Microsoft had a lot of things to say during its Xbox E3 press conference, but one of the biggest announcements came toward the end of the briefing, when the company revealed the first details for its next Xbox console, Scarlett. The system doesn’t have an official name, but the company did confirm that the console will launch in the period of holiday 2020.

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Microsoft says that a new-generation SSD drive is being used as virtual RAM, offering major performance increases over previous generations.


“For us, the console is vital […] to our experience,” said Phil Spencer on stage, doubling down on Microsoft’s recent games-first philosophy with Xbox.

Hundreds of developers across first and third party studios working on next-gen games, including launch title Halo: Infinite.

This new Project Scarlett console will support 8K gaming, framerates of up to 120fps in games, ray-tracing, and variable refresh rate support. Microsoft is also using an SSD on Project Scarlett. “We’ve created a new generation of SSDs. We’re using the SSD as virtual RAM,” says an Xbox spokesperson in an unveiling video. This should boost performance by 40x over the current generation according to Microsoft, and that will mean games load a lot faster.

Sony is also promising that the PS5 will support up to 8K graphics, 3D audio, SSD storage, and backward compatibility with existing PlayStation 4 titles. The PS5 will also use an eight-core CPU based on AMD’s third-gen Ryzen line, and ship with a GPU that supports ray-tracing graphics. Sony is also teasing 4K graphics at a 120Hz refresh rate support.

 Microsoft isn’t showing exactly what Project Scarlett looks like, and the unveiling feels very similar to what the company did with Project Scorpio.