After dominating E3 2016 and 2017 with the Xbox One S and Xbox One X, Microsoft's 2018 event was a console-free show. However, Xbox chief Phil Spencer did hint the company is working on its next-gen Xbox One follow up. I wrote about Xbox Scarlett back in June and now it seems Microsoft is aiming to beat Sony's next PlayStation to the market.
Analyst Michael Pachter of Wedbush Securities believes Microsoft will push to release before the PS5. “I'm sure Microsoft intends to launch first, and I am equally certain that the new Xbox will be backwards compatible with any Xbox One X software,” Pachter said in a conversation with GamingBolt.
It is unclear why Microsoft wants to beat Sony to the 9th generation console market. The most obvious answer is the company wants to get a sales head start on its rival. Sony's PS4 has comfortably beaten Xbox One in terms of sales through the 9th generation.
The interesting fact is both the PS4 and Xbox One launched in November. Microsoft's launch strategy was the problem, not Sony having a head start. This obviously means the company would need a smooth transition from Xbox One to Xbox Scarlett to make even a year-long gap meaningful in long-term sales.
The Xbox One X Problem
As I wrote in June, there is certainly a concern that consumers who bought the Xbox One X last year will feel slighted by a 2020 launch of Xbox Scarlett. Microsoft has rightly billed the X as the world's most powerful console. That is the reason gamers have bought it, but will they want to drop another $500 to upgrade after just two years?
It is a worry shared by Pachter:
“I agree that it's hard for Xbox One X purchasers, but they should know 4 years into a cycle that there is another one coming. My guess is that Microsoft intends to launch in 2020, but if they think Sony is going [to launch the PS5] then, they will launch early.”
It is worth remembering that an analyst is simply offering an opinion. Yes, that opinion is based on research and watching market trends, but it can still be wrong. That said, Xbox Scarlett arriving in 2020 does seem very likely.