There's only one new Xbox coming in 2020: 'We are not working on a streaming-only console,' says Xbox chief

Casey Rodgers/Invision/APXbox leader Phil Spencer revealed details on Project Scarlett, the next-generation Xbox, during a stage presentation in June 2019.

When it comes to video game consoles, Microsoft’s Xbox One has been handily defeated by Sony’s PlayStation 4.

Sony boasts over 100 million PS4 consoles sold, while Microsoft outright stopped reporting Xbox console sales numbers – estimates put the Xbox One somewhere in the range of 40 to 60 million sold.

It’s no slouch, but Microsoft’s game console isn’t likely to catch up. And that’s why it’s good news for Microsoft that a new Xbox is just over the horizon: The next Xbox, codenamed “Project Scarlett,” is scheduled to arrive in 2020.

Phil Spencer Microsoft E3 2019Casey Rodgers/Invision/AP

But back in June 2018, when Xbox leader Phil Spencer revealed plans for a next-generation Xbox, he spoke of “consoles” –plural.

So, is Microsoft working on several new Xbox consoles?

“Last year we said consoles, and we’ve shipped a console and we’ve now detailed another console. I think that’s plural,”Spencer told us in June.

The console that Microsoft shipped earlier this year, of course, was not a new next-generation Xbox console – it was a disc-less version of its already existing Xbox One S hardware. “Technically that is plural,” Spencer said with a laugh after I pushed him on the technicality he invoked. “Right now,” he said, “we’re focused on Project Scarlett and what we put on stage.”

Phil Spencer Microsoft E3 2019Dan Steinberg/Invision/AP

But between June 2018 – when the next-generation Xbox console was announced – and June 2019 – when it was revealed as “Project Scarlett” and its specs were detailed – rumours of a “streaming only” Xbox began swirling. Could this be the other next-gen Xbox Spencer was referencing?

That’s not completely clear, but one thing’s for sure: Microsoft isn’t working on a streaming-only version of the next-gen Xbox.

“We are not working on a streaming-only console right now,”Spencer told GameSpot in an interview from June that was published recently. “We are looking at the phone in your pocket as the destination for you to stream, and the console that we have allows you to play the games locally.”

That said, given the iterative nature of game consoles and the history of the business, we wouldn’t be surprised to see new versions of Project Scarlett in the coming years – it just sounds like we’ll only see one in 2020.

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