According to a tweet penned late last night , Xbox boss Phil Spencer already has a next-gen Project Scarlett at home and is seemingly having a great time of it.
Veering quite sharply into the domain of flexing, with a little humble-brag thrown in for good measure, it foreshadows something we should come to terms with sooner rather than later – we’re in for twelve months of PR-vetted hype building.
Much of what comes across in Phil Spencer’s tweet appears a direct response to a Kotaku article published yesterday . In said article, which reports that Microsoft still has its eyes set on releasing an all-digital ‘Lockhart’ version of Project Scarlett, there’s a suggestion that Microsoft may be lagging behind Sony.
Project Scarlett dev kits have been slow to reach developers. Additionally, Microsoft’s muted communication over its next-gen plans raises concerns at the developer level.
By stressing that he has a Project Scarlett (presumably a dev kit), Spencer tacitly hints that the specifications of Scarlett are more or less final – a major milestone in the development of a console. The subtext is that Scarlett is moving along swimmingly to squash any rumors PlayStation 5 is ahead.
The comment about Project Scarlett becoming his ‘primary console’ and that he is ‘playing my games’ is also particularly telling. It’s unlikely developers have applied the finishing touches to any of the Project Scarlett launch titles. Spencer may have access to alpha builds from developer part of the Xbox Game Studios roster.
More realistic is that Spencer is hinting at the backward compatibility capabilities of the console. This is the one domain in which Microsoft outshines PlayStation this generation, so we can confidently expect Project Scarlett to deliver on that front. The fact he boasts of ‘connecting to the community’ suggests he’s jumping into existing Xbox One games using Scarlett.
Spencer may come across as vaunting exclusive access to an unreleased product. More importantly, there’s a message to detractors that team X is on top of things and no one needs worry.