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Microsoft planning second next-gen Xbox that’s cheaper and less powerful

Microsoft planning second next-gen Xbox that’s cheaper and less powerful

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Project Scarlett isn’t just a single console

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Photo by James Bareham / The Verge

Microsoft is currently planning to launch two next-generation Xbox consoles for holiday 2020. Sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans tell The Verge that Microsoft is planning a second, cheaper and less powerful Xbox console, codenamed “Lockhart.” While Microsoft has revealed its Xbox Project Scarlett high-end plans, the company did not mention its two-console strategy at E3 earlier this year. Windows Central originally reported Lockhart’s existence nearly a year ago, and Kotaku now reports it’s part of Microsoft’s next-gen plans.

Microsoft is essentially launching two next-gen consoles that will serve as successors to the Xbox One S and Xbox One X. Lockhart will debut without a disc drive, much like the Xbox One All-Digital Edition, and Microsoft is tweaking the console’s hardware so it’s less powerful than the main Project Scarlett console, codenamed “Anaconda.”

We understand that Microsoft has been seeking feedback from developers on its next-gen Xbox plans in recent months, and we initially heard the company had scrapped its Lockhart plans ahead of E3. Microsoft still hasn’t finalized its next-gen Xbox hardware specs, but we understand Lockhart will now be part of the holiday 2020 launch.

Microsoft’s Anaconda console will be the true next-gen leap, and sources tell The Verge that Microsoft is targeting more than 10 teraflops of graphical power on this particular console. Plans for Lockhart may change, but currently this console will debut with around 4 teraflops of graphical power.

Kotaku reports that Lockhart will include a solid state drive, and will be targeted toward 1440p gaming rather than the 4K gaming that will be available on Anaconda. We understand both Anaconda and Lockhart will share familiar next-gen hardware. Sources say that Lockhart will get a next-gen CPU, but that it will be clocked slower than what’s available on Anaconda. This should mean developers can take advantage of the SSD and CPU upgrades that are planned for Anaconda in games that span across both next-gen Xbox consoles.

It’s not clear yet how Microsoft will separate pricing for both Lockhart and Anaconda. Microsoft has been trialing the appetite for bundles like Xbox All Access, and it’s easy to imagine that the company will launch Lockhart with a similar subscription offering.

In a recent interview with The Verge, Xbox chief Phil Spencer refused to comment on rumors of two consoles for the next-gen Xbox. “I would say a learning from the Xbox One generation is we will not be out of position on power or price,” said Spencer. “If you remember the beginning of this generation we were a hundred dollars more expensive and yes, we were less powerful. And we started Project Scarlett with this leadership team in place with a goal of having market success.”

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