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Xbox Scarlett will 'compete in the right ways' with PlayStation 5 says Phil Spencer

Project Scarlett
Project Scarlett (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Project Scarlett is Microsoft's upcoming next-generation console.
  • It launches in Holiday 2020 and will be competitive with the PlayStation 5.
  • Microsoft doesn't want to make the same mistakes it did with the Xbox One launch.
  • Additionally, Spencer said Project xCloud wouldn't come to Stadia because it's a closed platform.

Project Scarlett is Microsoft's upcoming Xbox console, and it's going to focus on 4K resolution or 120 frames per second gameplay. While we don't know the exact specifications of the device, we do know that it's coming in Holiday 2020. In an interview with The Verge, Xbox's Phil Spencer provided more details about what he hopes the console will be.

An excerpt from Spencer can be read below.

I would say a learning from the Xbox One generation is we will not be out of position on power or price. If you remember the beginning of this generation we were a hundred dollars more expensive and yes, we were less powerful. And we started Project Scarlett with this leadership team in place with a goal of having market success... We had the discussion years ago 'do we want to go do another generation?' Yes, and do we think there will be multiple generations ahead of us? I actually think there probably is. So we're going all in. We're all-in on Project Scarlett and I want to compete, and I want to compete in the right ways which is why we're focused on cross-play and backward compatibility.

It seems like Microsoft learned its lesson from the disastrous Xbox One launch. The company has to offer a powerful console at an affordable price point.

The Verge also asked Spencer if Project xCloud, the company's game streaming service, would ever be available on Google Stadia. Spencer said that he wants the "full" Xbox experience there, not just games. You can read another excerpt from Spencer below.

So do we want that Xbox experience to be available in other places? Yeah, we're doing xCloud and other things, but it would have to be a full experience. It's hard to think about those things on platforms that are... more closed than the at scale open platforms of phones and PCs that are out there today.

There you have it, the only way Stadia would support Project xCloud would be if it allowed the "Game Streaming" app available on Android phones. This is probably not going to happen because the two companies are in direct competition with one another when it comes to cloud gaming.

What do you want to see from Project Scarlett and Project xCloud in the future? Let us know.

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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.

