Deciphering Xbox Scarlett: Anaconda, Anthem, Danta, Lockhart, Maverick, and Roma

Posted on December 17, 2018 by Brad Sams in Games with 29 Comments

It’s no secret that Microsoft is working on its next-generation console for an expected release in 2020. The hardware is actively being developed but the launch strategy is starting to materialize and this post will help you make sense of all the different codenames that are being talked about.

The name Xbox Scarlett has been floating around since this summer and it represents, at a broad level, the next generation of consoles. As of right now, there are two being planned, Anaconda (which others have noted as well) and Lockhart, which is an ‘arcade’ version of Anaconda.

Microsoft refers to Anaconda as Scarlett Pro and Lockhart as Scarlett Arcade. Think of Lockhart as the successor to the Xbox One S, whereas Anaconda is the successor to the Xbox One X. And to toss one more name into the bunch, Danta is the name of the Scarlett devkit that is based on Anaconda.

On the xCloud side of things, there is Anthem; this is what Microsoft calls the Xbox One S version of its cloud platform. Anthem V2 will roll out later next year which will be based on a revised version of the Xbox One S that is focused on reducing the cost to manufacture the hardware. And of course, there is an Anaconda Cloud in the works as well.

For the hardware components, to little surprise, AMD will be building the chips for the next-gen console. I’m hearing that it may be based on AMD Zen 2 and will also use next-gen GPU architecture as well. As for the specific performance targets, that’s still a bit murky at this time.

On the software side of things, Microsoft is working on what it calls GameCore that will benefit both PC and Xbox gamers. The goal of this feature is to make it easier for developers to build games faster and have more built-in functionality out of the dev kit box.

GameCore is the evolution of the UWP platform and is going to help Microsoft eventually start building container-based apps. GameCore will make it significantly easier for developers to utilize Xbox services on both PC and the Xbox and should provide for higher levels of performance with lower-level system access and control of hardware assets.

But before those devices and software show up, we will first see Maverick. This is the disc-less console that I wrote about a few weeks back that is still on track to be released next year. I believe it will still be released in the spring but as with all hardware and products, plans may change or be canceled.

Along with Maverick, Microsoft is planning Roma, which is a ‘digital attach’ feature for the Xbox. What this will allow you to do, as long is it is shipped as planned, is order an Xbox One with digital services ‘attached’ to the hardware when it ships to your house.

Think of it this way, in the near future, you will be able to buy an Xbox, subscribe to GamePass and Xbox Live, pre-pay for a fixed time period, and when your device shows up, it will be pre-configured from day one. While this may not be a killer feature, the streamlined process will make the day one experience a little bit better.

And I also think Microsoft may be trolling me as well. There is a codename for a series of Xbox One controllers called Cincinnati, that was part of the announcement last year where you can put an NFL logo on an Xbox controller. If you aren’t familiar with the Cincinnati Bengals, they continue to be a thorn in my side for the past two decades with, at best, losing in the first round of the playoffs.

There’s a lot we don’t know yet about the next-gen consoles including the hardware specs, although AMD is building the chips and GPU, and the benchmarks the company is targeting for raw performance. But I think it’s safe to say, considering the Xbox One X already enables 4k gaming, anything less than stable 4k, 60FPS, for Anaconda, will be a letdown.

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