Microsoft’s Xbox chief says no plans for streaming-only console

The future Microsoft console – currently called Project Scarlett, which is scheduled for launch in 2020 – will not be fully dedicated to the game streaming, contrary to what some rumors say.

“We are not working on a streaming-only console right now,” explains Phil Spencer, Microsoft’s gaming chief, in an interview with Gamespot. “We are looking at the phone in your pocket as the destination for you to stream, and the console that we have allows you to play the games locally.”

Spencer refers to the cloud-based gaming service, dubbed xCloud, which Microsoft unveiled in June. It will allow Xbox streaming titles to be played on smartphones and is expected to compete with Stadia, Google’s on-demand video game platform, due to open in November.

For Phil Spencer, xCloud is only a first step towards the future of the video game industry. He does not intend to force the hand of the players to play continuously anytime soon, since the technology has yet to improve.

“I think the cloud will inevitably be part of the video game, but we have more physical devices around us than ever before. […] The world in which devices have disappeared and where everything comes from the cloud is not just the world we live in today,” he added.

Public trials of xCloud should begin in October.

Priority: stability

The Xbox director unveiled further details about Project Scarlett at GameSpot earlier this week. The console, which will be four times more powerful than the Xbox One X, will focus on frame rate and loading times.

Backward compatibility will also be a priority for Microsoft. Phil Spencer says games from all previous generations of Xbox consoles will be playable on Project Scarlett. The Xbox One controllers should also work with the new console.

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