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Next-gen Xbox: 8K graphics, 120fps, SSD & ray-tracing - launching in 2020

10 Jun 2019 | Rasmus Larsen |

At its E3 event, Microsoft unveiled the first details about the next generation Xbox that will support 8K graphics, up to 120fps frame rate, and ray-tracing. The console will also have SSD. It will launch in late 2020.

Next generation Xbox

Microsoft's new game console that will compete head-to-head with Sony's PlayStation 5 is still called Project Scarlett but the company used E3 to announce the first details about its powerhouse.

With Project Scarlett Microsoft will be moving in the same direction as Sony who has been releasing details about its next game console over the last month or so. The next generation Xbox will be "four times more powerful than the Xbox One X". That will, according to Microsoft, make possible 8K graphics and up to 120fps frame rate 4K.

On top of that it will support VRR (variabel refresh rate) meaning that console and TV will be syncronized in real time for a smoother and better game experience. That is useful because the console is unlikely to hit its maximum resolution and frame rate in all game sequences.

- "Project Scarlett will set a new bar for console power, speed and performance, arriving Holiday 2020 alongside Halo Infinite. Powered by a custom-designed processor, leveraging the latest Zen 2 and Radeon RDNA architecture from our partners at AMD, Project Scarlett will deliver a new level of immersion," said Microsoft.

 Microsoft Xbox - Project Scarlett

Microsoft explained that the new Xbox will use a custom-designed processor based on AMD's Zen 2 and Radeon RDNA. It will have GDDR6 RAM and the hard drive will be replaced by SSD, which will dramatically reduce load times. Sony has already demonstrated to what extent SSD can reduce load times on a game console. Microsoft says that its custom SSD solution will even double as virtual RAM. All combined, it is said to reduce load times by 40x.

- "We’ve created a new generation of SSDs. We’re using the SSD as virtual RAM," a company representative said.

The next Xbox will also support ray tracing, which is s technique used to track the path of light in a virtual environment to produce more realistic light reflections. Combined with HDR it has the potential to improve light dynamics in games. Microsoft said that ray tracing will be supported on a hardware level.

Microsoft also spoke about backwards compatibility with "four console generations" but it is not clear if all games will be compatible. Here is what Microsoft said.

- <>"With Project Scarlett, we continue our commitment to compatibility by ensuring your gaming accessories and Xbox career will also move forward with you, along with thousands of games across four console generations which will look and play best on Project Scarlett."

All of these announcements are exciting and it more or less confirms that the console will have HDMI 2.1. To enjoy all of these new video technologies you must also have a 4K or 8K TV with HDMI 2.1 (and VRR). However, there are still many details that have yet to be confirmed, including of course the official name. These details will be unveiled over the next year and a half as we are getting closer to the launch date of the next Xbox.

 Microsoft Xbox - Project Scarlett

Halo Infinite, a new controller & xCloud

One of the launch titles for the next Xbox will be Halo Infinite, which is the next chapter in Microsoft's exclusive game series.

A total of 60 games were included at Microsoft's E3 presentation. Most of them will be available for Xbox One and other consoles but 14 of them were Microsoft exclusives. The company also announced its intention to acquire Double Fine Productions who is working on Psychonauts 2. It was furthermore revealed that Cyberpunk 2077 will star Keanu Reeves and that it will launch in April 2020. It is created by the company that made The Witcher. The top games that were highlighted at the event are included in the table below.

Microsoft introduced a new game controller that will be called 'Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2'. It has been "re-engineered for ultimate performance, customization, and durability, and includes 30 new and improved features such as adjustable-tension thumbsticks, wraparound rubberized grip, shorter hair-trigger locks". The controller has rechargeable batteries that is said to last up to 40 hours on a full charge. It will be available on November 4, 2019, for $180 / Ł160 / €180.

Lastly, Microsoft found time to talk about its game streaming service but without revealing the most important detail; price. The company explained that it will be possible to stream games from the cloud or your own personal Xbox One. All Xbox One games that you own will be supported for streaming. The ambition is to stream games not only to Xbox but also many other types of devices. Users will be able to preview Project xCloud starting in October 2019.

The next generation Xbox will launch in late 2020 in time for the Holiday season. That probably means October or November.

