Xbox Boss Says Project Scarlett Is Not Microsoft's Last Console

Xbox Project Scarlett - E3 2019 - Reveal Trailer
Xbox Project Scarlett backwards compatibility should make for quite the gaming library when it launches in 2020. (Photo: Xbox/YouTube)

Microsoft's next Xbox, code-named Project Scarlett, is coming next year. But the company's already releasing key parts of it now, and it says the reception has been big. 

So far, the response from customers has been positive, Phil Spencer, Microsoft's head of Xbox, said in an interview as E3 2019 kicked off in Los Angeles. "It is about listening to the customers." 

Regarding Project Scarlett, Spencer said raw power is "very important." He doesn't know how Project Scarlett's specs compare to the PS5. It's expected they will be similar, so at the end of the day, competition may come down to price and brand loyalty. Whatever the case, Spencer said Microsoft is "aiming for first place," and that being a leader in the console category is something that the Xbox team is committed to achieving. 

In regards to Project Scarlett vs. the PlayStation 4, Spencer said he wants Xbox to be No. 1, and he's "as competitive as anybody." But that doesn't mean he wants to see Sony suffer. 

Additionally, Spencer said in the interview that Microsoft hasn't settled on a name for Project Scarlett as of yet. "I honestly don't know what the name is; we don't have a list of names," he said.  

Project Scarlett is rumored to be the overarching name of Microsoft's next-generation console strategy, comprising both a high-end system, codenamed Anaconda, and a lower-spec model reportedly codenamed Lockhart. Microsoft has only talked about the higher-end model so far. 

Spencer also spoke about how Microsoft is not planning for Scarlett to be the company's final console. When asked about it, the exec seemed optimistic of the future of technology that putting out the last generation of Xbox wouldn't make sense.  

"Honestly, I don't know. I've been around long enough to know that there have been multiple 'this is the last generation,'" the exec said.  

The challenge for Microsoft is to think about what the next evolution of gaming will be, and then to design a console for that. 

The company has already confirmed that Scarlett will have an optical disc drive. That means, assuming Microsoft aren't blowing more smoke than usual, that four generations of physical media will be playable on the new Microsoft console. 

Part of the appeal of Microsoft's program was that you could put the disc of a compatible game into the drive of an Xbox One and the game would play - no need to buy the game again digitally to get the same experience. And four generations of games playable on a single machine? That's never been possible on a console before. 

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