Xbox Project Scarlett details at E3 2019: Disc drive confirmed, plus 8K graphics

Xbox head also says the console will have a disc drive in addition to featuring Halo Infinite as a launch title.

Ian Sherr Former Editor at Large / News
Ian Sherr (he/him/his) grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, so he's always had a connection to the tech world. At CNET, he wrote about Apple, Microsoft, VR, video games and internet troubles. Aside from writing, he tinkers with tech at home, is a longtime fencer -- the kind with swords -- and began woodworking during the pandemic.
Ian Sherr
5 min read

Waiting is hard.


Get ready for a new Xbox. Microsoft gave more details about its upcoming Xbox video game console, codenamed Scarlett, in a presentation ahead of the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3 as it's known, in Los Angeles Sunday. The new device will be four times more powerful than the Xbox One X and powered by an AMD chip. 

Microsoft said the new console will be able to offer frame rates up to 120 frames per second, or twice the average TV. The new device will also include a solid-state drive, Microsoft said, meaning the device will load games much faster than through its older mechanical hard drives. 

"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.

The device will also still have a disc drive, the company told GamesIndustry.biz, even though Microsoft just released a lower-price all-digital Xbox last month. "We know, because we see it, that more and more players are buying digital," he told the publication. "The experience in certain instances, specifically if I am away from my console and everything is on my hard-drive with the entitlements are all there -- there are some scenarios that are easy. We know that people still have discs."

The company said its new Xbox will launch with the company's next big upcoming space war game, Halo Infinite. That will mark the first time Halo will be a launch title for new Xbox hardware in almost 20 years. 

Microsoft's next Xbox, expected to land on retail shelves next year, is coming at a time of transition in the video game world. Microsoft and Sony have both announced plans to release next-generation video game consoles, following up on their Xbox One and PlayStation 4 devices, first released in 2013. But newcomers are aiming to change the video game world too, and may offer new competition.

Google in March announced a new gaming service called Stadia, which allows players to stream games over the internet in a similar way we stream movies over Netflix now. Stadia doesn't require a video game console to work, and it'll be free to use when you buy a game from Google, essentially side-stepping the idea of plugging a console into your television.

Still, game makers have said internet connections around the world aren't reliable enough for game streaming yet, which is part of why Microsoft and Sony still plan to offer them.


Expect more Microsoft news as we go hands-on throughout the week with more at E3.

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 Mayan Theater in downtown Los Angeles. 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 on-stage appearance by legendary game designer Yu Suzuki, responsible for classic 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 -- 6 p.m. PT (9 p.m. ET)

Tuesday, June 11

  • Nintendo (livestream only) -- 9 a.m. PT (noon ET)

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.

E3 2019: The most anticipated games of gaming's most anticipated show

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Originally published June 9, 2:27 p.m. PT.
Updated on June 10, 2:48 p.m. PT to add new Xbox details and confirmations.