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The next Xbox will have a major feature the PS5 can’t match

Published Nov 20th, 2019 6:50AM EST
Xbox Scarlett vs. PS5
Image: Microsoft

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Most console rumors out there focus on Sony’s upcoming PlayStation 5 device, but gamers shouldn’t forget that Microsoft is also working on a very similar device. Called Project Scarlett for the time being, the console is going to rock exactly the same hardware as the PS5. That’s because both Microsoft and Sony will source custom chips from AMD. When it comes to price, Xbox Scarlett should be just as affordable as the PS5, Microsoft’s Phil Spencer said recently, without divulging any pricing secrets. And we already know that Sony wants to price the PS5 right, so the cost won’t hinder adoption. In the past few months, we learned that Sony might be working on an impressive PS5 feature that might not have an Xbox equivalent, and now we’ll tell you about a confirmed Xbox Scarlett feature that you won’t get on the PS5.

Backward compatibility is a must-have feature for both gaming consoles, and Microsoft seems to have an edge when it comes to that — Sony did say it’s working on that for the PS5 as well. But Microsoft is also developing an even more useful feature, one that Sony can’t replicate with ease.

The same Xbox exec told Stevivor at XO19 that Xbox Scarlett will support Xbox Play Anywhere.

What that means is you’ll be able to play some Xbox games on Xbox One, PC, and Xbox Scarlett without losing any progress or achievements.

“Our goal for our first-party games is that your entitlements will be cross-generation and your Achievements will move effectively with your save game because that’s where they stand,” the exec said.

The crucial detail here is PC gaming integration with the Xbox universe. Windows 10 is the operating system that powers most PC gaming, and that’s why Microsoft has this significant advantage over Sony.

That said, this huge Xbox Scarlett feature might not be noticeable initially, and it might take some time for some gamers to discover it. Halo Infinite will be the first game to run on all three devices. Similarly, Gears 5 and Sea of Thieves will also work on PC, Xbox One, and Scarlett.

More games will likely come with Xbox Play Anywhere support in the future, as Microsoft is very aware it made a huge mistake with the previous Xbox transition by not supporting the feature.

“[Xbox] 360 to One shouldn’t have been [two self-contained silos] either,” Spencer said. “We talked about how important digital was going to be this generation, and yet we didn’t move the digital purchases that you’d made on 360 seamlessly over to Xbox One. I always thought that was a miss.”

However, while games developed by Microsoft’s studios can ship with Xbox Play Anywhere support built-in, it’s up to third-party developers to add it to their own creations. Spencer said he hoped others will also support the feature.

While Spencer talked about the Xbox Scarlett at length in the past few days, Microsoft is yet to tell us what the console is called or show its design.

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.

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