Games unveiled at the 2019 Xbox E3 conference

Age of Empires: Definitive Edition (Windows 10 PC)
Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition celebrates the 20th anniversary of one of the most popular strategy games ever with stunning 4K Ultra HD graphics, a new and fully remastered soundtrack, and brand-new content, The Last Khans, with three new campaigns and four new civilizations. Head online to challenge other players with 35 different civilizations in your quest for world domination throughout the ages. Choose your path to greatness with this definitive remaster to one of the most beloved strategy games of all time. Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition will be released this Fall on Windows 10 PC, available on the Microsoft Store, Steam, and with Xbox Game Pass for PC.

Battletoads (Xbox One)
Battletoads is back! Rare and Dlala Studios are bringing the beloved brawler to Xbox with a unique animation style, wild side-scrolling action, and team-focused gameplay that’s perfect for couch co-op. Players take control of Rash, Zitz and Pimple as they smash, stomp and slam their way through hordes of enemies and unleash choreographed chaos to defeat their greatest enemy yet. Fans can look forward to an all-new adventure packed with wild locations, unforgettable characters and surprising gameplay challenges, all with a huge emphasis on co-operative play.

Blair Witch (Bloober Team, Xbox Game Pass)
From the creative minds behind the critically acclaimed Layers of Fear, experience first-hand the toll that fear can take on the mind in an original story based on the legend of Blair Witch. The upcoming title is a first-person psychological horror game that studies your reactions to danger and stress. Your darkest fears will awaken on August 30, 2019.

Bleeding Edge (Xbox One and Windows 10 PC)
As an all-new game from Ninja Theory, Bleeding Edge offers a one-of-a-kind experience that combines third-person action combat with online team multiplayer. Choose your fighter and join a team of super-charged renegades from the edges of society, executing powerful synergized attacks to become an unstoppable force in the face of your enemies. Freeze foes in time, control minds, ride missiles and unleash electrifying guitar solos in fast-paced yet strategic combat system that rewards technique, timing and teamwork. The game is in development for Xbox One and Windows 10 PC as an Xbox Play Anywhere title.

Borderlands 3 (2K)
The original shooter-looter returns, packing bazillions of guns and an all-new mayhem-fueled adventure! Blast through new worlds and enemies as one of four brand new Vault Hunters – the ultimate treasure-seeking badasses of the Borderlands, each with deep skill trees, abilities, and customization. Play solo or join with friends to take on insane enemies, collect loads of loot, and save your home from the most ruthless cult leaders in the galaxy.

CrossfireX (First to Console on Xbox One; Xbox Game Pass)
Crossfire, a free-to-play first-person shooter and one of the most-played PC games in the world with 650 million players LTD, announced that it will come to console for the first time on Xbox One in 2020 as CrossfireX, with all-new content for console players. Developed by the team at Smilegate Entertainment in Seoul, South Korea, Xbox players can look forward to a platform of rich experiences including a single player campaign developed in partnership with Remedy Entertainment, battle royale, competitive multiplayer, and unique content for Xbox Game Pass members.

Cyberpunk 2077 (CD Projekt Red)
An open-world, action-adventure story set in Night City, a megalopolis obsessed with power, glamour, and body modification. You play as V, a mercenary outlaw going after a one-of-a-kind implant that is the key to immortality. You can customize your character’s cyberware, skillset, and playstyle and explore a vast city where the choices you make shape the story and the world around you.

Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot (Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc.)
Relive the story of Goku in Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot! Beyond the epic battles, experience life in the Dragon Ball Z world as you fight, fish, eat, and train with Goku. Explore the new areas and adventures as you advance through the story and form powerful bonds with other heroes from the Dragon Ball Z universe.

Dying Light 2 (TechLand)
The last great human settlement exists within an unforgiving, zombie infested world, plunged into the dark ages. During the day bandits, factions, and starving survivors roam the streets scavenging for scraps – or someone to take them from. At night, the infected roam free, evacuating their hideouts to prey on the living. Exceptional agility and brutal combat skills make you a powerful ally and a valuable commodity. You can achieve things no one else can. Enter places no one else dares. With your unique abilities you have the power to be an agent of change within this decaying metropolis.

Elden Ring (Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc.)
Developed by FromSoftware, Inc. and Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc., Elden Ring is a fantasy action-RPG adventure set within a world created by Hidetaka Miyazaki – creator of the influential Dark Souls video game series; and writer George R.R. Martin – author of The New York Times best-selling fantasy series, “A Song of Ice and Fire.” Danger and discovery lurk around every corner in FromSoftware’s largest game to-date.

