One of the most surprising moments of E3 2018 was when Phil Spencer mentioned that the next-generation of Xbox consoles were already in development and codenamed Scarlet. No further details were shared beyond that, but a new report may give fans a better idea of what to expect from Scarlet and the future of Xbox.
Thurrott reports that Microsoft plans on launching two distinct versions of the next-generation Xbox. One version will be a traditional home console that will play games locally, but the other will be a cloud-based streaming box that has been referred to as Scarlet Cloud. The cloud-based Xbox console will be made to stream games from Microsoft's upcoming game streaming service, and will reduce latency by running games both locally and through the cloud.
Whether players choose to purchase the traditional version of Scarlet or Scarlet Cloud shouldn't make a difference in terms of what content they can access. Both Scarlet and Scarlet Cloud (and apparently other devices as well, such as PCs) will have access to Microsoft's game streaming service, which will presumably be an evolution of the Xbox Game Pass that currently requires players to download each title individually.
In its report, Thurrott also reiterated that Microsoft is looking to release the next-generation Xbox consoles in 2020. Since Microsoft has already started teasing the next-generation of Xbox hardware, 2020 does seem like a reasonable release year. Depending on when in 2020 Microsoft plans on launching the Scarlet family of consoles, we may even get some concrete details at E3 2019 next summer.
That's just speculation at this time, and it's worth pointing out that Thurrott's report could be off-base. The publication has been very accurate in regards to Microsoft news in the past, though, so while fans should take this information with a grain of salt, it's definitely easier to believe than most rumors.
Rumors will be all fans can go on until Microsoft itself is ready to reveal more information on the Scarlet consoles and what exactly they will have in store for gamers. Whether that information comes at E3 next year or at some even farther out remains to be seen.