The console features a huge array of improved specs that will allow games to do away with loading times as well as giving vast performance leaps, Microsoft claimed.
It will arrive in the holiday period in 2020, the company said, meaning that it could have a release date any time before the end of the year.
The new console – which did not get a name beyond the already reported codename – will have a processor that is four times as powerful as the Xbox One X, Microsoft said.
It will include storage in the form of an SSD that has seen performance as much as 40 times faster than the one in the current Xbox, it also claimed.
Taken together, the hardware in the new console will allow for never-before-seen resolution and framerates, Xbox said. It will be capable of outputting at 8K resolution and 120 frames per second.
Like Microsoft, Sony has also repeatedly pointed to the hard drive in the upcoming PlayStation 5, arguing that the vastly increased speed to read and write to the drive will allow games to perform far more quickly. The Project Scarlett announcements might have been prompted by Sony's relatively forthcoming approach to the release of the PlayStation 5, which the company says has been chosen to ensure fans get "clear and unambiguous information from us instead of garbled nonsense third and fourth hand" and which has involved showing off parts of the console that are still in development.
Microsoft said the new console was a part of its broad strategy for the Xbox, which aims to allow people to play together in whatever form they wish. It suggested that the new console will be able to join gamers still on the older one, for instance, and that it will have hardware built to support its Project xCloud strategy, which aims to allow people to stream games over the internet from wherever they are.
""During its briefing, Xbox demonstrated its commitment to console gaming as a critical choice for players who want a device designed, built and optimised for gaming," Microsoft said in a press release.
Project Scarlett will set a new bar for console power, speed, and performance, arriving Holiday 2020 alongside 'Halo Infinite.' With a custom-designed AMD processor, high bandwidth GDDR6 memory, and a next-generation solid state drive (SSD), Project Scarlett will give developers the power they need to bring their creative visions to life. Thousands of games across four console generations will look and play best on Project Scarlett."
The company also revealed a new game called Halo Infinite, which will launch with the next generation console, just as the first Halo game came out with the very first Xbox.
Microsoft showed off a short trailer during which a pilot was floating lost in space, apparently alone until he cleaned the ice from his windscreen – when he did, he spotted Master Chief, brought him inside and switched him on. The game showed a brief shot with the famous view from inside the helmet that players have known from previous Halo games, though most of the video was made up of cutscenes.
The Project Scarlett announcement came as part of Xbox's E3 press conference, during which it also showed off updates to the Xbox Game Pass service, Project xCloud announcements, a new version of the Xbox Elite premium controller and more than 60 games.
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