Xbox Scarlett vs. PlayStation 5: Microsoft wants Scarlett to be 'the most powerful console'

What you need to know

  • Microsoft recently revealed "Project Scarlett," it's next-generation console.
  • It's unclear how it compares to the PlayStation 5 at the moment.
  • The company wants it to be "where games play best" according to Xbox's Mike Ybarra.
  • Xbox's Jason Ronald said that it would offer "the best possible versions of... games."

Updated June 16, 2019: In a recent video interview between Xbox Game Studios head Matt Booty and Bloomberg, Booty said that he believes Xbox Scarlett "will absolutely be the most powerful, immersive console on the market."

"Project Scarlett" is Microsoft's upcoming console which is set to launch in Holiday 2020. During its E3 2019 Briefing, the company said that the device would be capable of 8K resolution and 120 frames per second (FPS). Unfortunately, other than that, not much information was revealed. While we'll probably have to wait until E3 2020 to get exact specifications, that hasn't stopped fans from wondering if it's going to be more powerful than the PlayStation 5 (PS5).

One of the main reasons why the Xbox One had a difficult time earlier this generation was because it was weaker than the PlayStation 4. Games ran at 900p compared to 1080p, and sometimes featured a 30 FPS cap. With the Xbox One X, Microsoft managed to turn the tables and even bested the PlayStation 4 Pro as it featured 6 teraflops of computing power. While we can't compare exactly GPU compute units at the moment, Microsoft does want us to know that Project Scarlett is "where games play best" compared to the PS5.

Our very own Jez Corden managed to interview Microsoft's Gaming Corporate Vice President Mike Ybarra and Partner Director of Program Management Jason Ronald to find out more about the company's vision for the future of gaming across Xbox, Project xCloud, and PC. The following excerpt discusses the conversation about Project Scarlett.

I asked Ybarra and Ronald how important it is for the next Xbox, Scarlett, to be more powerful than the PlayStation 5, which is also reportedly monstrous in its capabilities. Ronald talked about how Scarlett has been built to eliminate bottlenecks as much as possible, in terms of visuals and frame rates, noting that they hope Scarlett can produce the best possible versions of their games. 'As we look across the entire design of the system, everything from the SOC (system-on-chip), to the memory that we have to the SSD that we've put in there. It's really about eliminating all those bottlenecks, so those game developers can really deliver on their visions, to try and enable developers to make the best possible versions of their games.' To round off, Ybarra noted that being able to say 'where games play best' is something very important to the team... 'I will say that we're very confident in what we're building, something that will set a new bar for expectations of console gaming.'

This is the first time since Sunday that an Xbox executive has said Project Scarlett will be the best place to play games. Beforehand, they were using phrases like "most immersive experience." Hopefully we'll learn more details about the upcoming console soon so that we can confirm this.

According to an analysis by Digital Foundry, it seems like hardware-accelerated ray tracing, which greatly improves lighting, will be the defining feature of the console. To do this, Microsoft probably needs a separate chip because AMD currently does not support this on PC. Even the PS5 reveal didn't say hardware-accelerated ray tracing was a capability of the system. We should know more about both devices in 2020.

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Asher Madan

Asher Madan handles gaming news for Windows Central. Before joining Windows Central in 2017, Asher worked for a number of different gaming outlets. He has a background in medical science and is passionate about all forms of entertainment, cooking, and antiquing.