Xbox Project Scarlett: Everything you need to know about next gen console, release date and PS5 comparisons

Microsoft says new Xbox is 'the most powerful and highest-performing console we've ever designed'

Project Scarlett: Xbox announces next gen console

The new Xbox has finally been detailed, with Microsoft taking the lid off its upcoming "Project Scarlett" next gen console.

The company took to the stage at its E3 press conference, and – after showing off 60 games and a range of other updates – finally officially announced that it was working on the successor to the Xbox One.

The new console will be out next year and plenty about it still remains mysterious. But here's what we know about the new hardware.

What are the specs?

Microsoft revealed a few numbers, but for the most part the actual hardware details are vague but impressive sounding.

It talked about a "custom-designed AMD processor", which it claimed would boost performance by four times when compared with the Xbox One X. That sits along side "high bandwidth GDDR6 memory", it said.

But the most discussed piece of hardware was the SSD, which Xbox claimed will work very quickly, so fast that it is able to do away with traditional loading screens. It can run more than 40 times faster than the existing storage, representatives said, giving power that allows players to "move through worlds without waiting for games to load".

Altogether, that hardware will allow for framerates of 120 frames per second and 8K graphics, Xbox said. It also mentioned "next gen ray tracing" though didn't demonstrate or explain what that might look like.

How does that compare to the PS5?

It sounds very similar indeed. Sony has also focused on the SSD and the new speeds and kinds of experiences that it will give to players.

They also said that the storage will allow for an end to long loading screens. Like Xbox they have pointed to the new kinds of experience that will bring, such as ray-tracing.

In fact, based on what we officially know about both, the two consoles sound remarkably similar. But that's probably just because all of the differentiating features are yet to be announced.

Will it be backwards compatible?

Very much so, by the sounds of it. And not just in terms of games but it seems everything else – Xbox stressed that everything will be coming forward into the next generation, apparently even including controllers.

"Your games, your achievements, your progression, your accessories," Xbox said. "Your console gaming experience with Xbox, it all comes forward with Scarlett."

Xbox also suggested that old games will not only be compatible with the new system, but could look better than they do now when they're able to take advantage of the new hardware, with the company saying it would be "delivering four generations of content better than you've ever seen them before".

It also sounds like you'll be able to play across generations. That will presumably mean that you'll be able to start a game of Fifa on your Project Scarlett Xbox against someone who's still on an Xbox One, for instance.

"I don't lose my last generation as I move into the next generation – the people I play with and the games that I want ot play," Xbox said in its reveal video. "That experience should be continuous and always growing."

When is the release date?

"Holiday 2020" is all that Xbox have said.

The holiday season is typically taken to run from November to January, but Microsoft will no doubt want to have plenty of time for people to buy it in the run-up to Christmas. So November 2020 is probably the most likely time for it to arrive.

How much will it cost?

Just as with the PS5, we have no idea. (Most likely Microsoft doesn't really know, either, since a lot could happen over the next 18 months.)

Previous Xbox consoles have cost between $299 and $499 at launch, and have been gradually creeping upwards. So $500 or so, or the same in pounds or euros, might be a good bet for price – but there is no real way of knowing.

What don't we know?

Xbox didn't give the console any name, beyond its already reported Project Scarlett codename. That was one of the widely expected announcements in the E3 keynote, so its absence was a little conspicuous.

Other than that, however, there's plenty that hasn't been discussed. We don't know any of the launch titles, beyond Halo Infinite; we don't know how much it will cost; we don't know what it will look like; we don't know if the rumours that there will actually be two versions, one more powerful and one cheaper, are true.

But with Sony committing to keep updating fans throughout the development period, it's likely that Xbox will be forced to keep up, too. That should mean there'll be plenty more to come over the next 18 months.

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