Forward-looking: Microsoft and Sony have not started duking it out over the next generation of consoles yet, but Xbox boss Phil Spencer might have just thrown the first punch. He recently revealed Microsoft’s vision of a console four times more powerful than the Xbox One X. Time to board the hype train.
In a recent interview with Gamespot, Phil Spencer revealed that the key pillar for Project Scarlett will be consistency. The company wants to be sure that games load fast and run at 60 fps all the time.
"I think the area that we really want to focus on next generation is frame rate and playability of the games," the Xbox head said. "Ensuring that the games load incredibly fast, ensuring that the game is running at the highest frame rate possible. People love 60 frames-per-second games, so getting games to run at 4K 60 [fps] I think will be a real design goal for us."
This revelation is not new. Spencer had said as much back in June 2018 when they first officially unveiled Project Scarlett at E3. What is different is the statement that they are shooting for 60 fps in 4K.
"Making sure that all four generations of content … run on the next platform is important to us."
Additionally, the team is shooting for full backward compatibility. Remember how cool it was when Sony made the PlayStation 2 back-compatible with PS1 as well as with PS3 playing PS2 games? Well, until they stripped that part out during the PS2's mid-lifespan refresh and did away with it entirely on the PS4 (unless you subscribe to PS Now)?
Microsoft is not just taking us back to the days of previous-console compatibility, but the next system will play all Xbox games ever made.
"Making sure that all four generations of content — so the original Xbox games that run on your Xbox One today, the OG Xbox; the 360 games that run on your Xbox One; your Xbox One games; and the new generation games — all run on the next platform is important to us," said Spencer.
Not only that, the team wants to make it possible for players playing on any generation of Xbox to play together without worrying about cross-platform playability issues. The new Box would also ideally "respect the compatibility of the controllers you already have." If you have spent $100 on a controller that you love, Spencer says that they want to make sure you can still use it.
This vision seems overly ambitious, with many hurdles to overcome. Although, if Microsoft can pull it all off, it might just overtake Sony’s number one spot in the console market. However, it’s still too early to declare victory. A lot of work still needs to be done, and Sony has not yet played their next-generation hand.