  • I think Xbox has always been ahead of the curve at launch. And because of this it has hurt them because the majority of gamers are... not trying to offend but, not very bright. They are followers. So one popular media group says something bad about Xbox and everyone follows. I was onboard with Xbox One being a hundred more than PS4 and having the Kinect and being mostly digital and controlling my TV and and and. But the consumer killed it with their loud old ways of thinking. Look at us now in hindsight, we wish Xbox was everything they said they were going to be, before PS4 poked fun and the media ran with it and made everyone think Xbox was doing it wrong. I'm a gamer, I have all the consoles and think Xbox was on the right track then and hope they can correct course with the new console. We are of the age of streaming, something Xbox envisioned years ago.
  • Except most people were bright enough to realize the Kinect had very little in-game usage. Sure the Kinect was great for sideline features (TV on/off, TV volume, Snap To feature, etc), but Kinect was pitched as a sideline feature peripheral AND an in-game peripheral. On the former, it succeeded. But on the latter if failed. And people didn't want to spend $100 for something that had little to no in-game usage.
  • I like the Kinect games. I wish more people would have given them a chance. Again they brought something ahead of its time. And every remote has voice command now. And everyone is getting an Echo or similar device.
  • The only dumb followers are company fanboys who follow and support a company no matter what they did.
    Just because you like kinect it doesn't mean majority of people wanted it. Your opinion isn't the right or wrong. It's just an opinion.
    Millions of people bought the XB1 at launch. That's potentially millions of kinect owners. Yet MS hardly ever made any kinect games. Can you try to guess why? Do you think they would not invest in games if majority of people actually wanted kinect??
  • The OP does have a point, people now look at things that don't have voice or camera assistants as having a negative hit. I have said before that I think this will eventually translate to functions on a console as well. Hell, even I want some kind of Windows Hello function in the next system. Fingerprint on the controller would be great. I think Linect would have been a great thing if they wouldn't have tried to charge more because of it. Unfortunately it has always suffered since they handicapped it after they released it from the Project Natal stages. Even though the XB1 one was more powerful, the Dev support already suffered.
  • I'm not sure about this. I mean how many current gamers (console/PC) want to have voice commands?
    XB1 had kinect and even PS4 started the gen with it's own voice command. we've had stuff like kinect for PC. I really don't think a large percentage gamers wanted it. MS, Sony have that data. If there was a huge demand I would think they would still be supporting it...
    About other features like fingerprint on controllers. Again I don't think a lot of gamers would want these features if it means increase the cost of console.
  • But I did start the comment talking about features without added cost. Of course if features cost more people will complain about them and they may not sell to the masses. Maybe the average single gamer doesn't care about system security, but those of us with children who need an easy way to lock down and log in for purchases and parental controls do. I would even be willing to spend an extra 30 dollars for a controller with that option if that's what needed to happen. I'm not sure when gamers will care about voice functions on systems, but I'm sure the average person that uses their system as a media device already does. This is the reason that even cable boxes have voice remotes now, people are just inherently lazy. I still think that eventually just about everything will have it and the things that don't (and really shouldn't need it anyway) will be looked upon as lacking. Kind of like the current XB1 media remote now. Hell, I'm making this argument and I don't even use these functions, I even have Alex's microphone disabled on my Ecobee.
  • For me, the one series of games that benefited the most from voice and motion was the Forza and Horizon series. I actually hate not being able to navigate with voice in Forza Horizon now, because it was a feature that matched what I can do now in a car (albeit, with access to more things game related). And the head tracking when going around corners was a really nice touch as well, it added incredible layers of immersion. Also Alien Isolation, that game nailed it. I think what is important, and what I don't think a lot of developers really bothered with, was that Kinect, or whatever, are fantastic when they complement gameplay, rather than take over. For instance in a squad based shooter, being able to give orders to your team verbally not only feels more realistic, it also frees up buttons on the controller for other functions (obviously this would be a case of remapping, as you would always need the option to use buttons in instances where talking isn't viable). To be honest, with the advances in things like smart speakers and their ability to receive audio inputs, there is no reason why voice control couldn't be baked into a controller.
  • Translation: The Scarlet will be completely smashed by the PS5 in all the ways that actually matter. And there's no point playing the snowflake, "WCGamingTweets".
