A new rumor is pointing to Microsoft’s next generation Xbox being not one but two consoles, one with traditional hardware and the other being streaming-based.
Both consoles, which are being developed under the official code-name “Scarlett,” are set to launch sometime in 2020. The rumor comes via Paul Thurrott, a source that previously leaked accurate information for Microsoft’s previous works.
One of Thurrott’s sources referred to the streaming console as “Scarlett Cloud,” which they note is a low-end, game-streaming focused device meant to ship alongside the traditional console that has meatier hardware within. The cloud-focused unit will have enough hardware to support limited, local processing including: image processing, collision, and controller input. A local “splice” or “slice” of the game will be running locally, while Microsoft’s cloud will piece it all together and beam it down. Because of the required local hardware, the price of the streaming box will be higher, however it will be “significantly less” than what a full blown gaming console would cost.
Thurrott noted Microsoft’s goal is to provide users access to “Xbox” from any device at any time, with their cloud platform supporting access worldwide. One of the sources noted that Microsoft’s goal might even be trying to reduce all latency in a game, suggesting a multiplayer game using their Azure server would theoretically mean better net play, as the servers are closely intertwined.
Lastly, Thurrott noted that all Xbox Scarlett games will run on all “Scarlett” devices, meaning there is no restriction to buying the streaming-only device versus the traditional gaming console.