The Xbox Scarlett will be Microsoft’s next major gaming project, and there are rumours that there could be a few surprises along the way too.
We already know about the tech giant’s plans to enter the cloud gaming market with Project xCloud, with more news expected on testing very soon.
And this new gaming plan appears to be spawning some spin-off ideas that Microsoft are eagerly pursuing.
The good news is that public testing will be starting very soon for xCloud, although it won’t have any Xbox Scarlett games included.
These will be launching alongside the next-gen console in 2020.
Gamescom will be the first event that the xCloud is put into the public hands and will no doubt be put through its paces.
A recent message from Microsoft on NewsXbox confirms: “Fans at Gamescom will also be amongst the first in Europe to get hands-on with Project xCloud and experience the true power of cloud gaming on mobile.”
And this means that Gamescom could be massive for what Microsoft has planned next for their next-gen plans.
The gaming expo in Cologne will give the company a mass of new feedback regarding their cloud gaming project.
And this, in turn, could shape what experimental projects and patents they carry on with.
According to the latest reports, Microsoft has a couple of intriguing ideas for Project xCloud.
This includes patents, via Thurrott, for a new mobile phone controller that would effectively wrap an Xbox controller around your phone.
The tech giant is in a great position to create a new design like this and could even provide specialised “Elite” versions in the future.
With the xCloud already removing the price of Xbox Scarlett hardware from the equation, these new controllers could open up the market even more.
Microsoft would certainly be open to exploring this new controller patent further if fans respond positively to Project xCloud in the coming months, starting at Gamescom.
Another rumoured Xbox console has also been linked with Project xCloud and would give Microsoft another chance of boosting their gaming base away from the Xbox Scarlett console.
This new device would be a streaming-only device that would retail for a much lower price than the Xbox Scarlett.
It wouldn’t offer any hardware power but would instead make for an easy way to link your TV to Project xCloud.
Here’s more from Microsoft insider Brad Sams, who revealed in a recent YouTube post: “Lockhart was stuck in this middle ground where it didn’t make a lot of sense.
“And if Microsoft is really confident, which I’m hearing they are starting to be with their xCloud service, selling a really, really low priced little box that does a marginal amount of compute, makes a lot of sense.
“You can imagine they can sell this thing (xCloud Device) for around $60, maybe toss in a controller for $75 or something, it would undercut what Stadia is currently selling.
“It would make it really easy to get into xCloud and would be super-portable; you can imagine how easy it would be to take something like that on the road.”
But while much of Microsoft’s next-gen plans will rely on xCloud, the Xbox Scarlett will remain their main priority. And it just so happens that both the PS5 and Xbox Scarlett face price pressure from the current tariff talks between China and the United States.
Both companies have highlighted the impact these new tariffs could have on consoles, with the next-gen machines expected to hit the market in 2020. China and the United States are still in talks regarding trade between the two countries, meaning that the tariffs including consoles are on hold.
But President Trump recently revealed that there is still much to discuss, adding: “We have a long way to go as far as tariffs where China is concerned. If we want, we have another $325 billion we can put a tariff on, if we want.”
Recent reports suggest that both Sony and Microsoft are looking at alternative locations for their manufacturing needs, although Microsoft has already denied this.
Whatever happens next, Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo will be looking to avoid anything that could mean upping the price on their current and future consoles.