If the last couple of years have witnessed an escalation in competitive tension between the gaming giants of Sony and Microsoft, it was earlier this year, at E3, that the battle lines were truly drawn. For the first time, after what felt like endless speculation, both the people behind the Xbox and the Playstation confirmed their intentions to bring about the next generation of consoles, promising gaming experiences unlike anything we've experienced thus far.
Up until E3, the concept of a brand new Playstation or Xbox console seemed so far away. But now we're little more than a year away from both hitting store shelves, and before we know it, our PS4/Xbox Ones will be rendered obsolete.
Here's what we know so far about Xbox's Project Scarlett — the codename for the flagship console set to take Microsoft into a new era of gaming.
When is the new Xbox coming out?
At E3, Microsoft became the first company to put a semi-firm release date on their new console, announcing that 'Project Scarlett' would be hitting market in the holiday period of 2020.
What features will the new Xbox Have?
After a period of relative silence from their main competitors at Microsoft, the people behind Xbox have now taken to E3 2019 to announce that they're hot on the heels of their Japanese arch-rivals as well.
In perhaps the most important announcement of E3 2019 so far Microsoft announced that the next-generation Xbox, codenamed 'Project Scarlett' for now, is due over the Christmas period next year, and like the PS5, it'll harness the power of a solid state drive and new, ultra-fast AMD hardware to deliver 8K gaming at a mind-boggling 120FPS on TVs that allow it.
Like the Ps5, it'll also have next-gen, hardware accelerated ray tracing, which basically means a far more accurate and realistic rendition of how light travels in real-life.
Which games are coming to new Xbox?
"A console should be built and optimized for one thing and one thing only: Gaming," Xbox head Phil Spencer said during the company's presentation, shortly before announcing that the long-awaited sequel in the Halo franchise will be releasing as a launch title for the console.
Spencer has also since confirmed that the next-gen Xbox will get unprecedented backwards compatibility, offering players not only the chance to play Xbox, Xbox 360 and Xbox One games on the new platform, but also use old wireless controllers as well.
"Making sure that all four generations of content — so the original Xbox games that run on your Xbox One today, the OG Xbox; the 360 games that run on your Xbox One; your Xbox One games; and the new generation games — all run on the next platform is important to us," he said.
How much will Project Scarlett cost?
Right now, pricing details about the new Xbox is far from clear. Microsoft are known for releasing their consoles at a higher price point than sony, with the Xbox One debuting for $100 more than the PS5 at the two's initial release.
This has lead many to speculate that Project Scarlett may exceed the PS5's reported $500 release cost, but some have countered by saying that Microsoft's pivot towards game streaming may reduce the storage and memory requirements on the new console, potentially bringing the cost down with it. Time will tell.