While we’ve been hearing bits and pieces about what Sony has planned with its PlayStation 5, Microsoft’s been kind of mum on what it has in store for the next generation of gaming. But an interesting report from Thurrott suggests that the company isn’t working on one new console. It’s working on two.
The report suggests that two pieces of gaming hardware are in the works. One is a traditional console that will tie in with the Xbox brand, although at the moment it’s going under the code name of “Scarlett.” (Someone’s a fan of Gone With the Wind, we’re guessing?) There are no specs on the system just yet, but it’s reportedly deep within planning phases.
As we dig deeper, however, there’s info about the second piece of hardware. It’s actually a leaner console, one that will work specifically with Microsoft’s previously mentioned streaming service which is currently under the code name “Scarlett Cloud.” It will reportedly work directly with the service and not even have a traditional disc drive, kind of working as a variation of PlayStation TV. (But obviously more advanced and, hopefully, with more games.)
So while some people think the machines would compete against one another, Microsoft seems to be building them in a one-two punch on the market. And not only that, it believes it may have figured out a solution to the latency problem that’s affected game streaming services in the past, such as PlayStation Now.
Thurrott’s report indicates one piece of info that stands out. “The cloud console will have a limited amount of compute locally for specific tasks like controller input, image processing, and importantly, collision detection. The downside of this is that it since more hardware is needed locally, it will raise the price of the streaming box but it will still cost significantly less than what we are accustomed to paying for a new-generation console which should help expand the platform’s reach.”
It continues, “The benefit here is that Microsoft’s cloud platform reaches around the globe with data centers in every major market. This makes streaming the games platform available globally but this also likely means that it can run on any type of device. Of course, Microsoft would love you to buy their hardware but the company’s end-goal is that you can access ‘Xbox’ from any device, anywhere and Scarlett Cloud is looking to deliver on this idea.”
Now, take all this with a grain of salt. Number one, Microsoft hasn’t confirmed any of this information so it’s all just rumor territory at this point. And number two, if we were to hear anything on either of these consoles, it probably wouldn’t be until next year during its E3 2019 press conference. If then. We might not even hear about it until 2020, as the company is currently working on strengthening its Xbox One line-up.
But if this is the approach Microsoft takes, it’d be a unique one. It would build up its traditional console audience again with a more powerful traditional gaming machine, while at the same time offering an alternative to those that don’t want to clutter everything and want a simplistic gaming service. Now it’s just a matter of seeing if it can effectively pull it off.
Let’s see what the next couple of years bring. Also, will the streaming box just be called an X-Box”?