Highly anticipated: Although Cyberpunk 2077 was arguably the star of the show at Microsoft's annual Xbox E3 conference, that doesn't mean there weren't any other announcements to get excited about -- Project Scarlett, the gaming behemoth's next console, got a soft reveal as well.
On stage, we received new information about Scarlett's hardware and performance capabilities: now, we know it will feature "high bandwidth" GDDR6 memory and a "next generation" solid state drive. Combined, Microsoft believes that hardware will pave the way for reduced or outright eliminated loading screens in games.
So, what about the more meaty specs? Apparently, Scarlett will run a "custom-designed" AMD processor based on Ryzen Zen 2 technology, as well as a Navi-based video card.
Courtesy of this hardware, Scarlett will include support for a "variable" 120Hz refresh rate, hardware-accelerated ray tracing, 8K resolutions, and "ultra-low latency input." All in all, Microsoft claims Scarlett will be four times more powerful than its predecessor, the Xbox One X. While we'll have to see real-world performance results before we can verify those claims, they don't seem entirely unreasonable.
...Scarlett will include support for a "variable" 120Hz refresh rate, hardware-accelerated ray tracing, 8K resolutions, and "ultra-low latency input."
Speaking of the Xbox One X, Microsoft insists that the transition from the aging console to Project Scarlett will be relatively seamless. "With Project Scarlett, we continue our commitment to compatibility by ensuring your gaming accessories and Xbox career will also move forward with you, along with thousands of games across four console generations which will look and play best on Project Scarlett," the company says.
That statement seems to imply that a certain degree of backward compatibility will be available with Xbox One games. That's not exactly a surprise (the PlayStation 5 will have similar features), but it is still nice to know given the massive libraries many console gamers have already amassed.
In short, Project Scarlett is looking to be a pretty significant step forward for the Xbox community; even if it doesn't appear to be offering anything significantly different than the PS5.
If you're wondering when you can get your hands on a Scarlett system, Microsoft says it will be arriving sometime during the holiday season of 2020. As for what games you'll be able to pop in to take advantage of Scarlett's fancy new tech, the company says the upcoming Halo Infinite will be a notable launch title.