As we progress further into the next generation release territory, more details are being revealed about what exactly will the next consoles be like. Previously, generational upgrades have been a mixture of performance improvements and other newer technology. However, during the most recent generation, it seemed like the future is all about performance and incremental upgrades rather than some revolutionary features. We’ve already seen similar teases of the new consoles from both Sony and Microsoft.
At E3 2019, Microsoft gave us a little look at the design philosophy behind the next Xbox called Xbox Scarlett (for now), which pretty much confirmed the rumours that it will be almost 4 times more powerful than the current Xbox One X. We also know that it will finally make the move to an SSD to decrease the appalling loading times we’re seeing these days on consoles. However, with the new generation, the focus will not only be on raw power and better graphics.
Better Playability is the Future
In an interview with GameSpot after E3, the head of Xbox Phil Spencer revealed that the focal point of the next generation will be more about the frame rates and the playability of the games. “I think the area that we really want to focus on next generation is frame rate and playability of the games,” said Phil Spencer. He also added that making the jump up to native 4K gaming was the challenge for this generation and for the next generation, it will be achieving that sweet 4K 60fps mark. As with most performance improvements, this will be a challenge for Microsoft as 4K60 gaming is still only possible on high-end graphics cards which, obviously, cost a lot more than what your typical console card does.
Another thing that Microsoft will be focusing on with Xbox Scarlett are the loading times of the games. With recent controversies surrounding the atrocious loading times of games like Anthem, it is clear that there is no place in the gaming industry for tediously long loading times anymore. We have moved on from that. With the inclusion of the new SSD and better hardware, Microsoft claims to have cut the loading times by over 10 times. However, things are not all about what’s ahead as Microsoft is also focused on the past.
With the Xbox One, Microsoft made a pretty big statement by allowing backwards compatibility on its console, unlike Sony and Nintendo. Currently, the Xbox One is capable of playing most of the best Xbox 360 and original Xbox games on it thanks to the backwards compatibility program. Now with Scarlett, Microsoft has vowed to turn that backwards compatibility up another notch. Scarlett will be able to play most of the previous gen games on it. Furthermore, Microsoft is also determined to bring cross-gen play to Scarlett so early adopters can still play with their friends who are on the last gen. However, this time around, backwards compatibility is not only limited to the games as previous generation controllers and accessories will also work with Scarlett.
Next Gen is more powerful than RTX 2070 Super
According to a leak recently, the next generation consoles from both Sony and Microsoft will be able to outperform an RTX 2070 Super in the GPU department. This is done thanks to the new Navi GPUs that are being released by AMD which has really stepped up its game in recent times. Previously, consoles have always played second fiddle to PCs and to see a console not be outdated already at the time of release would be interesting. The claims of 4K60 do start to make sense when you keep performance leaks in perspective. However, an RTX 2070 Super costs around 500 dollars which will probably be the price of the whole Xbox Scarlett. So, how is Microsoft able to achieve that level of performance?
Well, firstly, a standalone graphics card has many other components like chassis and cooling etc. So, stripping off those components would reduce the cost by quite a lot. Furthermore, AMD will surely charge a lower price as Microsoft will be buying thousands of these cards. Additionally, new consoles don’t generally sell at a profit when they launch so Microsoft will have to incur a loss at the start to sell consoles but it will all be worth it in the long run. With Zen 2 processors and Navi graphics, claims of 4K60 gaming and backwards compatibility, Microsoft’s Xbox Scarlett is set to be a real powerhouse and could really change the landscape of the console realm.