Forward-looking: The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One both launched in November 2013. As they approach their fifth birthday, Sony and Microsoft are starting to shift gears into the next generation of consoles. It is fairly typical that we start hearing about next-gen hardware right around the fifth year of the current consoles.
Aside from a couple of leaks and rumors about possible specs and PS5 dev kits going out, Sony has been tight-lipped about what they have in the works. Microsoft, on the contrary, has been a bit more forthcoming with its plans.
At E3 2018, Xbox head Phil Spencer revealed that the designing process of the next Xbox was well underway. He didn’t divulge any details, but it was later uncovered that the new console is code-named Project Scarlet and that it might be launching as early as 2020.
In an interview with Giant Bomb, Spencer commented that two things that the company wants to focus on with Scarlet are frame rate and start times.
“I think frame rate is an area where consoles can do more,” said the Xbox boss. “When you look at the balance between CPU and GPU in today’s consoles they’re a little bit out of whack relative to what’s on the PC side.”
It would be fair to assume that Microsoft wants to bring the Xbox closer to a standard of 60fps at 1080p or better in the next generation.
Spencer also spoke to download and start-up times in current titles. With more games offering higher resolutions and most games reaching well over 50GB in size, install times have become annoying in some cases.
“I’m always wishing games would start quicker,” Spencer said.
He pointed out that they are already working on ways to speed up download times. FastStart technology, which was also announced at E3 will be implemented starting with the Xbox One. FastStart loads the most crucial game files first so that players can start the game without having to wait for the whole thing to download. While they play, the rest of the game can install in the background.
Sony has a similar technology that it has been employing on the PS4 for quite a while now, but Microsoft is looking at improving launch times even more for Scarlet, but he did not mention how.
It is nice to see that efforts are going toward ramping up frame rates for the next generation. Many current games that have been optimized for the PS4 Pro and XboneX have been offering options to play in higher resolutions while sacrificing fps, or vise versa. It would be nice to see a console where no sacrifices have to be considered.