New Xbox: Release Date, Price, Specs, and Games for Microsoft Project Scarlett Console

Microsoft finally revealed their next-generation console plans.

Xbox Scarlett

Microsoft’s released the first details about its next-generation console ambitions during its E3 2019 keynote on June 9. During their presentation, the company gave gamers their first official teaser of its Project Scarlett console and rattled off a release date, a list of specs, cloud features, graphics capabilities, and a massive roster of expected games.

Xbox chief Phil Spencer explained that Microsoft would lean into what made the console so successful for the past 18 years: cutting-edge hardware and iconic game franchises. The company has also revealed how it is gearing up for the cloud gaming future with xCloud, a new feature that will initially turn Xbox consoles into personal cloud servers allowing them to stream their titles to smartphones or tablets for the first time.

“To us the console is vital and central to our experience,” said Spencer. “We heard you, a console should be designed, built, and optimized for one thing and one thing only: gaming.”

Merging traditional console setups with cloud gaming infrastructure could be a recipe for success. The rise of the Nintendo Switch, along with a flurry of recent PlayStation-exclusive games have taken a toll, sending the current-generation Xbox One S and One X to third place in terms of market share.

console company market stats
Could Microsoft bounce back with a focus on game-streaming?

Scarlett could be Microsoft’s chance to show the world that consoles and cloud gaming can coexist. But questions still remain. Here’s everything we learned about the next-gen console at E3 2019, as well as what reports indicate Microsoft has planned, but hasn’t formally announced.

Xbox Scarlett: Release Date

Spencer hasn’t shared the exact release date, but confirmed that Xbox Scarlett consoles will be available in the fall of 2020. That means it could be released side-by-side with Sony’s PlayStation 5.

That means the next-gen console war will arrive in earnest during second half of 2020, just in time for holiday shoppers.

xbox gaming
A new Xbox could be hear as early as May.

Xbox Scarlett: Different Variants

While Spencer did not confirm this at E3 2019, there have been multiple trustworthy reports suggesting Microsoft will release two variants of Project Scarlett. The duo are reportedly codenamed “Anaconda” and “Lockhart.”

Anaconda is expected to succeed the One X as the high-end version of the Scarlett duo. Lockhart will be a lower-priced model, which will launch alongside Anaconda. Microsoft has a history of selling two variants of the same console.

In 2016, just a year after the Xbox One was first released, Microsoft also launched the Xbox One S, which was then followed by the Xbox One X in 2017. The S was a slimmer version of the original and the X improved on the One S’s specs. This time, the Xbox Scarlett is expected to come in two variants straight out of the gate.

Microsoft hasn’t yet confirmed the existence of both Anaconda and Lockhart, but there is still strong evidence we could see them both in 2020.

The Xbox One X next to the Xbox One S.
The Xbox One X next to the Xbox One S. Scarlett will offer users two options straight out of the gate.

Xbox Scarlett: Price

There hasn’t been any word from Microsoft regarding Scarlett consoles’ cost, but pricing will be crucial. The Xbox One’s launch bundle retailed for $499, $100 more expensive than PS4 at launch. That decision is widely perceived as having contributed to its lagging in sales relative to its biggest competitor.

Since the Scarlett consoles are expected to come in a pair, Microsoft could strategically price the cheaper one to undercut the PS5 while allowing them to look to the higher-end to pad profit margins.

Traditionally, new consoles hover between $399 and $499. But seeing as Microsoft may shift its focus to streaming games, Scarlett could worry less about memory storage, which could make for a slightly cheaper console.

Microsoft xCloud in action.
Microsoft xCloud could bring console titles to Android mobile devices and PCs.

Xbox Scarlett: xCloud Beyond Xbox

Spencer made it clear that xCloud will be a central part of the Project Scarlett at E3. He introduced its “Console Streaming” feature that will let users stream games from their console to their mobile devices in October. That made the service seem like less of a “Netflix for gaming” and more of a clone of Sony’s Remote Play capability.

Microsoft made a big deal out of their goal to make gaming more accessible to everyone, but Console Streaming would only be accessible to those who own an Xbox. It’s possible that Microsoft wants to first test the capability before revealing a full-fledged cloud gaming marketplace, but that part of the plan remains unclear.

