Super-high resolutions and fancy effects like HDR and ray tracing are great for video games, but the most important technical aspect of a game is almost always the framerate. Microsoft understands this, and it will be a major focus for the company as we approach the release of Project Scarlett.
Speaking to GameSpot, head of Xbox Phil Spencer said that “ensuring the game is running at the highest framerate possible,” and with minimal loading times, would be the priority for his team during the upcoming console generation. This differs from the priority during this generation, which were largely on pushing for 4K visuals after the introduction of the Xbox One X. That system’s power mean it can often hit 4K native resolution with 60 frames-per-second gameplay, but this isn’t universal. The weaker PS4 Pro often has to choose between the two.
“Do I feel like I can get into the game as fast as possible and while it’s playing, how does it feel? Does this game look and feel like no other game that I’ve seen? That’s [the Xbox team’s] target,” Spencer added.
If Xbox Scarlett is as powerful as Microsoft is promising, players will likely be able to have their cake and eat it, too. The system will be capable of 8K resolution and framerates of up to 120 frames per second. This might sound like overkill when 60 frames per second and 4K resolution are considered barely achievable goals already, but it could allow for more detail, denser enemy counts, and larger worlds to be possible in these games, as well. These are changes that would be quite a bit more noticeable than an arbitrary number going up, and could sell prospective buyers on why they should purchase the Xbox Scarlett instead of sticking with their older console.
Microsoft will have plenty of competition in the power category from Sony next generation, which is promising similar 8K support and ray tracing. It has even been rumored that the PS5 will be more powerful than Xbox Scarlett, though when both systems are this capable, the difference is largely for bragging rights and commercial bullet points.