For the past year, the generally accepted sentiment has been two consoles from Microsoft under the Xbox Project Scarlett branding. It’s the story industry sources have touted to journalists, and what division head Phil Spencer told fans at E3 2018.
It now appears Microsoft is shifting its strategy somewhat. Speaking to Business Insider, he said:
“Last year we said consoles, and we’ve shipped a console and we’ve now detailed another console. I think that’s plural,” he said, in reference to the disc-less Xbox and Scarlett. “Technically that is plural. Right now, we’re focused on Project Scarlett and what we put on stage.”
All of this seems to indicate that the company won’t be launching another, more affordable Xbox alongside Scarlett as was initially assumed. The devices were reportedly codenamed Anaconda and Lockhart, with Lockhart acting as a more affordable replacement to the Xbox One S, and Anaconda an Xbox One X upgrade.
According to Thurrott’s Brad Sams, Lockhart has been scrubbed from the roadmap. The assumption, with reference to inside sources, is that devs were struggling to craft games that spanned two systems simultaneously. Digital Foundry has previously agreed with this sentiment, making it a good bet this is the case.
Of course, the big question is that if Microsoft can’t offer a lower spec device, will the price of its next-gen console be competitive with the PS5? The device it described at E3 this year sounded very expensive, and we all saw what happened when the PS4 under-priced Xbox One.
It’s possible Microsoft is planning to lean more on its game streaming service, xCloud, for affordability (which would cut out developing countries) or announce a lower-cost console alongside an Anaconda’s launch in 2019. All we know for sure right now is that fans shouldn’t expect a dual console release.