Microsoft’s head of Xbox and gaming, Phil Spencer, debunked rumors that a streaming-only console is in the works while saying that he believes traditional consoles are not yet on the brink of being replaced by cloud-based systems.
Spencer officially announced Project Scarlett at E3 2018, confirming that Microsoft is already working on the next-generation system. He later confirmed that there was only one version in development, dispelling reports that a second, less-powerful console will be released.
However, rumors surfaced that Microsoft is also working on a streaming-only Xbox, which would take advantage of its Project xCloud game streaming technology. According to Thurrott’s Brad Sams, the console may be priced lower than $100 and will be sold as a cheaper option for mainstream gamers who do not want to purchase the premium-priced Project Scarlett.
In an interview with GameSpot, Spencer laid the rumors to rest.
“We are not working on a streaming-only console right now,” said Spencer, adding that Microsoft’s plan is to use smartphones as a streaming destination, while the upcoming Project Scarlett console will be for playing games locally.
Spencer said that Project xCloud, and other services that will enable cloud gaming, is “one of the directions the industry is headed,” but points out the various computing devices within reach of gamers.
“The world where compute devices are gone and it’s all coming from the cloud just isn’t the world that we live in today,” according to Spencer. Utilizing the cloud will still require devices, but for now, Microsoft is apparently not working on an Xbox console that will focus solely on taking advantage of the technology.
Project xCloud will use the hardware of Microsoft’s Azure datacenters to render gaming experiences remotely, then stream them to devices. No price has been revealed for the service, but public trials are set to start in October.
Meanwhile, Project Scarlett is planned to roll out in the holiday season of 2020, with backward compatibility with all previous generations and Halo Infinite confirmed as a launch title. Microsoft has not yet released the price tag of the highly anticipated console, but it is expected to cost about $400.