Xbox Boss Says Scarlett Design Is A "Cool-Looking, New Thing"; Price May Depend On Trump's Tariffs
Nothing is locked down yet.
Xbox boss Phil Spencer has suggested that the form factor of the new Xbox Project Scarlett might not be traditional. Speaking to Xbox On, Spencer said the design of the next-generation console isn't locked down yet, though he personally knows what it will look like. [Update: We now know the system as the Xbox Series X, and it indeed sports a very unconventional look for a games console.]
"At some point we'll show what it looks like," he said. "The physical ID is not done. I know what it's gonna look like. It's gonna be--I think it's a cool-looking, new thing, which will be interesting. But we don't have a final ID done."
Spencer said Microsoft did not show the design of Scarlett at E3 because it wasn't ready yet. Also, form factor isn't the most important part of what makes the system compelling, he said.
"It's not like we're going to put a half-done ID out there and say, 'This is kind of what it will look like,'" he said. "That's not really the thing that's going to drive purchase decision."
Other unknowns for Scarlett are its name and price point. On the name, Spencer confirmed that Scarlett is only a working title, and as with the form factor, he says, "I hope somebody is not making their buying decision on this product based on what it's named."
Regarding the price of Scarlett, Spencer said he understands that pricing "will be important." Microsoft has a price point in mind--that he didn't share--but he acknowledged that it could change based on a number of factors, one of which is how Trump's tariffs with China shake out.
"The price will be important. Clearly, price is one of those things that people want to know," he said. "As we're watching how the cost of the components are coming in, and things like tariffs and other things, trying to figure out what that price is going to be next year. We have a price point in mind; I think we're going to hit that. But we want to make sure everything comes in right. We'll get price out as soon as we can."
Trump's proposed tariffs with China would put a huge 25 percent tax on electronics--including video games--that are shipped into the United States. Microsoft, and others, manufacture consoles in the country and would in theory pass along the cost to consumers leading to a more expensive product. The tariffs aren't in place yet, and they might not go through. Despite that, Nintendo has already decided to shift production of its Switch models--including its new, more powerful system--out of a China as a result of the threat.
Scarlett launches in Holiday 2020 with Halo Infinite releasing day-and-date as a launch title. Scarlett was at one point thought to be the name of Microsoft's two-SKU next-generation console strategy spanning a high-power model, codenamed Anaconda, and a lower-spec system known as Lockhart. However, multiple recent reports state that Microsoft is no longer moving forward with the Lockhart system. At the same time, in the Xbox On video Spencer on multiple occasions references new consoles with plural terminology. It's not clear what's going on, and Microsoft has not commented officially on if it will release one or two next-generation consoles.