Sat. Oct 1st, 2022
We'd rather use an official image of the console, but we won't have it until Xbox chief Phil Spencer invites us to his home.  And, you know, Ars tech culture editor Sam Machkovech lives down the road in Seattle, so...
enlarge We’d rather use an official image of the console, but we won’t have it until Xbox chief Phil Spencer invites us to his home. And, you know, Ars tech culture editor Sam Machkovech lives down the road in Seattle, so…

A late Wednesday post from Microsoft’s Xbox team leader Phil Spencer confirmed that the first “Project Scarlett” console is officially out in the wild, ahead of its late 2020 launch window, and current Xbox One players already seem unaware of it. already connected.

“And it has begun,” Spencer posted on his Twitter account on Wednesday. “This week I brought home my Project Scarlett console and it has become my primary console. I play my games, connect with the community and yes, I have a lot of fun with my Elite Series 2 controller.”

Without any additional reporting or clarification as of press time, we can only surmise so much from this single statement. But it is indeed thick. First, Spencer confirms a few details he and the Xbox team previously announced about Project Scarlett, the current codename for the unnamed successor to the Xbox One console.

First, the only way Spencer plays games is that connects to the “community” with the existing rate, confirming Xbox’s promise that all existing Xbox One software will play on Scarlett. Whether those games will receive Scarlett-specific upgrades, such as bumps in resolution or frame rate, remains to be seen.

Microsoft has also pledged that all existing accessories for Xbox One will work on Scarlett, which is good news for anyone who bought the $180 Elite Series 2 controller (which Spencer is screaming here) last month. There’s always the possibility Xbox will release some form of upgraded controller, but we suspect the Scarlett console’s default controller will copy the buttons and layout of existing Xbox One pads (which are already on other Xbox controllers- designs seemed).

Most intriguingly, this kit’s connectivity to the standard retail Xbox One environment, as opposed to a sandboxed “dev kit” network, is a sharp turn of the standard Xbox practice. The dev kits of earlier Xbox generations were exclusively connected to private systems, including Xbox 360’s “Partnernet” (which we used to test pre-release software in the heyday of the 360). Does this mean that Scarlett’s specs are closer than we previously suspected? Journalists like Tom Warren of The Verge had argued that Project Scarlett’s specs as recent as this Saturday were “far from final”which could very well be why Xbox went so far as to have Spencer brag about its brand new “primary console.”

Of course, without Spencer’s clarification, there’s no telling whether he’s honestly using an unfinished dev kit whose specs could be changed or improved at any time between now and the system’s “2020 holiday season” launch window.

We’ve already heard that Scarlett will put an emphasis on high-performing games, whether it’s higher resolution (up to 8K), higher frame rates (up to 120 fps), or both. Part of that power equation comes from an emphasis on solid-state hard drive technology, as opposed to spinning-plate drives, along with a jump to next-generation AMD chips in the “Zen 2 and Navi” families. It’s likely AMD’s core tech will resemble what’s coming in next year’s PlayStation 5, which received its own bubbly, spec-filled unveiling in October. That was followed last week by a revealing look at what looks like the official PS5 dev kitwhich has a crazy V shape and a controller that looks a lot like the PS4’s DualShock 4 gamepad.

By akfire1

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