E3 2019: Microsoft dates, details Project Scarlett, adds console streaming via xCloud

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Project Scarlet

Microsoft got E3 2019 off with a bang at its press conference, revealing that its next-generation console, codenamed Project Scarlett, will launch in “Holiday 2020” and will boast features like ray-tracing and 8K resolution.

In the press conference, Microsoft’s Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, introduced a video showing members of Project Scarlett’s development team talking about various features the console will possess. They said that Project Scarlett will be four times more powerful than the Xbox One X, that it will use high-bandwidth GDDR6 memory, and that it will support hardware ray-tracing, frame-rates of up to 120fps, 8K-resolution output and a next-generation solid state disk for storage that will be able to operate as virtual RAM.

Despite the new details, Microsoft left many questions about Project Scarlett unanswered. We still don’t know what it will be called or what it will look like, and its “Holiday 2020” – in other words, in the run-up to Christmas next year – launch window is still somewhat vague. Pricing, unsurprisingly, remains a mystery at this stage. However, Microsoft did announce one launch title for the console: the hugely anticipated Halo Infinite.

Meanwhile, no doubt with an eye on Google’s console-bypassing game-streaming service Stadia, Microsoft was also keen to share some news about its rival game-streaming service, Project xCLoud.

Phil Spencer said: “Last fall, we announced our ambition to empower everyone, everywhere to play, by bringing Xbox to the cloud. We will do this in two ways: through Project xCloud and through console streaming. And you’ll have two ways to stream. There’s a new platform feature: console streaming. It turns your Xbox One into your own personal, and free, xCloud server. Whether you’re using a console in our data centre, or your console at home, this October, you’ll be able to use our hybrid gaming cloud to play your games wherever you go.”

Project xCloud will start running this October, initially as a “preview”, according to Microsoft (which is likely to equate to a beta period). After the E3 press conference, Microsoft added: “With console streaming, gamers will have access to their Xbox One game library and Xbox Game Pass titles on the go, streamed directly from an Xbox One console to a mobile device. The Xbox E3 Briefing also marked a new milestone for “Project xCloud,” with E3 2019 attendees being among the first in the world to play Xbox One games like “Halo 5: Guardians” and “Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice” streaming on smartphones and tablets.”

The ability to stream games from your Xbox One to mobile devices should prove popular among gamers who are constantly on the go and, having announced that it is unprecedentedly partnering with previously deadly rival Sony in the game-streaming arena, Microsoft is meeting the threat from Google Stadia head-on.

For all the news arising from Microsoft’s well-received E3 press conference (which notably featured Keanu Reeves introducing CD Projekt Red’s Cyberpunk 2077, head to the company’s website)