Microsoft reportedly working on streaming-only Xbox to take advantage of xCloud

Microsoft confirmed that only one version of its next-generation Xbox, codenamed Project Scarlett, is in development, but an insider reported that there is another console in the works.

The unannounced console will reportedly be a streaming-only Xbox, which will take advantage of Microsoft’s Project xCloud game streaming technology, according to Thurrott’s Brad Sams.

Earlier this year, there were reports that the next-generation Xbox would come in two versions named Anaconda and Lockhart, which were collectively known as Project Scarlett. Anaconda was said to be the more powerful console with a solid state drive, while Lockhart would be the cheaper console and possibly disc-less, with games to be played through digital downloads and xCloud.

Project Scarlett was officially revealed at E3 2019, but Xbox head Phil Spencer confirmed that Microsoft was only working on the more powerful Anaconda, dropping Lockhart from its lineup. There will only be one version of Project Scarlett, but that apparently does not mean that Xbox fans only have one console to look forward to.

According to Sams, Microsoft is working on a streaming-only Xbox that will utilize Project xCloud technology. It will be priced lower than $100, possibly as cheap as $60 or $80 with a controller, and will be pitched as a cheap option for mainstream gamers who do not want to invest in a premium-priced console such as Project Scarlett. If the device will indeed come at that price point, it will undercut the Google Stadia Founder’s Edition, which will launch in November at $129.

Sams said that the cancellation of Lockhart placed a higher priority on the xCloud-only Xbox, which he described as “a really low-power, low-latency device that is designed to connect directly to xCloud and give you a better gaming experience.” The device will allow gamers to connect an Xbox controller directly to xCloud, and will handle basic gameplay elements such as movement and collision detection locally with minimal latency while everything else will be streamed, according to Sams.

Sams admitted that he is unsure if the streaming-only Xbox will launch alongside Project Scarlett, or that the device will be released at all. While the device remains unconfirmed, gamers should temper their expectations on what Microsoft is planning for the Xbox.

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