We know Microsoft is working on a new Xbox console, though later documents suggested it would be a family of consoles. Further details suggested that it would be a console capable of streaming games directly to people's homes. A fresh round of leaks suggest that Microsoft is preparing two different Xbox machines, one more traditional, and a cheaper model dedicated to streaming games.
According to new details posted on Thurrott, Microsoft is planning a family of Xbox devices codenamed Scarlett. Now that family of devices appear to be two separate pieces of hardware. There will be a traditional next-gen console that's supposed to have local hardware and is suspected to be the sequel to the Xbox One.
Then there's a second device that acts as a streaming box designed to work with Microsoft's upcoming game streaming platform. The service is called Scarlett Cloud by one person and will be able to stream games directly to the hardware. The stream-only device is reportedly less-powerful with enough local computing power to handle controller inputs, image processing, and collision detection.
That computing power will apparently raise the price of the box, but it will be "significantly less" than the cost of what's expected of newer generation of consoles. No word yet on the hardware specs or price for either Microsoft video game consoles.
Streaming is apparently regarded as a new frontier for video games. Microsoft has spoken a bit about the topic as has Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot who suggested that the console generation after next will be completely dedicated to streaming games.
One of the main problems of course with streaming games, especially Triple-A games is problems with latency. According to the report Microsoft may reduce latency in "all aspects of the game" by "running" the game in two locations at the same time and using Microsoft's cloud tech to splice them together.
What's more if it works it could work on any device including PC. If Microsoft's many data centers can deliver this experience seamlessly, it could extend Microsoft's "Play Anywhere" video game strategy. Not to mention boost profit generating services like Xbox Live and Xbox Game Pass.
The next-generation consoles are almost upon us. Sony has been talking up a three-year cycle until the PlayStation 5 while Microsoft is clearly okay with sharing information about its next-gen console. Developers like Rare are also expecting a smooth transition to next-gen development. But whether or not streaming will be the feature of the future remains to be seen. For a peek into the future check out our PS5 guide for rumors and details.