While the Xbox One X takes the crown as the most powerful video game console on the market, Microsoft is looking forward to what comes next. An upcoming Xbox device codenamed "Anaconda" looks to be the next major iteration of the console, with interesting details already beginning to surface.

Xbox Anaconda hardware will 'set the benchmark'

Could there be multiple Xbox One consoles on the horizon?

In 2017, we reported on an unannounced Xbox product in development, bearing the codename "Scarlett." Fast forward to E3 2018, and Xbox head Phil Spencer wrapped up its annual press conference with a teaser for what lies ahead. Reiterating the company's commitment to industry-leading hardware, Spencer confirmed its hardware team is "deep into architecting the next Xbox consoles." Boasting its "commitment to set the benchmark for console gaming," this lays the foundations for the rumored project.

Reports indicate Xbox Scarlett is a family of devices broken into several tiers, rather than a single console. This family reportedly features two next-generation Xbox consoles, tailored to different gaming audiences. It currently includes a rumored Xbox One X successor codenamed Xbox Anaconda, paired with a lower-cost Xbox One S follow-up named "Xbox Lockhart."

Xbox Anaconda looks to be Microsoft's next cutting-edge enthusiast console, with top-tier hardware and graphical capabilities. After shifting from PowerPC architecture to AMD x86-based processors, Microsoft will stick with similar hardware to maintain compatibility. AMD CEO Dr. Lisa Su previously discussed ongoing efforts to help deliver Microsoft's next Xbox "secret sauce," indicating its partnership is still underway.

As seen in past Xbox consoles, we expect a new AMD graphics processing unit (GPU) to be used. The Xbox team was sourcing an electrical engineer specialized in GDDR6 according to a career listing, indicating it plans to use this faster, more efficient graphics memory going forward. This signals a substantial GPU upgrade is on the way, with an accompanying central processing unit (CPU) boost assumed. Further backed by a report from Brad Sams, AMD's Zen 2 CPU architecture and next-generation GPU technology are likely candidates.

However, despite clear investments from Microsoft, stay weary that Anaconda isn't set in stone. Internal plans can (and often) change, if Microsoft doesn't see it as a suitable addition to the Xbox lineup.

Xbox Anaconda forward compatibility, improved graphics, and game streaming

No need to worry – Xbox Anaconda should support your existing games and apps.

Microsoft has previously suggested an end to console generations, instead focusing its resources on Xbox One revisions going forward. The Xbox One X was an exemplary execution of this concept, delivering a significant mid-generation hardware upgrade while maintaining compatibility with the existing library. Like the incremental smartphone model, such an approach allows Microsoft to introduce new hardware to a single platform.

Leveraging the same universal Windows 10 kernel, Xbox Anaconda should further build on the foundations of Xbox One. While this console generation first saw countless features missing from the Xbox 360, we expect Xbox Anaconda to maintain harmony with previous games, apps, and features.

If hardware upgrades are on the way, we can also assume enhanced graphical capabilities. While the Xbox One was marketed as a "true 4K" console, many games still fail to deliver in tandem with a high frame rate. With 4K steadily becoming a standard in gaming, we expect Xbox Anaconda games to more regularly hit this resolution at 60 frames per second (FPS) without comprising as many graphical features. Although 8K (7,680 pixels x 4,320 pixels) at 60Hz is achievable under the revised HDMI 2.1 standard, don't expect this in gaming anytime soon.

Other newly-added future-facing features like 120Hz support, variable refresh rates (VRR), and auto low latency mode (ALLM) could have a greater presence on Xbox Anaconda, too.

Could Xbox game streaming make its debut in tandem with Xbox Anaconda?

Microsoft's commitment to deliver "console-quality games streaming" also likely ties into the Xbox Scarlett vision, via its newly-unveiled technology, Project xCloud. Packing custom Xbox consoles stripped-down into server blades, the firm is building a dedicated backbone for remote cloud gaming across the globe. Following the success of its subscription-based Xbox Game Pass, this will further expand the availability of full-fledged experiences to PCs, tablets, and phones. Spencer previously indicated a public launch by 2020, and Xbox Anaconda could complement this.

So what about that long-promised virtual reality (VR)? Ahead of the Xbox One X launch, Microsoft discussed plans to bring VR to the console. While VR was the hot industry trend at that time, talk of the technology on Xbox has since dwindled. Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, Microsoft Chief Marketing Officer Mike Nichols stated the team doesn't have "any plans specific to Xbox consoles in virtual reality or mixed reality." At least for now, Xbox VR isn't looking likely.

Xbox Anaconda games and apps

Microsoft took five new studios under its wing at E3, establishing a strong future for Xbox.

With only a brief mention of new consoles from Microsoft, it's unclear which titles are targeting the system. Many upcoming Xbox One games will likely be playable on the consoles regardless of formal support, as a result of forward compatibility. Among these should be Halo Infinite, Gears 5, and upcoming Forza games – which could all get upgrades, too.

Microsoft added five new game development studios to its portfolio in June, with two more just months later, doubling down on its commitment to top-tier first-party games. Among these is "The Initiative," a new studio based in Santa Monica, Calif., alongside Playground Games, Undead Labs, Compulsion Games, and Ninja Theory. Projects like Playground Games' rumored Fable title and other creations of these studios will likely make an arrival on Xbox Anaconda. Third-party developers are also investing in the future, with Bethesda already claiming that Starfield and The Elder Scrolls VI are targeting next-generation systems.

Xbox Anaconda release date and pricing

Microsoft has yet to confirm a launch window for the next Xbox consoles, though multiple reports indicate the team is targeting 2020. This would position Anaconda three years after the launch of Xbox One X. If true, there may be talk of Xbox Anaconda at E3 2019.

As always, take this rumors of Xbox Anaconda lightly until an official announcement from Microsoft. There's also currently no indication of price, but we should see different price points between different devices under the Scarlett family.

Your thoughts on Xbox Anaconda

We'll continue to update this article with new information as it becomes available. What are you most looking forward to from Xbox Anaconda? Let us know in the comments.

Updated January 24, 2019: We refreshed this article with the latest details on the next flagship Xbox.

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