While the next Xbox codenamed Xbox Scarlett doesn’t have a concrete release date yet, Xbox head Phil Spencer gave us an idea of what we can expect in terms of specifications. This time around, there’s a focus on 60fps gameplay and backwards compatibility with Xbox One peripherals like controllers.
“I think the area that we really want to focus on next generation is frame rate and playability of the games,” Spencer said in an interview with Gamespot. “Ensuring that the games load incredibly fast, ensuring that the game is running at the highest frame rate possible. We’re also the Windows company, so we see the work that goes on [for] PC and the work that developers are doing. People love 60 frames-per-second games, so getting games to run at 4K 60 [fps] I think will be a real design goal for us.”
“The thing that’s interesting is, this generation, we’ve really focused on 4K visuals and how we bring both movies through 4K Blu-ray and video streaming, and with Xbox One X allowing games to run at 4K visuals will make really strong visual enhancements next generation. But playability is probably the bigger focus for us this generation. How fast do [games] load? Do I feel like I can get into the game as fast as possible and while it’s playing? How does it feel? Does this game both look and feel like no other game that I’ve seen? That’s our target.”
Furthermore, the company is looking to continue with its efforts in terms of backwards compatibility, extending it to controllers as well.
“We really like the reception and the use that we’ve seen through the [Xbox One backwards compatibility] program. Making sure that all four generations of content–so the original Xbox games that run on your Xbox One today, the OG Xbox; the 360 games that run on your Xbox One; your Xbox One games; and the new generation games–all run on the next platform is important to us. We want to respect the games that you’ve bought from us. We want to make sure that the generations can play with each other, so if you happen to adopt the next generation early and somebody stays back, that if their games are on both platforms, you’ll be able to cross-gen play.”
“Another thing that will be a little bit new for us is the fact that we want to also respect the compatibility of the controllers that you already have. This generation, we came out with the Elite controller, we’ve done work on controllers and people have invested in personalized controllers, the things that they love and we want to make those compatible with future generations of our console as well. So really, the things that you’ve bought from us, whether the games or the controllers that you’re using, we want to make sure those are future compatible with the highest fidelity version of our console, which at that time will obviously be the one we’ve just launched.”
In a previous interview, Spencer stated that mainstream adoption of game streaming would take longer than some anticipate.
“I think this is years away from being a mainstream way people play,” he said. “And I mean years, like years and years.”
He then pointed to the time taken by Netflix to make strides versus conventional TV viewing methods.
“Let’s take Netflix, which is 20 years old,” he said. “I think we forget that sometimes because tech moves so fast. It’s 20 years old at this point, so it took two decades for us to get to the point where shows like Game of Thrones and House of Cards are some of the biggest shows [on] the planet and mainly watched via streaming. I think game streaming will get there faster than 20 years, but it’s not going to be two years. This is a technological change. While it seems like it happens overnight, it doesn’t.”
Furthermore, he believes, consoles aren’t going away. Project xCloud exists to give gamers choice in the near term.
“We are looking at the phone in your pocket as the destination for you to stream,” he said, “and the console that we have allows you to play the games locally.”