Forza Horizon 4 LEGO Speed Champions Expansion (Xbox One and Windows 10 PC)
Forza Horizon 4 LEGO Speed Champions, the newest expansion for the award-winning Forza Horizon 4, invites you to experience the ultimate LEGO Speed Champions fantasy brought to life at the Horizon Festival. Explore a LEGO-themed world, discover LEGO Brick Challenges such as building a Master Builder’s house as your Brick Collection grows, and collect and race amazing new LEGO Speed Champions cars, including the McLaren Senna, Ferrari F40 Competizione, and the 1967 Mini Cooper S Rally. Forza Horizon 4 LEGO Speed Champions will launch worldwide on Xbox One and Windows 10 PC on June 13, 2019, as an Xbox Play Anywhere expansion and be available at a 10% discount for Xbox Game Pass members.

Gears 5 (Xbox One and Windows 10 PC, Steam)
Gears 5 features five thrilling modes, including Escape, an aggressive, high-stakes, three-player co-op mode featuring a suicide squad that must work together to take out enemy hives from within. Gears 5 will release on September 10, 2019, and will be available in early access for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate Plan members and Gears 5 Ultimate Edition owners on September 6. Pre-order or play with Xbox Game Pass by September 16, 2019 to get The Terminator Dark Fate Character Pack, which adds the Terminator T-800 Endoskeleton and Sarah Connor from the upcoming film “Terminator Dark Fate” as playable multiplayer characters.

Gears POP! (iOS, Android)
Gears POP! brings together iconic Gears characters in a cute Funko Pop! style. The game is being developed in partnership with Funko and inspired by the Gears of War vinyl collectible figures. It’s the perfect slice of mobile mayhem. Fans can look for more information about Gears POP! on @gearspop and can preorder on iOS and Android ahead of launch later this summer.

Halo Infinite (Project Scarlett, Xbox One, and Windows 10 PP)
The Master Chief returns in 2020 when Halo Infinite releases globally with Project Scarlett. This next chapter in 343 Industries’ legendary Halo franchise invites players to join the venerable Master Chief on an all-new adventure as he uncovers the mysteries surrounding the appearance of The Pilot and the desolate remains of a Halo ring. Halo Infinite is powered by the studio’s next-generation Slipspace Engine.

LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga (Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment)
Play through all nine Star Wars saga films in a brand-new LEGO video game unlike any other. Players will experience fun-filled adventures, whimsical humor, and the freedom to fully immerse themselves in the LEGO Star Wars universe like never before. With hundreds of characters and vehicles from across the galaxy, players can dive into their favorite Star Wars moments in an all new way, complete with the hilarious LEGO brand of fun that’s sure to delight players of all ages.

Microsoft Flight Simulator (Xbox One And Windows 10 PC)
The next generation of our longest-running franchise, Microsoft Flight Simulator is coming to Windows 10 with Xbox Game Pass in 2020, and coming to Xbox One at a later date. Microsoft Flight Simulator is specifically designed to celebrate flight simulation fans through a focus on the authenticity of flying and visually stunning environments. By revamping our tech, working in close collaboration with the community and pursuing the best partnerships across the industry, we intend to deliver the best-in-class flight simulation experience.

Minecraft Dungeons (Xbox One and Windows 10 PC, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation 4)
An all-new action-adventure game set in the Minecraft universe coming to Xbox One, Windows 10 PC, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation 4! Created in the classic dungeon crawler style, Minecraft Dungeons takes players on an epic quest full of new characters and environments to discover with single player or in co-op multiplayer for up to four players — including couch co-op on Xbox One. Minecraft Dungeons will also be available with Xbox Game Pass the same day of its global release in spring 2020.

Ori and the Will of The Wisps (Xbox One and Windows 10 PC, Steam)
Ori and the Will of the Wisps is the highly anticipated sequel to Ori and the Blind Forest, the acclaimed action platformer with more than 50 awards and nominations, and will be released February 11, 2020. Brought to you by Xbox Game Studios and Moon Studios, the game will be available to buy on Xbox One, Windows 10 PC, and Steam and premiere with Xbox Game Pass for PC and Console. At E3 we showed off new, never-before-seen gameplay and provided a deeper look at the game’s intense all-new combat system with Ori fighting the different towering bosses in the game’s vast and exotic world.

