Microsoft has revealed the first details about its upcoming game console, the successor to the Xbox One.

Microsoft's press conference at gaming expo E3 provided significant new details about Microsoft's next console, dubbed Project Scarlett, which looks set to be at least an equal to Sony's already announced PS5 console.

Like the PS5, Project Scarlett will be powered by AMD hardware, including AMD's latest Zen 2 processor and the Radeon RDNA graphics architecture.

Both consoles will also use super-fast GDDR6 RAM, and support 8K output - although it's unclear (for both consoles) whether the super-resolution output will be limited to video or will apply for gaming as well. The latter of which seems unlikely, based on the requirement of such high-resolution gaming.

Instead, both consoles will use newly available techniques, thanks to the more powerful hardware, to improve graphics quality for HD and 4K games including support for ray tracing and 120 Hz/FPS output.

The similarities between the two upcoming consoles were again highlighted by the storage choice, with both opting for SSD drives for vastly improved loading times (some 40 times more efficient than the current hard-drives used by the Xbox One, Microsoft claimed).

In terms of backwards compatibility, Microsoft has promised slightly more than Sony, which touted "PS4 compatibility" as one of the main features for the PS5. Microsoft revealed that Project Scarlett will be compatible with all "four generations" of Xbox consoles, including the original Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One and Xbox One X. Whether these will all be built in backwards compatibility or just access to remastered downloadable classics, remains to be seen. The result of this intensive effort to make Project Scarlett's backwards compatibility function ready for launch means that the existing backwards compatibility program for the Xbox One will cease, with a final line-up of compatible games also announced at E3.

One thing Microsoft did pip Sony to was in announcing a "firm" release date for Project Scarlett: Holidays 2020. Sony has yet to reveal a release date for the PS5 and had not planned on doing so at E3, having withdrawn from the expo in advance. Experts predict that the PS5 will also be arriving in 2020, possibly within weeks of Project Scarlett's debut.