Microsoft Has An "Advantage" With Project Scarlett, It Believes

Backwards compatibility means Scarlett will have a massive launch lineup, Matt Booty says.

52 Comments

2020 will be a big year for the Xbox brand as it hopes to turn things around from this console generation where Sony has dominated. Xbox Game Studios boss Matt Booty said in a new interview with GamesRadar+ that he believes Scarlett has "an advantage" thanks to one feature in particular: backward compatibility.

Microsoft has said the Xbox Scarlett--which is actually now called Xbox Series X--will have the largest launch lineup of any Xbox console ever because it will play titles from Xbox One, Xbox 360, and the original Xbox through backwards compatibility. A person who buys a regular Xbox One today can do with with the confidence of knowing their purchases will move forward should they decide to upgrade. This is is what may separate Scarlett in the next-gen race, Booty said.

"We want--when you invest in Xbox--to know that you're bringing that legacy content library with you. It's why we think we've got an advantage with Project Scarlett, because our goal is that any game that runs on an Xbox One will run on Scarlett," Booty said. "You're not porting to a different operating system; you're not porting to a different graphics API; you're just running an Xbox game, right? So we hope that that's a big advantage in terms of our initial content library."

Microsoft stopped adding more backwards-compatible titles to Xbox One in June this year. The company said it ended the new releases so the company could focus on preparing Scarlett to support four generations of Xbox games. In addition to games, Scarlett will work with regular Xbox One controllers and other peripherals you might already own.

Backwards compatibility has been one of the Xbox One's standout features that separates it from the PlayStation 4. Sony's console also offers backwards compatibility through the streaming service PlayStation Now, but players need to buy games again to play them. The PlayStation 5 will support backwards compatibility for PS4 games, and these titles will run even faster on the new hardware in some cases.

Xbox Scarlett is scheduled to release in Holiday 2020 with Halo Infinite as a launch title.

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Thanatos2k

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Edited By Thanatos2k

PS5 is almost certain to have backwards compatibility too. What advantage?

By the way, you touted this same "advantage" with the XBox One, and it turned out no one cared and you lost against the PS4.

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Atzenkiller

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Who's he talking about? An advantage over who? Nintendo? Sony has long confirmed that the PS5 will have BC. That MS is working on having all games that were ever released on any Xbox playable on the next one is admirable. But I'm sure Sony will do the same. Not that emulating games from 2+ gens away should provide much difficulty. Hobby developers can do it and Sony certainly should. So it's mainly about unlocking the PS3 emulator that the PS4 already has built in but locked away, And maybe improving it a bit further so it can take advantage of the new hardware. And making all those PS3 games that companies have already uploaded to the PSN many years ago available for download for PS5, and adding a bunch of others that aren't available online yet. Which should require zero effort and allows all the publishers to cash in on them again.

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Thelostscribe

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Cool.

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dragonsama

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Sony needs to pay attention here because Full Backwards Compatibility has me eyeing the Scarlet hard over the PS5. This is a feature that should be standard on all consoles going forward.

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RealmRPGer

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Edited By RealmRPGer

@dragonsama: How quickly people forget. Every PlayStation until the PS4 was fully backwards compatible with the entire gaming library that came before it (launch PS3s could play all PS2 and PS1 games). If anything, it's Microsoft people should be worried about, since they've only ever supported BC for select titles (which is still the case today). Unlike Sony, whose backwards compatibility has always been 100% of its library.

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Atzenkiller

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@dragonsama: If you're talking about full BC spanning all generations, then the Playstation has been around a while longer and has way more exclusive titles that you can't get on Xbox. But what exclusives does the Xbox have anyway besides the Gears game and Halo? And if you don't already own lots of games from different Xbox consoles, then it hardly matters whether you choose PS5 or Nextbox as they'll both offer mostly the same things, aside from the games I've mentioned.

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clanpsi

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@dragonsama: I'm pretty sure Sony already confirmed BC with PS4.

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dragonsama

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@clanpsi: I'm aware of that. it needs to support PS1, PS2 and PS3 as well.

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thomaswmak

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They said what advantage they have with BC on the Xbox One. They lost this gen as the last place behind PS4 and Switch.

They say the same thing about Xbox Two and I hope they don't get the same fate...

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Carpetfluff

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Seeing as several rumors suggest PS5 will be backwardly compatible all the way back to PS1, I'm not sure this will be an advantage. Also, while I know people like the feature, this gen it's felt like MS used it as a crutch to get around not actually releasing that many new titles of their own.

