Rumors about a cheaper Project Scarlett console continue to ebb and flow as insiders now tell Kotaku a lower-powered next-gen system is still in the cards.
Kotaku’s report, readable in full here, likens the relationship between the flagship Scarlett console and the rumored cheaper system, codenamed Lockhart, to that of the Xbox One X and the Xbox One S of the current generation.
One source says the lower-powered system would be roughly in line with the current PlayStation 4 Pro, though with solid-state storage and a faster CPU. Reports suggest the system is planned as a digital-only console and would be angled heavily as a complement to Xbox’s digital subscriptions like Xbox Game Pass and Project xCloud, whispers that roughly line up with earlier rumors about Xbox’s dual console launch.
Developers would, according to a source speaking to Kotaku, be required to develop with both power variations in mind, potentially dampening the jump between console generations, though the concept of a lower-powered next-gen console has the benefit of making the Project Scarlett generation more accessible, price-wise.
The rumor that Project Scarlett would debut as a family of consoles rather than one lone machine had been circulating long before Xbox announced the next-gen entry at E3 last year. That announcement however mentioned only one console and shortly after publications like that of tech journalist Paul Thurrott began to note that Xbox had, for one reason or another, decided to focus its attention on the more powerful of the proposed duo, then code-named Anaconda.
Part of that decision, sources told Thurrott at the time, was due to the fact that developers were having “a harder time than expected” creating for the next generation of consoles when juggling varying system specs. Another comment from earlier this year suggests that Xbox’s game streaming service, Project xCloud, rendered the concept of a cheaper next-gen system unnecessary.
Kotaku’s latest reporting cites four sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans that say Lockhart is still in the works, though specifics on when it will see the light of day or what price a cheaper next-gen entry will offer remain unknown.