Earlier this week, we finally got an (unofficial) ETA for the next generation of consoles from Microsoft. Supposedly a family of devices and not just a single console, 'Scarlett' is still two years away from release but Microsoft already has an idea of what improvements it's aiming for.
Executive President of Gaming at Microsoft, Phil Spencer teased the new console(s) by suggesting that the company is looking at improving frame rates on consoles to bring parity between them and PCs. However, the added horsepower that results from adding more powerful hardware is often used by developers for creating more ambitious games or improving their graphical fidelity, so it remains to be seen whether Microsoft's advances would be enough to both foster innovation and yield a minimum 60 fps on even the most demanding games of the next generation.
“I think framerate is an area where consoles can do more. Just in general. When you look at the balance between CPU and GPU in today’s consoles they’re a little bit out of whack relative to what’s on the PC side. So I think there’s work that we can do there.
I’m always wishing games would start quicker. We’re as guilty as anybody … one game I’m playing a ton of, State of Decay, it says ‘Ready to Start’ and I get to [sit at the title screen] and install the rest of the game.”
Another gripe he hopes to fix is improving start times, so that players no longer have to wait as long between their purchase of a game and actually being able to play it. That may, indeed, become a moot point in the future with Microsoft's plans for making game streaming a thing soon. The company is also making use of AI and machine learning to boost start times with a technology called FastStart, aimed at improving the time needed to start playing by a factor of two.