Kotaku: Cheaper, Disc-less, Xbox Scarlett Still in the Works

Sources: Microsoft is Still Planning a Cheaper, Disc-Less Next-Gen Xbox

In June, Microsoft announced Project Scarlett, a new iteration of the Xbox that the company said would “set a new bar for console power, speed and performance.” What Microsoft didn’t say is that it is also working on a lower-cost, disc-less version of Scarlett, code-named Lockhart, according to four people briefed on the company’s plans.

If those names sound familiar, that’s because they’ve been floating around for a while. The earliest rumors about Microsoft’s next-gen roadmap, circa 2018, suggested that Project Scarlett would consist of two Xbox models: the high-performance Anaconda and the lower-end Lockhart. In June, however, Microsoft announced that Scarlett was a single, high-end console, which led to speculation and then press reports that Lockhart had been canceled. But Kotaku has learned that Lockhart is in fact still in the works as a cheaper, digital-only alternative to Scarlett, as the original rumors suggested.

What we don’t know—and what likely isn’t finalized yet—is how the pricing will shake out. But it’s easiest to think of Anaconda as a successor to the Xbox One X and Lockhart as a successor to the Xbox One S, with a similar performance disparity. Game developers will be expected to support both Anaconda and Lockhart, which some are worried might hamper their ambitions for next-gen games in the coming years.

When speaking to Kotaku, one game developer briefed on Lockhart analogized it to the PlayStation 4 Pro in terms of raw graphical power, although there are other key differences that might make up for that. Lockhart is said to have a solid-state drive, like both Anaconda and Sony’s upcoming PlayStation 5, which is expected to have a significant impact on loading times. Developers briefed on Lockhart also say it has a faster CPU than any current video game console, which could allow for higher frame-rates, although there are other factors that might not become clear until the console is completely finalized, such as clock speed and cooling.

Microsoft’s ideal target performances are said to be 4K resolution and 60 frames-per-second on Anaconda and 1440p resolution and 60 frames-per-second on Lockhart. (That doesn’t mean that every single game on these consoles will live up to that performance—it’s the target that Microsoft is pushing developers to hit.)

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