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REPORT: Microsoft plans to release cheaper, digital-only version of Xbox Scarlett

Video game website Kotaku is reporting that Microsoft’s next-gen console, Project Scarlett, will have two models at launch: one high-end, more powerful model and a lower-end digital-only model.

Microsoft officially revealed Project Scarlett earlier this year at E3 as a single next-gen console. It is expected to launch during the holiday season in 2020, which will be right around the same time as the launch of Sony’s PS5.

Here’s more from Kotaku:

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What we don’t know—and what likely isn’t finalized yet—is how the pricing will shake out. But it’s easiest to think of Anaconda as a successor to the Xbox One X and Lockhart as a successor to the Xbox One S, with a similar performance disparity. Game developers will be expected to support both Anaconda and Lockhart, which some are worried might hamper their ambitions for next-gen games in the coming years.

When speaking to Kotaku, one game developer briefed on Lockhart analogized it to the PlayStation 4 Pro in terms of raw graphical power, although there are other key differences that might make up for that. Lockhart is said to have a solid-state drive, like both Anaconda and Sony’s upcoming PlayStation 5, which is expected to have a significant impact on loading times. Developers briefed on Lockhart also say it has a faster CPU than any current video game console, which could allow for higher frame-rates, although there are other factors that might not become clear until the console is completely finalized, such as clock speed and cooling.

Microsoft’s ideal target performances are said to be 4K resolution and 60 frames-per-second on Anaconda and 1440p resolution and 60 frames-per-second on Lockhart. (That doesn’t mean that every single game on these consoles will live up to that performance—it’s the target that Microsoft is pushing developers to hit.)

Kotaku states that its reporting is based on “four people briefed on the company’s plans.” You can read the full report here.

At E3 in June, Microsoft described Project Scarlett as a “bigger leap than any generation” before. They talked about a system that is four times more powerful than Xbox One X, frame rates of up to 120 FPS, resolution output of up to 8K, next-gen ray tracing, and the inclusion of a super fast solid-state drive.

“We’ve created a new generation of SSDs,” Microsoft said during their E3 reveal. “We’re actually using the SSD as virtual RAM. We’re seeing more than 40 times performance increases over the current generation.”

You can watch that presentation from E3 below: