Despite rumors to the contrary, it seems that Xbox Scarlett is the only next-gen console that Microsoft is currently working on.
“Last year we said consoles, and we’ve shipped a console and we’ve now detailed another console. I think that’s plural,” said Xbox’s Phil Spencer in an interview with Business Insider. “Technically that is plural. Right now, we’re focused on Project Scarlett and what we put on stage.”
This topic dates back to some rumors that leaked around this time last year that suggested Microsoft was working on at least two next-gen consoles: the device currently known as Scarlett and another console that would be a digital-only device without a disc drive. The idea at the time was that the digital-only console would emphasize Game Pass and xCloud while offering a budget next-gen alternative.
Now, it seems that the digital-only Xbox that was referred to was the previously revealed Xbox One S All-Digital Edition rather than a next-gen console with that functionality. While it’s always been suggested that Scarlett will be Xbox’s flagship device next generation, it now seems that it’s going to be their only one for the foreseeable future.
While that doesn’t mean that Microsoft won’t eventually release some kind of Scarlett variation (or whatever it ends up being called), it does mean that Microsoft’s current next-gen plans are a little simpler than we thought they might be.
To be honest, this is a somewhat surprising revelation. Microsoft’s current attitude towards the evolving nature of the console and gaming industries (combined with concerns of complacency raised by studios like PlatinumGames), tended to suggest that they may aggressively pursue cloud gaming and subscription services in the next generation by releasing a device without a disc drive. While they may eventually choose to do so, it looks like that won’t happen before Xbox Scarlett’s Holiday 2020 release date.
Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014.