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Barighm

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Edited By Barighm

@Carpetfluff: It's not a rumour. It's outright confirmed by Sony that the PS5 will have BC (*for PS4. All the way back to PS1? Doubtful...but totally possible sans PS3).

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Atzenkiller

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@Barighm: Even the PS3 already has BC for all gens before that and any phone from 10 years ago could run them perfectly using an emulator. The only gen that's missing is the PS3, for which Sony already has made an emulator for the PS3 long ago. Which hackers have also dicovered long ago. And the PS5 will be 2 gens above it, which means emulating PS3 games should be easy peasy. And Sony certainly has the know how to develop a proper emulator for their own devices, although even amateurs have always been able to do it. So the only difficulty in recent years was making last gen games run on current gen hardware, and that problem's been solved now through using the same architecture.

So all that's left is to upload any old games to the PSN, or make those are that already available for download available on PS4 as well. Whether Sony will let you put in any old discs you own and play old games that way, I wouldn't bet on it. I mean does the PS4 let you play even PS1 games that way? If Sony was nice enough they could do that. But I'm sure they'd rather take advantage of this opportunity by selling you all games all over again if you don't already own them on PSN.

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gamingdevil800

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@Barighm: I pray that they are actually run off the disc though not too keen of the Xbox One version which is scan the disc to verify you own it then download the game from the store.

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Jinzo_111887

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Shame Sony decided to sink to Microsoft's level by demanding money for online play, despite making such a big deal about online play would always be free on the PlayStation Network as it would give them an an advantage over Microsoft.

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thomaswmak

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@Jinzo_111887: Even Nintendo is charging for online play now so get over it...

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Jinzo_111887

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@thomaswmak: That's why I call the current gen consoles the three stooges of gaming and play on PC for the time being. Would buy their hardware and games for them if they'd ditch paid online play, but as it stands, all three console lines will get $0 from me for the foreseeable future.

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thomaswmak

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@Jinzo_111887: seeing how most multiplayer games are on PC as well, so you got that covered. You can probably get the consoles just for single player offline games if so desired.

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Jinzo_111887

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@thomaswmak: I'd rather not give them a single penny at all until they get their act together. Shame to miss out some decent games, but I'm not interested in funding companies that as entitled to something they're not as pirates do. Not interested in buying used systems either.

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Barighm

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@Jinzo_111887: Sony admitted their network was pretty crappy without the additional revenue to maintain it. By this point most of MS' revenue comes from Live, so it's hard to argue.

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gamingdevil800

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@Barighm: Jinzo literally complains about this in every single Playstation article I see him in lmao. It's his big grudge with Sony...

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Jinzo_111887

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@Barighm: BS. Sony just claimed that to make people think they needed for the network. That's not true though. Valve's able to pull off a better network without a premium membership and they've got over a billion users to deal with, which is a lot more than all three current consoles from this gen combined.

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ShakesMcQueen

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"Sony's console also offers backwards compatibility through the streaming service PlayStation Now, but players need to buy games again to play them."

I'm... pretty sure that's not how "backward compatibility" works, haha.

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eli150

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@shakesmcqueen: I dont really care that much about PS2, PS3 titles. I want to play Spiderman and God of War without having to buy them again. If PS5 is backward compatible with PS4 games - like it should be, I think the jump to next gen is going to be smooth

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Barighm

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Edited By Barighm

They ALWAYS say they have a "secret sauce" or advantage or whatever.

And this gen proved how little BC matters. I want BC and I like it but come on. Both of the non-BC systems absolutely trounced the X1.

Granted, it is fair to point out that just because Xbox BC is not much of a selling point doesn't mean Nintendo and Playstation BC isn't a selling point. In the Xbox's case, you've got PC versions of nearly every game for it that matters, and those versions are far more improved. Really, the only Xbox game that isn't supported that I'm unhappy about is Kingdom Under Fire.

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RealmRPGer

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@Barighm: In all honesty, BC will always be Sony's trump card. The PS2 gave Sony the largest library of exclusive titles in the history of gaming. And the PS1 isn't far behind.

Having said that, the more full remakes that companies make of their old games, the less of an impact this has. But over 90% of those games have still never seen a remake.

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Thelostscribe

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@Barighm: Sudeki to me is the one BC game I really want from the OXbox.

