Microsoft finally announced its next-generation console platform, Project Scarlett, at E3 2019. We know it will come in Holiday 2020 with Halo Infinite as a launch title, but there are still many unanswered questions about the console and the wider thinking behind it. Xbox manager Phil Spencer sat down with Ian Sherr from the GameSpot sister site CNET where he shared new insights into the upcoming platform.
As of Spencer confirmed that Project Scarlett will have a record. He explained that it was important for Microsoft to respect the physical purchases – of games and media – that people have done before. "What we know is physical media for many people is still where their library is," he said. "We are obviously leaning on the compatibility of all our generations in a big way."
The only reason this is news is that Microsoft is experimenting with a completely digital Xbox One S model that has no disc. Of course, some people wondered if the new Project Scarlett will have a record, and now it is confirmed that it does. It has also been confirmed that PlayStation 5 will have a disc.
It is undeniable that digital takes up a larger and larger share of the gaming industry. So for those who no longer use physical media, the all-digital Xbox One S – with lower prices indicating that it lacks a disc – can be an attractive option.
To continue, Spencer replied whether he believes Project Scarlett will be the last console from Microsoft. "Frankly, I don't know. I've been long enough to know that there have been several" this is the last generation. "It's not a new meme coming out," he said.
Spencer pointed out that despite the emergence of streaming music, movies and television, it has not slowed down the acceleration of physical hardware. "The number of calculated units around us has not gone down, it's up," he said.
"Different people will say different things about this, but the truth of the matter is that the best way to play a high-quality video game for years will be with a local unit," he says.
Even in the interview, Spencer said that Microsoft has not yet completed a prize for Project Scarlett. He said there are "still things we work through and cogs and everything" before Microsoft announces a price point.
Spencer also talked about how Microsoft does not necessarily need you to buy Project Scarlett. The real money is made in software and services, Spencer pointed out. So, if you've already invested in the Xbox ecosystem, say if you already own one of the Xbox One consoles, Microsoft is not too concerned about upgrading to Scarlett.
"I really never really need that customer [who already owns an Xbox One] to buy a new hardware, he says. "The business is about software and service development. It is the profitable part of the business; Selling the hardware is not the profitable part of the business."
Microsoft already has Xbox Live, which generates millions of dollars regularly for Microsoft thanks to the monthly subscription price. The company also has Xbox Game Pass, another subscription service that gives players access to a growing catalog of games. This service recently came to PC, while an Ultimate version that gets you Xbox Live Gold and Game Pass was also recently introduced.
"This is a bit why we have backed away from the competition about how many we can sell or announce the sale of as many consoles as possible," Spencer says. "Not what is indispensable, I'm not trying to say it. But the real root of the business is how many customers are involved in your service. How committed are they? And can you keep that number growing? "
It has been reported that Project Scarlett is the name of Microsoft's next-generation console strategy, instead of a single console. The system Microsoft talked about at E3 is reportedly the advanced model, codenamed Anaconda, while a lower version, Lockhart, is probably also in the works. Spencer does not touch this speculation in the interview.
Go to CNET to read the full review.
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