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The next Xbox is in the wild, connecting to current-gen Xbox One players

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Enlarge / We'd prefer to use an official image of the console, but we won't have one of those until Xbox chief Phil Spencer invites us over to his house. And, ya know, Ars tech culture editor Sam Machkovech lives down the block in Seattle, so…Xbox

A late Wednesday post from the leader of Microsoft's Xbox team, Phil Spencer, confirmed that the first "Project Scarlett" console is officially in the wild, ahead of its late 2020 launch window. And current Xbox One players appear to have already unknowingly connected to it.

"And it's started," Spencer posted on his Twitter account on Wednesday. "This week, I brought my Project Scarlett console home and it's become my primary console, playing my games, connecting to the community and yes, using my Elite Series 2 controller, having a blast."

Without any extra posts or clarification as of press time, we can only surmise so much from this single statement. But it's admittedly dense. Primarily, Spencer affirms a few details that he and the Xbox team have previously announced about Project Scarlett, the current codename for the unnamed successor to the Xbox One console.

For one, the only way Spencer is playing games that connect to the "community" is existing fare, which confirms Xbox's pledge that all existing Xbox One software will play on Scarlett. Whether those games will receive any Scarlett-specific upgrades, like bumps to resolution or frame rate, remains to be seen.

Microsoft has also pledged that all existing accessories for Xbox One will work on Scarlett, which is good news for anyone who bought last month's $180 Elite Series 2 Controller (which Spencer shouts out here). There's always the possibility that Xbox will release some form of upgraded controller, but we suspect that the Scarlett console's default controller will copy the buttons and layout of existing Xbox One pads (which already resembled other Xbox controllers' designs).

Most intriguingly, this kit's connectivity to the standard retail Xbox One environment, as opposed to a sandboxed "dev kit" network, is a sharp turn from standard Xbox practice. Previous Xbox generations' dev kits have exclusively connected to private systems, including Xbox 360's "Partnernet" (which we used to test pre-release software in the 360's heyday). Does this mean Scarlett's specs are closer to finalized than we previously suspected? Journalists like The Verge's Tom Warren had argued that Project Scarlett's specs were "nowhere near final" as recently as this SRead More – Source