Microsoft has been teasing its future Xbox plans at the E3 trade show this week, and now Brad Sams at Thurrott.com has more specifics. Citing leaked internal content, Sams says Microsoft is planning new Xbox hardware, codenamed “Scarlett,” for 2020, and he notes that the name could refer to a family of devices instead of a single console.
It’s unclear what that means, but it could suggest forays into virtual and augmented reality, or new lightweight consoles that stream resource-intensive games from remote servers. Earlier this week, Microsoft confirmed that it’s working on a game streaming service that would allow Xbox games to run on smartphones or other low-end hardware, similar to existing services from Sony and Nvidia. In a recent interview with Variety, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot predicted that game streaming would make dedicated consoles obsolete after the next generation of hardware.
Still, game streaming has some inherent drawbacks. It requires a fast, stable internet connection, and can feel less responsive than local play even under ideal conditions. It’s not hard to imagine Microsoft putting out both a powerful new console and a cheaper game streaming box, and letting players decide which experience they’d prefer.