Phantasy Star Online 2 (Sega)
Japan’s greatest F2P online RPG comes to North America for the first time on Xbox One! Phantasy Star Online 2 strives for bringing a never-ending quest. Randomized fields, Interrupt Events, and Multiparty Areas where up to 12 players can play together never make your quest stale and keep it always fresh and surprising. While keeping the easy character control system of the series, more stylish and customizable combat actions are enabled for ideal heroes of players that are given life for the quest through the revolutionized character creation system that brings ultimate designability.

RPG Time: The Legend of Wright (Deskworks)
School’s out! Meet in an empty classroom for a grand adventure with a young aspiring game developer and his very own RPG. You’re sure to be dazzled by his hand-drawn creations as you journey into the surprising and magical world of imagination! Forget about homework! Come play RPG Time: The Legend of Wright.

Sea of Thieves (Xbox One and Windows 10 PC)
Sea of Thieves continues to grow and evolve with the on-demand competition of The Arena and story-driven quests of Tall Tales, all included as a part of the free Anniversary Update, the game’s biggest content update to date. As we teased at E3, players on Xbox One, Windows 10 PC and Xbox Game Pass can expect more ways to play and new shared world storytelling coming to the game in the future.

Spiritfarer (Thunder Lotus, Xbox Game Pass)
Creators of hand-drawn indie experiences Thunder Lotus return with their unique third production: “Spiritfarer,” a cozy management game about dying. You play Stella, ferrymaster to the deceased. Build a boat to explore the world, care for your spirit friends, and finally release them into the afterlife. Farm, mine, fish, harvest, cook, and craft your way across mystical seas, as you learn how to say goodbye to your cherished friends.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (Electronic Arts)
Order 66 has been executed. As a young Padawan on the run, you’ve long kept your abilities hidden to stay alive. Now, you must embrace them. In a brand-new gameplay trailer debuted at the Xbox E3 Briefing, see how you will use the Force to explore your environment, master lightsaber combat, and remain one step ahead of the Empire.

State of Decay 2: Heartland (Xbox One and Windows 10 PC)
State of Decay 2: Heartland features a return to Trumbull Valley in a new story-based adventure. Once the iconic site of the original State of Decay game, the towns of Spencer’s Mill and Marshall are now overrun with an advanced form of blood plague: a more aggressive and far deadlier version than exists anywhere else. Though it may be familiar territory to those who homesteaded here years ago, Trumbull Valley is packed with new dangers — and unspeakable horrors. Heartland launches for all State of Decay 2 players on June 9, 2019, for $9.99 on Xbox One and Windows 10 PC, and is included with Xbox Game Pass.

Tales of Arise (Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc.)
The Tales of series returns with Tales of Arise, a story driven RPG following the journey of two people, born on opposing sister planets, each looking to change their fate and create a new future. Featuring a new cast of characters, intense action based combat and classic Tales of gameplay mechanics, experience a tale of duality, justice and the fight for freedom.

The Outer Worlds (Obsidian Entertainment and Private Division, Xbox Game Pass)
Lost in transit while on a colonist ship bound for the furthest edge of the galaxy, you awake decades later than you expected only to find yourself in the midst of a deep conspiracy threatening to destroy the Halcyon colony. As you explore the furthest reaches of space and encounter a host of factions all vying for power, who you decide to become will determine the fate of everyone in Halcyon. In the corporate equation for the colony, you are the unplanned variable.

Twelve Minutes (Annapurna Interactive)
A romantic evening takes a wrong turn when a police detective breaks into your home, accuses your wife of murder, and knocks you unconscious. In a heartbeat, you are immediately returned to the start of the evening before it all happens again and again. A real-time, interactive thriller, where you will need to use the knowledge of what’s about to happen, to change the outcome and break the twelve-minutes loop.

Wasteland 3 (Deep Silver, Xbox Game Pass)
Wasteland 3 is a post-apocalyptic RPG from inXile entertainment, set in the perpetual nuclear winter of the Colorado Nation. Players will face challenging tactical combat, explore an interactive world, and engage in a deep story full of brutal ethical decisions. Create and customize a squad in single player or co-op, and whether you go in guns blazing or try to smooth over a situation through peaceful negotiation, your choices will mean life or death for those trying to survive in this harsh and unforgiving world.

Way to the Woods (One Pixel Dog)
A Deer and Fawn must embark on a journey through an abandoned world of the unknown to get home. A third person adventure game solo developed by Anthony Tan, featuring music from Aivi&Surasshu, composers for the show Steven Universe. Unravel the mystery of Cat Town, evade a hounding pack of wolves, and find your light to explore a world filled with the relics of the old gods: humanity.
- Source: Microsoft Xbox

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