I think they see it as an edge they have, not the main selling point. Believe it or not, Phil and his team were pretty smart this gen with how the set up the next gen. They knew the Xbox One would never take off and sell as much as the PS4, so they've actually used this as trial and error. Backwards compatibility has proved very popular, statistically they have said many many gamers use it enough to justify continued support.

They also used it to experiment with Gamepass and get it established. I think the X was also an experiment to see if people were interested in more power. They reported the X had a much better launch than they anticipated. Finally, of course, they secured themselves a lot more 1st party developers.

Anyways, I'm glad Backwards compatibility is going forward, but I agree, it is not a system seller in the same way as a new IP or killer sequel to a popular IP.

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JohnnyX

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Sony: We will have Backwards compatibility.

Fanboys: OMG! Thats the greatest thing since slice bread.

Xbox: We'll have the better version of Backwards Compatibility

Fanboys: Who Cares

people you gotta chill this is good news and that's the end of it.

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Tidus1012

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That 'advantage' is pure fiction.

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Reznik00

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BC is a great incentive to upgrade... When you actually support your console with hard hitting exclusives. Relying on BC alone will not convince millions to upgrade. Even Halo Infinite isn't an exclusive, that's your biggest bet for early sales, and you've already made it instantly available to millions for basically pennies. You've killed Scarlett before it had the chance to live.

Meanwhile, PS4 has numerous hard hitting exclusives coming next year that will transition to the PS5 while it launched with its own set of exclusives. Legacy content is great, the numbers have proven time and time again most gamers don't bother with it though. Exclusives are what gamers want, they're good for the industry, and they're the sole reason to purchase a console. You can play legacy content anywhere, give me unique content I can't get anywhere else. That's why the Switch is overtaking your console and why the PS5 will continue the dominant reign of the PS4.

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Jinzo_111887

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@reznik00: If people don't want legacy content, then how did GOG survive before adding indie games to their store?

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Carpetfluff

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@Jinzo_111887: That's WHY they added indie games.

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Jinzo_111887

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@Carpetfluff: Note, I said "before adding them." They were in business years before then and they still do add retro games into their library regularly. Also, shouldn't NSO have flopped hard when Nintendo announced it was nothing more than glorified ransomware?

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squishytia

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@Jinzo_111887: They survived because they are DRM-free. They offer an alternative that doesn't resort to DRM laden software. The Indie games aren't what are keeping them afloat - Steam has those too, as do both of the consoles' stores. It's the lack of DRM.

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Jinzo_111887

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Edited By Jinzo_111887

@squishytia: Yes, that's part of, but I was also trying to point out that it was older software during that time period, too.

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FireDrakeZ

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@reznik00: It is not just Back Compatibility with the more 600+ OG Xbox and Xbox 360 games and the entire Xbox One library on the Scarlett console right from the start.

Indeed the PS4 had the better exclusives this gen. Fortunately MS addressed that next gen by doubling the number of studios in their portfolio including well respected developers like Obsidian(Outer Worlds, Fallout New Vegas, KOTOR 2) InXile(Wasteland and Bard's series), Doublefine(Psychonauts, Grim Fandango), Ninja Theory(Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, DmC: Devil May Cry and Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice) etc.

I personally am looking forward to what Obsidian could do with a AAA budget(which they never had the luxury of dealing with before) with one of their rpgs including Outer Worlds 2.

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RealmRPGer

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@firedrakez: You mean like how they addressed the issue by buying Rare from Nintendo (fate: going from yearly hit-after-hit to "reasonable game" once a decade), and before that by buying Lionhead (fate: now shuttered)?

You can't just buy a studio and magically have good games. You need a solid internal team to foster those studios' growth, which Microsoft has yet to prove they have.

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FireDrakeZ

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Edited By FireDrakeZ

@RealmRPGer:You know that Sony has bought and shuttered a lot studios too right, just as much as Microsoft.

Rare Replay is still making games. They have a good one coming up called "Everwild". It has been getting a lot of praise recently at this early stage being compared to games like Breath of the Wild.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWpcUH-tKEU

As for their new studios, Obsidian has inherited Bioware's rep as the best wrpg developer/storyteller today. Their most recent game Outer Wild was a hit so it doesn't look like they are losing steam at all. Just from their track record(with such hits like KOTOR 2, Fallout New Vegas, Pillars of Eternity), we can expect more of the same.

Lionhead's signature game Fable is also making a comeback it sounds like care of another UK company, Playground studios.

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Barighm

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@reznik00: That and the best versions of the Xbox's major releases are available for PC at a cheaper price.

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