Monday , June 24 2019
Home / Technology / Microsoft details ‘Project Scarlett’ Xbox, cloud streaming service

Microsoft details ‘Project Scarlett’ Xbox, cloud streaming service

Scarlett will continue to support Xbox games from previous generations, meaning it will play “thousands of games across four generations”, and it’s also designed to facilitate multiplayer games with other gaming platforms and those streaming games from the cloud.

“Project Scarlett is the foundation of our future in consoles, and the formation of our future in cloud”, said Microsoft’s Phil Spencer, head of Xbox. To distance the new console’s launch from the problematic reveal of the original Xbox One, and its focus on multimedia, Spencer added: “Consoles should be designed, built and optimised for one thing and one thing only: gaming.”

Spencer also announced that its game streaming system, xCloud, would launch in October. Using Microsoft’s Azure servers, gamers will be able to play Xbox One games on “any device” with an internet connection. Details of launch countries and pricing was not announced.

A new Xbox One console feature will allow players to turn their own console into an xCloud server, and connect to it remotely to play their games, for free. This, presumably, would come with the downside of needing a very robust home internet connection to power it.

The “largest showcase of games this year”

Microsoft’s two-hour conference featured 60 games, and it was a diverse showing. Fourteen of the games came from Microsoft’s own Xbox Games Studios, which was bolstered last year with the acquisition of several development houses. Ninja Theory debuted a 4v4 online melee fighting game called Bleeding Edge, Mojang showed off blocky dungeon crawler Minecraft Dungeons, Obsidian’s Fallout-like Outer Worlds got an October 2019 release date and the newly-acquired¬†Double Fine had new footage for old-school 3D adventure game Psychonauts 2.

There was also a new in-engine trailer for Halo Infinite, which appears to be something of a reset in tone for Xbox’s premier series. A lone engineer is stuck on a powered down transport ship in space, dwelling on his lost loved ones, when he discovers the armoured body of Master Chief floating outside. Once he powers the Chief up, and explains that the nearby Halo ring has been destroyed and the UNSC has “lost”, an unknown enemy attacks and the Spartan gears up for a new fight.

It was revealed that Halo Infinite will be released alongside the next generation Xbox in 2020.

But Microsoft’s marquee game for the remainder of this year is Gears 5, which will launch in September. At the briefing, a new three-player co-operative mode called Escape was revealed, where players can design punishing levels for teams of other players to overcome.

Also shown was the painterly, exploratory platformer Ori and the Will of the Wisps, now slated for a 2020 release, an imminent Lego-themed expansion for Forza Horizon 4 and a new version of Rare’s classic brawler Battletoads. Third party games revealed at the briefing for the very first time included a Blair Witch game from the team behind Layers of Fear, a collaboration between From Software and George RR Martin called Elden Ring, a new Lego Star Wars game that takes in all nine main films, and the latest in the Tales RPG series Tales of Arise.

EA’s Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order also had some new footage shown, and actor Keanu Reeves made an appearance on stage to rapturous applause after it was revealed he would be playing a character in CD Projekt Red’s Cyberpunk 2077, which is releasing next year.

There were also several independent games shown as part of the ID@Xbox program. Microsoft said that, along with all Xbox Games Studios games, all ID@Xbox games would be available as part of its Game Pass subscription service from the day they launch.

Expanding Game Pass to PC

Spencer said repeatedly that he wanted Xbox games to be available wherever gamers wanted to play them, and while that’s certainly a nod to xCloud its also a reference to players who prefer PC over consoles. Many of the Xbox Games Studios titles at the briefing are coming to computers as well as Xbox consoles, and Microsoft announced that a version of its subscription service was launching in beta today.

The service is planned to include more than 100 games by August this year, which you can access by paying a monthly fee. Game Pass Ultimate, which includes Game Pass for Xbox One and the online service Xbox Live Gold, now also includes Game Pass for PC, but remains $15.95 per month in Australia.

Games specifically mentioned as part of Game Pass on PC include Football Manager 2019, Imperator: Rome and Metro Exodus. The PC version of the Halo Master Chief Collection will also be included.

Microsoft appealed further to PC fans by showing off some games that are very much designed for mouse and keyboard, including a new Flight Simulator powered by AI and satellite imagery, and a “definitive edition” of the classic Age of Empires II.

The author travelled to Los Angeles as a guest of Microsoft

Tim is the editor of The Age and Sydney Morning Herald technology sections.

Most Viewed in Technology

Loading

About admin

Check Also

Mi Mix 3 is a truly all-screen phone with a slidey secret

Elsewhere there’s a dedicated Google Assistant button and standard round fingerprint scanner, but apart from …