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E3 2019: New Xbox Project Scarlett coming 2020, xCloud public test this fall, says Microsoft

Microsoft’s showed off its upcoming streaming service, Project xCloud, in addition to a new Elite controller.

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Microsoft's next Xbox is coming in 2020.

James Martin/CNET

Microsoft's next-gen Xbox is on the horizon, and the company is starting to talk about it.

The video game giant announced its new Xbox, called Project Scarlett, at its Xbox press conference. The new device, Microsoft said, will be 4x more powerful than its Xbox One X, promising faster loading times and more intense visuals with 8K graphics, support for 120fps and an SSD when it's released in 2020.

"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 ahead of the Electronic Entertainment Expo, also known as E3, in Los Angeles

To help boost the console's appeal, Microsoft said the device will launch with its next big upcoming space war gameHalo Infinite. The original Halo was released in 2001 alongside the original Xbox, and helped make the device a household name.

"We have thousands of games in development across Xbox One and Windows PC," Spencer said. 

Microsoft showed off more than 60 games during its presentation -- some big like CD Projekt Red's futuristic dystopian adventure game Cyberpunk 2077 and Microsoft's own Gears 5 and some small. The company said 14 of the games shown came from the company's development arm, known as Xbox Game Studios. And over 30 games premiering on the company's Xbox Game Pass subscription service.

"My team and I are single minded in our resolve to bring everyone the games they wan to play," he added.

The company's also discussed its upcoming Project xCloud service, which will allow people to stream games over the internet in a similar way they watch Netflix videos today. That will be going up against Google's Stadia, a competing service announced in March, designed to work alongside the company's massively popular YouTube video site.

Microsoft said xCloud will not be a standalone video game service, but rather it will work with an existing Xbox to help you play games on mobile devices at home or while traveling. The new service will enter a public testing phase later this year.

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First look at xCloud on a phone at E3.

James Martin/CNET

While Microsoft prepares for a streaming future, it's also starting to push on its subscription service, Xbox Game Pass. The company said its Game Pass for the PC will cost $9.99, and will begin public testing Sunday. Microsoft also said the service will be included in its Xbox Game Pass Ultimate service, a $14.99 per month subscription that combines the company's Xbox Game Pass for console, its Xbox Live social network and, now, its Xbox Game Pass for PC.

As part of its push, the company said it's acquired Double Fine Productions, a popular video game developer whose upcoming Psychonauts 2 adventure game is highly anticipated.

The company also said it'll offer its upcoming Gears 5 space war game will be released September 10, though Xbox Game Pass subscribers will get it four days earlier.

Microsoft also unveiled the new version of its Elite controller, now with Bluetooth, an internal rechargeable battery pack, adjustable tension thumbsticks and so much more.

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The new Elite controller.

James Martin/CNET

Upcoming E3 press conferences

Saturday, June 8

Sunday, June 9

Monday, June 10

  • PC Gaming Show -- This annual PC Gaming Show is held at a theater a short walk from the Los Angeles Convention Center, but still draws a large crowd, filling the 1,700-person capacity downtown Mayan Theater. Inside, the usual suspects, from Halo to Doom, were nowhere to be found. Instead, the crowd cheered for PC-centric games including Zombie Army 4Baldur's Gate 3 and Terraria: Journey's End. (No, the game sequel problem isn't any better on PCs.) The highlight was a brief onstage appearance by legendary game designer Yu Suzuki, responsible for classics such as Hang-On and Virtua Fighter. His long-awaited Shenmue 3 is expected in November, 18 years after Shenmue 2. 
  • Ubisoft -- The French gaming giant announced its next big dystopian hacking adventure game, Watch Dogs: Legion, launching March 2020. The new game is set in near-future post-Brexit London, where the economy is failing and government is breaking down. The company also announced a new television show, called Mythic Quest, that will launch on Apple TV Plus. And it celebrated the 10th anniversary of its Just Dance party games. 
  • Square Enix -- Aside from the Final Fantasy 7 remake release date announcement, Square Enix also showed off its new comic book tie-in, Marvel's Avengers: A Day. Though the new game is different from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, some fans criticized the character's looks. It's coming in 2020.

Tuesday, June 11

We're there

CNET will be on the ground, covering covering E3 2019 alongside our sister site, Gamespot. We'll update this page throughout the show as more games are announced.