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Xbox Scarlett will be just as powerful and affordable as the PS5

Published Nov 15th, 2019 7:31AM EST
Xbox Scarlett Specs
Image: Microsoft

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The PlayStation 5 isn’t the only new console expected to launch in holiday season 2020, but Sony’s gaming rig has certainly made the news more often than Project Scarlett in recent weeks. Microsoft, however, wants customers to know it has learned its lessons from the Xbox One launch and won’t repeat them again. Xbox Scarlett will be just as powerful as the PS5, and just as affordable.

Microsoft Xbox and gaming chief Phil Spencer confirmed as much in an interview with The Verge:

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.

Spencer also noted that Microsoft will probably make plenty of Xbox versions after Project Scarlett, but the next Xbox will be very competitive:

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.

We’ve already known that the next Xbox and the PS5 will feature the same set of specs, as both consoles will rock custom AMD silicon, based on Zen 2 and Radeon RDNA architectures. So performance is bound to be similar — Xbox Scarlett will support 8K gaming, up to 120fps, ray tracing, and variable refresh rates. The Verge notes that the new Xbox will also feature SSD storage, just like the PS5 — and Sony, of course, made a big deal out of it in recent months.

As for backward compatibility, Sony also said the PS5 will support games made for previous PlayStation systems, but it’s yet to clarify how it’ll all work.

When it comes to pricing, Sony is yet to make any announcements, but the company hinted that the PS5 might be more affordable than expected. After all, Sony does want as many PS4 owners to be tempted by a fast upgrade to PS5.

Spencer didn’t address the Project Scarlett’s cost either, and he didn’t confirm whether Microsoft will launch one or two Xbox Scarlett versions next year. He did say that Microsoft “will talk about the SKY lineup and how it works.” The exec also said the company doesn’t want to confuse people when asked about the Xbox lineup for next fall. Microsoft currently sells different Xbox One S and Xbox One X versions, and the addition of Project Scarlett might cause some confusion, indeed.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.