At E3 this year, Microsoft finally talked about its next-generation console, currently only known as Project Scarlett. The company is promising up to 8K resolutions and up to 120 fps gaming for the console. But while upping the visuals was a major focus for the Xbox One X, Microsoft's head of gaming, Phil Spencer, explained that the overall experience and smoother gameplay will be the major focus for the next console.
The comments were made as part of an interview with Gamespot, where Spencer remarked,
"I think the area that we really want to focus on next generation is frame rate and playability of the games. Ensuring that the games load incredibly fast, ensuring that the game is running at the highest frame rate possible.
"The thing that's interesting is, this generation, we've really focused on 4K visuals and how we bring both movies through 4K Blu-ray and video streaming, and with Xbox One X allowing games to run at 4K visuals will make really strong visual enhancements next generation. But playability is probably the bigger focus for us this generation. How fast do [games] load? Do I feel like I can get into the game as fast as possible and while it's playing? How does it feel? Does this game both look and feel like no other game that I've seen? That's our target."
Spencer also referred to Microsoft's pedigree as "the Windows company" and talked about looking at PC gaming as an inspiration for deciding what to focus on with the next generation of its gaming console. "So we see the work that goes on [for] PC and the work that developers are doing. 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," he said.
Project Scarlett - as well as Sony's PS5 - will be the first generation of consoles that feature pure SSD internal storage, and that will certainly go a long way in improving things like load times in games.
And, of course, backward compatibility has been Xbox's distinguishing feature in this generation and Spencer reiterated his promise to enable Scarlett owners the ability to access all four generations of Xbox games on the console. Moreover, he talked about also respecting compatibility with respect to the controllers gamers already own, so you won't need to go out and buy a new controller alongside the new console. That'll certainly be handy if you've spent time customising your controller or have spent a bunch on a high-end controller like Microsoft's Elite Controller.
"So really, the things that you've bought from us, whether the games or the controllers that you're using, we want to make sure those are future compatible with the highest fidelity version of our console, which at that time will obviously be the one we've just launched." he concluded.
The exact technical specifications of the console are not known at this time, though we do know it will feature an AMD chip, have an SSD for storage and is slated for launch in the Holiday 2020 season, with Halo Infinite among the launch titles for the console.