Microsoft is working on its next generation of Xbox consoles, the company confirmed during its E3 2018 presentation in Los Angeles, California, on Sunday. The company indicated that its priority for the new consoles is to “set the benchmark for console gaming,” and it comes as Microsoft aims to develop a cloud-based game streaming network.
Microsoft’s head of the Xbox division Phil Spencer stated during the presentation that “the same team that delivered unprecedented performance with Xbox One X is deep into architecting the next Xbox consoles, where we will once again deliver on our commitment to set the benchmark for console gaming.” Thurrott.com editor Brad Sams reported on Sunday that the new series of consoles is under development with the codename “scarlet,” but any finer details about a release date are unclear. While the Xbox One launched nearly five years ago, the Xbox One X that plays the same games with upgraded graphics for select titles only launched in 2017.
“Cloud engineers are building a game streaming network to unlock console quality gaming on any device,” Spencer said in his speech. “Not only that, we are dedicated to perfecting your experience everywhere you want to play. On your Xbox, your PC or your phone.”
The announcement suggests Microsoft is planning to offer something similar to Sony, which bought cloud gaming firm Gaikai in 2012. Sony used its purchase to roll out two products: Remote Play, which lets users play their PS4 over the internet, and PlayStation Now, which offers access to a range of titles for $99 per year without needing a game console. Microsoft’s announcement of a new console is a strong sign that, even if the company is aiming to deliver console-free gaming, it’s still committed to the future development of dedicated in-home consoles.
Beyond cloud gaming and benchmark setting, Microsoft’s console is a web of unknowns. Sony is set to take the stage for its E3 demonstration on Monday at 6 p.m. Pacific time, during which it could drop its own hints about the future of gaming. This could provide clues about how the future of the industry is shaping out.
At the same E3 expo, the new Xbox may have also received its first game announcements, as Bethesda took the wraps off Starfield and Elder Scrolls VI.