    When push comes to shove, Microsoft will still not address the two main reasons why the PlayStation will ALWAYS beat the Xbox. And those are: 1 - Exclusive games. Microsoft simply keeps relying on their 18462th instalment of Halo and Forza. 2 - And most importantly: international push. Sony doesn't discriminate markets like Microsoft does. There's little to nothing that they make "Japan Only". If the PlayStation launches something, it launches in Japan, across Europe (and not just 4 or 5 European countries) and in the Americas. Microsoft on the other hand has a plethora of "US only" Xbox stuff, from services to accessories. And do you know what happens when you alienate more than half the World? You flop. So there. You can close your eyes all you want, pretend the Scarlet is amazing and will rule the next generation war just because "specs!", but when push comes to shove, it won't. And it won't because Microsoft will continue to be Microsoft and disregard the world outside their own backyard. And believe it or not, consumers normally don't like that.
  • PlayStation did take a massive lead out of the gates, but Xbox has been outselling PlayStation every month for a few years now. Xbox will never catch up by the time new consoles come out, but if they weren't coming out next year it would be a different story. Agreed Xbox needs to do better over seas, but I'm not seeing the customers changing anytime soon no matter what Xbox does. As far as games, they've got it down now. I play lots of games on all systems and Xbox has no problem on this front.
  • Outselling? Where? Not outside the US, mate. And that's exactly my point.
    Microsoft might think US sales are great. But developers don't care. They're not catering to 1 country. They're aiming at 195.
    As long as Microsoft only focus in 1 country (or 5) out of 195, Sony will continue to get the Spidermans, Gods of War and all of that. Because partnerships with them are more profitable than with Xbox.
  • @DouttJ
    Outselling what???
    Can you show me your source please? If you don't see a problem it doesn't mean others also don't. There are facts that cannot be denied. XB1 has WAY less exclusives, console exclusives, AAA exclusives, indie exclusives...
  • I have to agree with Guest. The Xbox One has never outsold PS4. It has won a couple of months or quarters on occasion. But I'm sure there was a reason for it. And PS4 went straight back to normal the very next month/quater. The One X has outsold the PS4 Pro. But as whole the PS4 has always outsold the Xbox One.
  • 'The One X has outsold the PS4 Pro.'
    The only place I saw that was according to a game analyst it outsold in the US. I've not seen anything not worldwide.
  • I believe you are hunter sent wrong especially when it comes to the exclusives because marsof has invested in so many studios and have so many exclusives coming out. Just because they're also going to be on the PC doesn't mean they're not exclusive they're not going to the PS4. So in fact there is gooses to the Microsoft platform which is in concive of Xbox console and PC. Also Xbox is done pretty well in Europe Canada and several other countries. Ugly both consoles going to have very similar specs and it's all going to come down optimizations. But with what Xbox is doing with xcloud and game pass they will beat PlayStation this coming generation.
  • Uh... What?
    The only thing I understood was "Xbox has done well in Europe". Which is factually wrong.
  • Its pretty far fetched to take from all of that to mean the ps5 will smash the new Xbox. No one from Sony is making claims against it, so why would Microsoft come out and make claims against Sony? You're still stuck in the old console wars of the past. Seeing things you can use as mud to throw around. At the moment, it seems like the two consoles will be powerful. Which has more, well that's to be determined. How about we cut of toxic stuff and just wait to see both consoles and game lineups. You make some good points about what MS needs to do. I'm glad to see Phil say they are actively looking for more teams, especially from Asian regions. I think their additions so far have been strong and we will see more than forza, halo, and gears as headlining games for the next gen. Regardless of how they do against the ps5, I'm pretty confident they will do much better then this gen.
  • @DJCBS
    Yes agree. Even yesterday in London, it looks like they were talking to an US audience. The prices were in $, and not $, £ or €.
  • Agreed on second statement. Being an Xbox user out of MS "regions" is a headacke. Same happens with mostly all MS Services. As example in Costa Rica (central América) there's a MS corporate building, but no retail stores, neither customer services to support their products.
  • I do kind of agree, but I don't think it's fair to judge MS on possible future games (or lack there of) yet after buying so many studios recently. They do seem to be attempting to address the problem. Hell, there isn't even a Forza coming. Now if they totally fail on games in the next three years, nail them. They deserve it.
  • PS is about as dominating as McDonald's in the restaurant industry.... Yeah it's a winning behemoth but it has nothing high standard and classy PS is the fast food, of the video game industry... Keep leading with that junk i'll stick with everything else but them like I did since before them.... And I keep doing until they actually do quality over quantity....
  • Uh, what? That makes no sense whatsoever.
