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Xbox ‘Lockhart’ lower-priced console dumped – this could be why

Microsoft has reportedly dropped plans to launch a lower-priced version of its next-gen Xbox console, according to reports.

In an interview with Business Insider this week, Xbox head Phil Spencer seemingly ruled out a rumoured, affordable console, which until now has been dubbed ‘Lockhart’. Spencer said Microsoft is focusing on the Project Scarlett console, rather than the “consoles” he mentioned a year ago at E3 2018.

Related: Xbox Project Scarlett

“Last year we said consoles, and we’ve shipped a console [the Xbox One S All-Digital] and we’ve now detailed another console. I think that’s plural,” Spencer said. “Technically that is plural. Right now we’re focused on Project Scarlett and what we put on stage.”

The Xbox boss, in a round about way, confirmed the company is going all-in on the high-end experiences in the immediate future, although that doesn’t rule out a lower-specced option arriving in the coming years.

The interview came after video game industry analyst @BenjiSales spoke of “rumblings” the Lockhart console has been cancelled.

After speaking with developers in and around the company, seasoned Microsoft observer Paul Thurrott believes the move may have been made to simplify life for those making the games.

He says developers were having a “harder time than expected” in efforts to create new games that spanned both next-gen consoles. Initially, gamers were designing games for the lower specced machines before scaling them up for Scarlett.

He also speculates Lockhart may have been an obstacle for Microsoft, damaging the proposition of the xCloud streaming service, which will run games on any device. Effectively, he argues, an affordable Xbox console might dissuade some gamers from giving xCloud a shot.

Thurrott also points out that the Lockhart console, which had appeared in multiple places around Microsoft’s internal workings, have now been “scrubbed” from the records. It looks like it’s all-in on Scarlett for the foreseeable future.

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