Report: Xbox 'Project Scarlett' may have some kind of streamer-camera accessory on steroids (Update)

Xbox Kinect
Xbox Kinect (Image credit: Windows Central)

Update October 2 2019: A Microsoft spokesperson gave comments to Gizmodo, denying that any sort of camera technology is in development for Scarlett: "A Microsoft spokesman denied any camera technology is in development and that none has been delivered to developers in any form." Indeed, we haven't been able to find any additional sourcing on this rumor, and Microsoft rarely offers flat-out denials. Chances are Gizmodo may have got this one wrong. Who knows? The original article appears below.

According to a new report from tech outlet Gizmodo, Microsoft's upcoming Xbox dubbed "Project Scarlett" may include some kind of webcam on steroids, if the report is to be believed.

This isn't another Kinect, however. Although it would no doubt use some of the tech Microsoft pioneered with the sadly deceased peripheral. Instead, this is reportedly some kind of webcam on steroids, aimed at enhancing video game streams. The report alleges that both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Scarlett are attempting to lure streamers to their platforms, with big bets on high-quality webcam technology.

Microsoft's camera is allegedly capable of 4K resolution with just a two-frame latency between what is recorded and what appears on a stream. (The current Microsoft Kinect camera gets about 8ms to 10ms of latency.) The tipster claims Microsoft is showing off the capabilities of the camera using a Snapchat-like demo that changes with the in-game lighting.

Microsoft and Sony both are leaders in different fields of camera technology, and with the rise of Twitch, YouTube, Mixer, and other forms of content creation, bringing professional-grade production tools to each company's respective platforms seems like an obvious move for next-gen consoles.

Today, the Xbox One can use any USB webcam, but the featureset is extremely limited. On PC, Snapchat offers its famous face filters for use by streamers to make streams more engaging and interesting. If Microsoft is exploring similar types of technology, it's not a leap to imagine it leveraging Xbox avatars as virtualized on-screen characters, like Apple animoji on steroids.

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We're digging into these rumors to see if we can get some additional sourcing on Gizmodo's report, but the site is well-known for producing accurate information on this sort of thing. And it makes sense, given Microsoft's investment in Mixer. I just imagine they'll position it a little bit better than 2013's ill-fated Kinect ...



Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden is a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by tea. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his XB2 Podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!