no not the BioWare game). Anthem is the cloud-based streaming platform, and we may see the V2 of Anthem as soon as 2019. And to make matters a bit complicated, there are supposed to be different versions of Anthem for Anaconda and Lockhart. I’m not so sure about this but I guess time will tell.
On the software side, there is GameCore that will benefit both the Windows and Xbox platform. This devkit has been made to make it easier for developers to make DirectX based games and fast.
GameCore is basically the next step in the evolution of the much hated UWP store that should please quite a few people, gamers and developers both. The aim is to provide developers with closer-to-metal hardware access that is one of the main advantages of the new DX12 API. This should result in fewer technical issues and at the same time improved performance thanks to better hardware utilization.
However hold your horses, as per Brad, Maverick will be the first to see the light. Maverick will be a cheaper disc-less version of the present generation Xbox One that could be priced as low as $
To draw consumers in, Microsoft is working to integrate a digital attach feature (called Roma). With this, when you purchase an Xbox console and along with it subscribe to Gamepass or Xbox Live, you’ll get a factory-configured device saving you the hassle of downloading and setting up the whole thing.
Our Take on this
From what I can tell, Brad’s info seems to be legit, at least part of it. There will definitively be a 4K console from Microsoft for the enthusiasts plus a budget-oriented version for the easy-going folks. As for the other two, it can’t be said for sure if we’ll see another iteration of the present generation Xbox One, but a 4K-30 FPS or upscaled 4K console is highly likely.
What are your thoughts on this? Do we really need so many different consoles per generation, or is it another one of Microsoft’s marketing shams.