Xbox Lockhart Shelved After Unexpected Developer Feedback

Xbox Lockhart is Microsoft’s next-generation console. Lockhart and Xbox Anaconda development is proceeding under the codename “Project Xbox Scarlett.” This is what we knew about the new Xbox consoles for months.

We knew Microsoft is working on two new Xbox consoles but ever since E3 2019 many reports came out saying Lockhart is dead. The toned down version of Xbox Anaconda is no longer in development.

Now, the question is why was Lockhart shelved? Anyone familiar with video game development would understand the baseline. Developers create console games for the base and optimize for the upper tier model.

For example, most video games for One X aren’t made for One X. Developers use Xbox One as the baseline. Games are later optimized for Xbox One X. This process leads to many features never making it to the game. It also limits how far visuals can go. Moreover, the entire process demands more resources and funds from developers.

According to Insider Brad Sams, Microsoft didn’t receive the feedback it expected. Developers used the new Xbox Lockhart as the base and said “hopefully,” games will run better on Xbox Anaconda (now simply known as Xbox Scarlett).

Many developers didn’t have the resources to develop for two machines. It is safe to say many simply didn’t want the hassle.

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But the major reason for shelving Xbox Lockhart is Project xCloud. Microsoft wished to offer a cheap entry point to the next-generation of gaming. And Project xCloud already does that. Microsoft realized that Xbox Lockhart is stuck in the middle. This realization mixed with unexpected feedback from devs, Microsoft saw the light. Xbox Lockhart is now shelved.

In fact, Phil Spencer has confirmed that there is no second console. Xbox Anaconda is now the only console under Project Scarlett.

But there is something weird about Spencer’s statement. It seems despite reports from many credible sources, Microsoft isn’t ready to confirm the existence of a second console.

The head of Xbox implied that Xbox Lockhart was never a next-generation machine.

Last year we said consoles, and we’ve shipped a console and we’ve now detailed another console. I think that’s plural. Technically that is plural. Right now, we’re focused on Project Scarlett and what we put on stage.

The console he is referring to is Xbox One S All-Digital Edition. The disc-less console is available in the market. It is hard to digest but if that’s how Microsoft wants to play this what can we do? If Microsoft says there was never a second console, we must take their word.

As for Xbox Anaconda, the next-gen Xbox console is releasing next Fall. Microsoft will discuss more at E3 2020.