Xbox Scorpio is Microsoft’s more powerful follow up to the Xbox One, and on Thursday, the company revealed a lot about the specifications of the console. All that's missing now is an official name, release date, and even a price. Still, we now know the hardware in the Xbox Scorpio can apparently keep up with, if not surpass, the Nvidia GTX GeForce 1070 GPU in performance at a 4K resolution, at 60 frames per second — the gold standard for gaming.
This comes at a time when the Xbox is trailing behind Sony's Playstation in sales, and recently, the Japanese company released a hardware update to the PS4, the PS4 Pro. Can Microsoft make up for lost ground with the Scorpio update? While the spec-heads will have a field day with what Xbox Scorpio has to offer there seems to be little in it for gamers. Here’s why.
Xbox Scorpio games were not demoed
Rather than show a brand new game, Microsoft cherrypicked and orchestrated its Xbox Scorpio reveal with Forza 6 — a two year old title for the Xbox One. The rumoured demos of games such as Call of Duty: World War 2, and Red Dead Redemption 2, didn't happen.
The fact is that the console is hurting in the exclusives department, and although Xbox head Phil Spencer has said that we'll hear about more Xbox games at E3 2017, it doesn’t inspire confidence that the Redmond-based company consciously chose not show off a new game. This is particularly a concern after the PR nightmare that was the cancellation of Scalebound.
Xbox Scorpio won’t bring developers back
The most interesting point in a spec-heavy, technical jargon-laden reveal, was Microsoft’s admission that it lost developers.
“The team looked back at developers and the developer relationship we have,” Mike Ybarra, Corporate Vice President of Xbox and Windows, told Digital Foundry. “With Xbox 360 we had the absolute best platform for developers, [with Xbox One] we sort of lost that in a two-year time-frame, so we said how do we win the mind-share of those developers back?”
Ybarra’s logic is simple. Get the developers to make great games and that brings back consumers too. But raw power, while nice, isn’t exactly the end game for many a developer - just ask Blizzard that. You don’t need much to run Overwatch or Diablo 3; even a MacBook Air will do when the gameplay works.
The Xbox Scorpio is up against a platform that’s projected to be 60 million strong by now. In fact its even up against the Nintendo Switch in terms of priority for those with substantial resources like Square Enix who are prioritising the Switch over Scorpio.
All this means is, if you were hoping for fresh, brand new experiences on Xbox Scorpio, you may want to keep your expectations in check.
Xbox Scorpio price will be expensive
Ybarra earlie said that the Xbox Scorpio is for ”that premium customer, the gamer that expects the absolute best versions of the games.”
That's an additional problem, because this "premium" experience will not come cheap. With the Xbox Scorpio heavily rumoured to be priced at $499 (around Rs. 32,200), it would be more expensive than the PS4 Pro — Sony's own souped up PS4 variant. While the PS4 Pro costs $399 (Rs. 38,990 in India), it launched some months ago in November, and all Sony needs to do is drop the price to widen the gap.
PC gaming exists
Although Microsoft is positioning Xbox Scorpio as an extremely powerful console, if you absolutely must have the best possible gaming experience with no compromises, would Xbox Scorpio feature on your wishlist when PC gaming takes the crown? Even middling hardware tends to throw up better performance than the PS4 Pro in games such as Mass Effect: Andromeda, The Witcher 3, Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, and Grand Theft Auto V to name a few.
Even Japanese publishers who are notoriously disinterested in the PC - such as Konami - have put up a great showing with Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Methods that Xbox Scorpio and certain PS4 Pro games like Shadow of Mordor use such as supersampling just are par for the course in a wealth of PC titles.
Your friends aren’t on the Xbox One
The PS4 is handily outselling the Xbox One in every region. Both consoles have been around since 2013. The social aspect of console ownership is tough to ignore. After all, it gives you a sizeable pool of people to trade games with, as well as making multiplayer games better if the people you're playing with are your friends.
All of this makes it more likely for you to buy a console your friends have. And chances are they’re on the PS4, due to the console’s popularity. This makes it even tougher to consider the Xbox Scorpio, even if it's a good console on its own merits.
As it stands, Microsoft may have built the most powerful console ever, but it’s yet to provide a good enough reason for anyone to consider it at this juncture. If at all, we may just see some great price drops on the Xbox One S, which could make that worth checking out instead.
What are your thoughts on the Xbox Scorpio reveal? Let us know via the comments.