5 things you need to know about Project Scarlett

Here's everything we know about Microsoft's codenamed next-gen console after the big E3 reveal

Microsoft was the only one of the big-three console makers to host an E3 press conference this year, and it'd be fair to say the company knocked it out of the park. There were big game reveals, plenty of surprises (one involving a certain Keanu Reeves), and perhaps most notably of all, a raft of details about its codenamed next-generation console, Project Scarlett.

Although it didn't fully unveil the device - there's every chance we won't find out what it looks like until E3 2020 - Microsoft managed to get pulses racing with a slick tease that revealed some key tech specs and tidbits about the work-in-progress system. Here's everything we know so far.

1) It can support frame rates of up to 120 frames per second

Microsoft reckons Project Scarlet will be a bigger leap forward than any of its previous console generations. Now, that might sound like a classic slice of marketing guff, but the company pulled out some pretty interesting tech specs to back up that claim.

For starters, Scarlett will pack a custom-designed Zen 2 and Navi graphics AMD processor that leverages high bandwidth GDDR6 memory to deliver frame rates of up to 120 frames per second. In simple terms, that makes Scarlett four times more powerful than the Xbox One X - which as Microsoft likes to remind us, is already the most powerful console on the market.

2) Get ready for Native 4K and 8K support

All of that extra power also means Project Scarlett will deliver native 4K resolutions, and will even offer 8K support in some instances. But that's not the only reason games will look better than ever, because the console will also support hardware-accelerated next-gen ray tracing and more variable refresh rates to deliver smoother, high-fidelity visuals that promise to be more immersive than ever before.

When you see what developers like CD Projekt Red and 343 Industries have already achieved with current-gen tech, its hard not to get a little bit carried away thinking about what we might be playing in a few years time.

3) It'll make lengthy load times a thing of the past

Just like the in-development PlayStation 5, Project Scarlett will also be fitted with a solid-state drive that will massively reduce load times, allowing players to explore massive worlds without encountering gargantuan load screens.

In fact, Microsoft has explained that it has created a new generation of SSDs that it's using as virtual RAM. That tech can be used to really boost performance, and has already made Scarlett more than 40 times faster than current-get consoles.

4) Halo Infinite will be a launch title

Every new console needs a stellar launch title, and Project Scarlett already has one. After showing off a gorgeous new Halo Infinite cinematic trailer, the company revealed that the sixth instalment in the Halo series will be launching alongside its next-gen machine.

It'll give fans a pretty big reason to grab the console on launch day, but those unsure about making an instantaneous upgrade needn't worry, because Halo Infinite will still be coming to the Xbox One and Windows 10. Sorry, we didn't mean to make you sweat.

5) It'll be on shelves next year

Given we haven't even seen what the console looks like yet, it's hardly surprising that Microsoft hasn't announced a concrete release date.

That said, we do have a vague idea as to when it'll be on shelves, with the company teasing a 'Holiday 2020' launch for Project Scarlett. Pricing details, however, are still a total mystery, but fingers crossed Microsoft somehow manages to make all of its fancy new tech relatively affordable.