Speaking with OXM (opens in new tab) at Gamescom 2019, Xbox general manager Aaron Greeberg said the next generation of consoles, especially Xbox Series X (opens in new tab), will likely see greater CPU gains as opposed to the GPU boosts of the previous generation.
"We feel good about what we've done with the Xbox One X, and the same team that built that is also building Project Scarlett," Greenberg told OXM. "What we're seeing today is a huge upgrade in GPU - you can output in 4K, a lot of other benefits, memory structure and so on. For next-gen, I think you'll see a big upgrade in CPU because we want to make sure you don't have any compromises with frame rate. Yes we can do 4K, but we can also do frame rates up to 120. I think that type of capability will be something people don't see today. And then the high-speed instant gaming using solid state drives to enable instant resume, getting into games and being able to play by removing load times and load screens that exist today. That's going to be a huge change."
Greenberg's comments line up with the Xbox Series X launch date (opens in new tab) reveal at E3, the trailer for which essentially declared war on loading screens. Scarlett will undoubtedly deliver noticeable graphical improvement - if only by stacking supersampling and smoother frame rates onto current games - but the thrust of the console's marketing has focused more on technical and quality of life changes.
Boot and install times, the frequency of mid-game loading screens, instant-resume support, app and UI navigation speeds, and other features which don't directly affect graphics or gameplay can still have a tremendous impact on how new and powerful a console feels. Xbox Project Scarlett and PS5 (opens in new tab) will have more powerful GPUs, no doubt about that, but I certainly wouldn't complain if they leaned more on the CPU side of things in an effort to make getting into games less time-consuming.
You'll get to read the full interview with Greenberg in the next issue of OXM. Find out where to buy OXM near you (opens in new tab) with this store finder. Don't fancy walking to the shops? Get OXM delivered directly to your door every month, with some great savings on an OXM print subscription. (opens in new tab)