  • So go put your money down on a PS5.
    Nobody is forcing you to buy an Xbox Scarlett, in fact, if you hate MS stuff so much, why are even commenting on Windows Central?
    Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.
  • This same guy said they were done with generations when he was trying to sell the Scorpio and now here he talks once again of new generation. In 2013, this same guy and his fanboys were downplaying power. People were telling them all along but they were stubborn and Spencer was right in the middle of it. But if he thinks that price and power are the only thing that matter then I think he is getting it wrong once again. The price of the XB1 was quickly dropped once they removed kinect, but the XB1 never came back and kept getting outsold year after year. Things didn't change even with the "world's most powerful console".
    Making games for your platform is also important and last generation they were pathetic there. I hope compete the "right way" also means compete with Sony when it comes to a high quantity of quality exclusives.
    It's one thing to sell powerful machines, MS also needs to make games that take advantage of that power.
  • Actually I read something today which seems like you were right in that other thread we were talking about this very point. I said I couldn't see Xbox One having much involvement when next Gen arrived due to Zen 2 processor. But it seems MS is planning on supporting Xbox One alongside Scarlett for many years. Here is the article that would seem I was wrong. "We feel confident about our content pipeline so that we feel we don't need to save everything up for that beat," said Booty. "But what I'll also say is that today, when you launch a new device you are not eliminating all of the devices in that family to date. If I make a game for the iPhone, when the iPhone X comes out I can't just write it for the iPhone X and pretend as if the 9, 8, 7 and 6 don't exist. When Scarlett launches, there will still be the Xbox One S and Xbox One X out there. We really need to approach that family of devices in the same way that we approach PC, where the content scales to meet the device. That's going to be the case for anybody. It's not like, if we roll back the clock 15 years, when a new device was out and people wanted you to take your old device and just put it in the closet. We will absolutely lean in on the power of Scarlett. We think it's going to be the best way to play and it'll be the best thing to put in your living room. But we also want to understand that there will be a family of Xbox devices out there that we want to make sure we support fully."
  • Yes, they have already said similar things in the past. And that's why I wouldn't compare the PS5 and Scarlett.
    Scarlett is just a more powerful XB1, the PS5 is a proper new generation.
    While PS5 will have proper exclusives, Scarlett will get XB games. All PS4 owners will need to get a PS5 to play Sony's new gen games.
    XB1 or PC owners don't need to buy a Scarlett to play MS's new games. What I think is while they'll probably have similar power and features, what could make the difference is exclusives. Exclusive games that will make people buy a system.
  • I would argue that Microsoft are taking the better stance on that front. The generational leap isn't going to be as huge as previous instances and there is no reason why PS5 games couldn't be optimised to also work on the PS4 Pro. It's literally how PC gaming works, and these consoles are just closed system computers now.
  • Scarlett isn't really a more powerful XB1. For starters Scarlett is using a CPU 3 gens above Jaguar. And the GPU of Navi is 2 gens above as well. Not to mention GDDR6 ram. And the dedicated Processor for Ray Tracing confirmed by Rod Ferguson. It's absolutely a new generation. But what MS seem to be doing is in the devkit software. MS devkit has only just got to developers. 8 months after PS5s. Which would suggest MS not only finalized their hardware later, but had more to do with their devkits. I would wager the new devkits sent out make scaling the game down to One X so much easier. Sony, Nintendo and MS make next to no money at all on console sales. It's ganes and services that make the money. And I would think MS are very happy for people to use Gamepass on One X just as much as use Gamepass on Scarlett. Difference is Scarlett games are going to look far far superior to One X games. The hardware alone says they will be vastly superior.
  • And I'm going to buy both systems (although, I may not buy the Scarlett if the One X does run all the new games and there isn't something unique to the new system that would make my gaming life better) because I think it's stupid to deprive myself of quality games on either side of the fence over a make believe rivalry that doesn't actually mean anything.
  • I normally do. I had PS3 and have a PS4. This time though Ive decided I'm going to build a state of the art Navi Ryzen Gaming PC. Around about £700 all up. That's a PC as capable as an RTX 2070 PC. AMD so much better on performance to cost. And performance to power. It's all because of Gamepass PC.
    If that didn't exist I probably would have waited. But I'm absolutely going Xbox Scarlett with a gaming PC next Gen. Gamepass made that decision very very easy for me. If Sony diversified outside of 3rd person action games like they used to, it would be a tougher choice. But as it is, it's been made very easy for me. I'm way more excited to play Age Of Empires 4 than I am TLOU2.