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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.

Related: Best USB webcams

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 ...

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Jez Corden is a Senior Editor for 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 caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

17 Comments
  • At 60 fps, 2 frames is 33ms. So... worse than Kinect!
  • You're getting confused 😕 between seconds & milliseconds.
  • No he isn't, he is pointing out that this camera, if it actually has 2 frames of latency, has a 33ms latency (which is the conversion from the frame rate at 60fps to milliseconds), which is significantly higher than the reference to the Kinect.
  • Don't do this Microsoft or at least have the option of buying the console without this camera bundled.
  • We all know now that with or without it the pricing would have been the same at launch it was a sunken cost for MS especially in bundles... Gamers have been major tards on XBO launch not only what they were ******** about is happening anyway and is the future of gaming whether they like it or not and everything a cross the board is moving in the same direction than MS envisioned back then... But at the end it's better than being stuck up in the past for many things... I know I still would have loved to have had the original plan for XBO and I know for sure I'd be better of today... Than having to wait an other 1 or 2 generation to be exactly where we were suppose to be a decade ago... If only Sony could die... They've been a plague for gaming evolution since they got Sega out of the race... Everything Nintendo and MS attempt is killed by their stale mcdonaldization of the gaming industry they've been feeding us with....
  • Exactly, if we had the original XB1 then we could have 5 person game sharing among other things. People were so ignorant that they didn't realise that the Xbox would be better for physical discs as the original plan was to allow gamesharing from physical discs as well. We would have had way better gamesharing if people weren't panicking about not being able to give a disc to a friend which they don't do anyway
  • knowing Nadella this kinect3 will come separately and work on xbox, PlayStation, switch, ios, android, tesla, mac and windows
  • And would that be a bad thing?
  • He is not implying it would be bad. More like folks seem to think at a low level and now a camera tied to xbox must mean kinetic. Which must also mean they are going to bundle a camera with the console. Even though they haven't done that in years. Nadella or any logical person looking at the webcam market in 2019 must see the obvious room to bring a more capable camera than logitech has.
  • what I want to know is where is the link for this snapchat for pc. I did a search couldn't find it. I did look at there website. saw something for ar. but nothing specificaly seaming to be marketed at streaming. link please.
  • You mean Snap Camera.
  • I thought the kinect was amazing. I do wish they never liked it.
  • I miss kinect so much.... Using a pad as input lethod for so many thing is so old-school and dated... But gamers are probably one of the most backward thinking tech enthusiasts there is... It's saddening sometimes...
  • Have you tried using an Amazon Echo? It's not a one to one replacement but I've been very happy with it. With the added bonus of it being a useful smarthome device and not the size of a large Toblerone
  • I miss the attachable controller keyboard. It was convenient and did not interfere with the usability of the controller during gameplay. But, I think most gamers only care about the tech that is practicle to the gaming experience and how well companies can demonstrate the tech as being a must have. If it doesn't enhance the experience, most people will skip it.
  • So to me all i see is the webcam market these obvious room to innovate and capture market share. I bet the gaming division is developing it but i have no doubt they'd sell it to anyone with a usb 3.0 connection. Folks act like microsoft doesn't have a mediocre 50 dollar webcam available now. This is a low hanging fruit that as a market has room for major improvement for streamers.
  • It's a rumour that started on a forum. The same rumour said MS new Xbox wasn't using hardware ray Tracing and instead was using software Ray Tracing. And they also said that PS5 was using hardware ray Tracing. We know that's all completely wrong as well. MS Confirmed 3 times now they are doing hardware ray Tracing. False rumour.