Microsoft used an E3 2019 press event to announce basic plans to launch a next-generation video game consoles under the code named Xbox Project Scarlett.

Plans in play under Scarlett include multiple consoles Microsoft’s next generation video game hardware offerings.

Phil Spencer, Microsoft gaming executive VP, said the new console hardware “should be optimized for one thing only — gaming.”

Releases are expected to be timed for Holiday 2020 and are expected to come along with the next installment of the popular Halo gaming franchise: “Halo Infinite.”

According to multiple reports, leaks have indicated at least a pair of consoles are being planned including an advanced model codenamed “Anaconda.” The device appears to be is positioned against Sony’s forthcoming console expected to be called PlayStation.

In addition, according to reported leaks, a lower-priced, streaming-based unit codenamed “Lockhart” is in the works, is in the works. The latter is expected to be a less powerful system designed to tie into Microsoft’s forthcoming xCloud cloud-based gaming service.

The hardware specs for the higher-performing Project Scarlet model are said to significantly surpass what’s currently available in the most powerful Xbox One X, including a new custom chip based on AMD’s Zen 2 and Navi technology. This is said to be four times as powerful as the current Xbox One X device.

Among other features mentioned so far are Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) that will accurately and automatically sync the console with a supporting display, 8K resolution with frame rates up to 120 frames per second, ray tracing, GDDR6 RAM and a new Solid State Drive (SSD) with 40 times the performance of the current console.

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Ray tracing was said to be a technology that works with and like HDR in a game to track the path of light for more realistic specular highlight effects.

In other news, Microsoft said it will introduce in November a new version of its Xbox Elite wireless controller for the Xbox One family called the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2. The controller has been re-engineered to include new adjustable tension thumbsticks that can be tweaked for precise capability using a special tool. Other changes include updated trigger grips, redesigned bumpers and shorter hair locks for faster firing.

The new controller also include USB-C support and Bluetooth linking. The unit’s rechargeable battery is said to carry up to 40 hours of charge time. The controller design also features a new wrap-around rubberized grip

Microsoft’s Project Scarlet announcements follow reports quoting Sony executives in recent weeks that Japanese company is also at work on next generation console(s) to be part of a new PlayStation (possible to be known as PlayStation 5) offering. This will include a player with support for 8K resolution video.

According to a recent interview on CNET, Sony’s PlayStation CEO said the company is planning to support “cross-generation play” between the PS4 and PS5 platforms and the new system will also support 4K resolution at up to 120fps. Like Microsoft’s Project Scarlett, the CNET interview said the new PlayStation would also include a faster SSD for faster load times.

By Greg Tarr

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