‘Xbox 2’ coming in time for Christmas 2020

MICROSOFT has revealed that its all-new console will be coming out next year, and like the next PlayStation is loaded with tech to make games bigger and shinier – and make loading times a thing of the past.

It doesn’t have an official name yet – for now, Microsoft are still using the development code-name Project Scarlett.

Xbox chief Phil Spencer on-stage revealing the first public details about the next Xbox console
AP:Associated Press

Microsoft gave fans the first information about the new console at E3, the year’s biggest video games show in Los Angeles.

As with the next PlayStation, it’s going to use super speedy ‘solid state’ storage to drastically reduce or even totally eliminate loading times.

This means your games should start up almost instantly, and there won’t be lengthy pauses between scenes, or when moving from one part of a game’s world to another.

It’s going to be able to play older games too, with Microsoft making big promises about backwards compatibility.

“Thousands of games across four console generations will look and play best on Project Scarlett,” they say, referring to the original Xbox, the Xbox 360, the Xbox One and the new console.

Microsoft gave gamers a brief glimpse at the heart of the new Xbox during the presentation

The third area where they matched Sony is the chips at the console’s heart – the brains of Project Scarlett is the same AMD Navi technology at the heart of Sony’s next console.

It’s not quite identical to the PlayStation chips, as both are custom-made for the companies in question.

AMD promised Sony’s “special sauce” was built into their chips, while Microsoft describe the core of their new box is a “custom-designed AMD processor”.

Xbox boss Phil Spencer also revealed that processor would have hardware dedicated to ray-tracing.

Ray-tracing is a new technology just making it into the most expensive gaming PCs that makes lighting and sound incredibly realistic by calculating the exact path of each ray of light or sound wave through transparent objects and off reflective surfaces.

This gives you much more realistic lighting and reflections as well as much more natural looking materials and objects.

Sony has confirmed the next PlayStation will have something similar, but hasn’t revealed if the console will have hardware specifically dedicated to it.

The hour-and-forty-minute show featured a huge catalogue of games and ways to play them

Another trick snatched from PlayStation’s sleeve is personal game streaming.

Soon, you’ll be able to stream games from your Xbox One to other devices using a new app, and this feature will be found in the next Xbox too.

PlayStations have had the similar ‘Remote Play’ feature for years, though it was only just made available for iPhones and other Apple devices for the first time.

Unlike cloud streaming technology, this just lets you use your own console to play the game in question, then stream it to another device.

Finally, Microsoft also revealed that Halo: Infinite, which is first revealed at the same briefing last year, is going to launch with the new Xbox.

The latest chapter in the story of Master Chief will release alongside Project Scarlett devices in time for “Holidays 2020”, meaning around mid-November.

Microsoft’s briefing also revealed a new Lego Star Wars game, telling the story of all nine films in the main series.

Keanu Reeves dropped by to let fans know he was starring in next year’s Cyberpunk 2077, and that the game would be available in April.

Elsewhere around E3, EA has revealed more details of its new Star Wars game, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, and has admitted that it’s not going to be bringing the real Fifa 20 for Nintendo Switch.

Much more gaming news is expected over the coming days.

Monday brings briefings from Nintendo, Ubisoft, Square Enix and more before the show kicks off in earnest.


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