In the console space, generational leaps are traditionally associated with increased visual fidelity. Think about the jump from the Nintendo 64 to the GameCube or the original PlayStation to the PlayStation 2.
Those leaps have grown increasingly incremental in recent years and, with Microsoft is focusing on how games play as opposed to how they look. To be specific, Microsoft is concentrating on improving frame rates, according to Xbox head Phil Spencer,
"I think the area that we really want to focus on next generation is frame rate and playability of the games," Spencer told CNET sister site GameSpot in a series of exclusive interviews. "Ensuring that the games load incredibly fast, ensuring that the game is running at the highest frame rate possible."
The idea of "playability" is quite nebulous, but Spencer seems to be referring to the notion of games running as smoothly as high-end PCs and reducing loads times as much as possible. That's slightly different than the goals of current-gen consoles like the Xbox One X, which was focused on hitting 4K resolutions.
"The thing that's interesting is, this generation, we've really focused on 4K visuals and how we bring both movies through 4K Blu-ray and video streaming, and with Xbox One X allowing games to run at 4K visuals will make really strong visual enhancements next generation. But playability is probably the bigger focus for us this generation. How fast do [games] load? Do I feel like I can get into the game as fast as possible and while it's playing? How does it feel? Does this game both look and feel like no other game that I've seen? That's our target."
Another priority for Microsoft: backwards compatibility, or the ability for Project Scarlett to play all your old games.
"Making sure that all four generations of content... all run on the next platform is important to us. We want to respect the games that you've bought from us."
GameSpot currently has a broad series of articles with Xbox head Phil Spencer talking about the future of games and Microsoft's role in that future. Check them out here.