Gaming

Project Scarlett announced as the Xbox Series X

Microsoft has used The Game Awards to not only release trailers for a few upcoming games but also provide the first look at their upcoming console. Previously known as Project Scarlett, the Xbox Series X takes some design cues from the Xbox One X but with a form factor that makes me think of two Gamecubes stacked on top of each other. This is something that’s wanting to stand up and not hide inside a TV unit.

The trailer itself doesn’t give a whole lot away apart from the how it looks and that the new controller sports a new share button and an updated direction pad but that’s probably all it needs to do until the launch date gets closer. Committing to backward compatibility again (and with Xbox One controllers too) already means that the console will be an easy transition for existing Xbox owners which is a good start. There’s a little more detail in the official announcement on Xbox Wire which mentions some of the technologies that will try to optimize the experience for players; some of those features related to reducing latency could almost be looked at as a counter to game streaming by ensuring that particular issue will be minimal or nonexistent if you have the console in your home.

A potential showcase of what is to come may have been in the form of the announcement trailer for Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II, Ninja Theory’s sequel to their award winning game from 2017 that would later become a very popular demonstration game on my Xbox One X too. Judging from the trailer it’s going to another hellish experience for players backed up with the same production values that made the original game worth playing.

After being mostly quiet for a long time while details of the PlayStation 5 trickled out this seems like Microsoft’s first true follow up since E3 in the next round of the console arms race. A couple of things came to mind after the information came out:

  • The naming I think still leaves the door open to a lower cost model “Xbox Series S”.
  • The lighting on the top of the console made me think of a voice assistant. The integrations with Google and Amazon assistants are now built into Xbox.
  • The top of the console is probably ventilation so are we going to be dealing with one big fan in that thing?

Still more details to come over the next few months and it’ll be interesting to see how the new consoles compare in terms of hardware and services so it’s hard to draw many conclusions form this. But I suppose it’s at least giving me enough time to try and figure out how I’m going to fit that in/on/around my TV unit…

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