We should know more toward the ends of the summer, when the company is scheduled to host a keynote at Gamescom 2019 on August 20. At that point, the xCloud public trial will be two months away, so Microsoft will likely have no choice but to reveal the precise release date and a more detailed list of features.

xbox gears of war
The Xbox Scarlett consoles' graphical capabilities could be crisper than ever.

Xbox Scarlett: Graphics Specs

Microsoft has positioned the Xbox Scarlett as a powerhouse. In an announcement video, the team of engineers building the console said it would be capable of 8K resolution graphics, frame rates of up to 120fps and ray-tracing. All in all, they promised a “40x” performance boost over the current generation.

“Immersive experiences begin at the very heart of the console, at the silicone level itself,” said Spencer. “Together with our partners at AMD we have co-engineers and custom designed a state of the art processor for Project Scarlett.”

All of that will be made possible by three key components:

  • Custom-designed CPU based on AMD’s Zen 2 and Radeon RDNA architecture.
  • High bandwidth GDDR6 memory.
  • Next-generation solid-state drive (SSD).
xbox games
Forget about finding a place to stack all of your game boxes. Xbox Scarlett will focus heavily on digital purchases.

Xbox Scarlett: How Could It Compare to the PS5?

While the Xbox One has struggled to compete with the PS4 recently, the Scarlett consoles’ cloud gaming capabilities could be their ace in the hole. Sony is expected to center its next console around VR, which is risky.

The problem with a VR-centric strategy is that the technology hasn’t yet been widely adopted. For that reason, Ben Arnold, the senior director of innovation and trends at the Consumer Technology Association, previously told Inverse that a mobile streaming service could appeal to more consumers than the PS5’s VR capabilities.

“The timeline [for VR] is a little bit extended because we’re still up against the desire to have great content as a way to drive more hardware adoption, but the content can’t get funded until there’s more hardware,” he said. “As that gets figured out, all of this momentum in streaming, cloud, and subscription services will develop.”

If Sony lays all its chips down in anticipation of the VR future, and this bet is too ahead of consumer tastes, then the Microsoft will have an open goal.

microsoft e3 xbox 2019 halo infinite

Xbox Scarlett: New Games

The biggest title reveal out of E3 2019 was that Halo Infinite would be released alongside the console in 2020. The Halo franchise was birthed with the release of the original Xbox in 2001, and Microsoft is clearly making a play to longtime players’ and their likely nostalgia for the franchise.

But this is not all, Microsoft announced more than two dozen titles while on stage at E3 2019, and all will likely be playable on the Xbox Scarlett consoles:

  • Halo Infinite coming fall 2020
  • The Outer Worlds coming October 25, 2019.
  • Bleeding Edge alpha starts June 27, 2019.
  • Ori and the Will of the Wisps coming February 11, 2020.
  • Minecraft Dungeons coming spring 2020.
  • Blair Witch coming august 30, 2019.
  • Cyberpunk 2077 coming April 16, 2020.
  • Spiritfarer coming 2020.
  • Battletoads no release date announced.
  • Legend of Wright no release date announced.
  • Microsoft Flight Simulator is coming to Xbox, but no release date.
  • Age of Empire II Definitive Edition coming fall 2019.
  • Wasteland 3 no release date announced.
  • PsychoNauts 2 no release date announced.
  • Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga coming sometime in 2020.
  • Dragonball Z Kakarot coming early 2020.
  • 12 Minutes no release date announced, but it’s said to be “coming soon.”
  • Way to the Woods no release date announced.
  • Gears 5 coming September 10, 2019.
  • Dying Light coming spring 2020.
  • Forza Horizon 4 Lego Speed Champions Expansion coming June 13, 2019.
  • State of Decay Heartland is out now.
  • Phantasy Star Online 2 coming to the U.S. spring 2020.
  • Crossfire X coming to Xbox One in 2020.
  • Tales of Arise coming to Xbox Store 2020.
  • Borderlands 3 coming in September 13, 2019.
  • Elden Ring no release date announced.
  • Gears Pop! is only coming to mobile and will be available for pre-order “soon.”

Gamers will soon be able to play the titles that made them fall in love with video games like never before. Unprecedented hardware and software capabilities will make them more lifelike, and cloud gaming will take them into gamers’ pockets.

The next year will begin a complete phase shift for Xbox.