Microsoft Explains What The Hell It’s Doing With Xbox And Project Scorpio

Microsoft Explains What The Hell It’s Doing With Xbox And Project Scorpio
To sign up for our daily newsletter covering the latest news, features and reviews, head HERE. For a running feed of all our stories, follow us on Twitter HERE. Or you can bookmark the Kotaku Australia homepage to visit whenever you need a news fix.

If you’ve been keeping abreast of current Xbox events, you might be wondering what drugs Microsoft has been smoking. At E3 2016, the company officially announced not one, but two brand new consoles: the slimline Xbox One S and the roided-up Project Scorpio. It also plans to keep making the Xbox One, which means it will soon have three different current-gen machines jostling for space on store shelves.

This is completely unheard of. It looks and sounds like gibbering, balls-out insanity. Just who the hell is going to buy an Xbox One S when Project Scorpio (a self-proclaimed “monster” and “the most powerful console ever created”) is just around the corner? We asked Microsoft Studios’s head of publishing Shannon Loftis to explain what the hell is going on. Her frank and honest responses were pretty surprising. In short, Xbox is actively trying to emulate the PC upgrade philosophy– and Project Scorpio is just the beginning.

“Backward and forward compatibility.”

This is the new mantra of Microsoft’s Xbox division as it attempts to reinvent itself as a purveyor of interconnected consoles that cater to different types of gamers. The downside of this is a much faster upgrade cycle — but it also means games and accessories will continue to work on every system, possibly for many years to come.

When you look at how gaming PCs work, Xbox’s bold new direction doesn’t look like such a crazy gamble. Over the past decade, Microsoft has been closely watching the PC games industry — taking note of what works and what doesn’t. It has concluded that giving consumers more choice in the hardware they buy is the way forward. It’s basically taking the concept of a graphics card series and applying it to consoles: they all play the same games and offer a similar experience, but some are more capable than others.

We probably should have seen this coming. The Xbox brand has always been more closely aligned with PCs than its rivals. The company is bringing all first-party Xbox games to PC. It’s introducing Play Anywhere support for Windows 10 gamers and is also bringing Cortana to the Xbox One. A PC-style refresh cycle is the next logical step in this progression.

Nobody gets left behind

This isn’t just conjecture on our part. Shannon Loftis pretty much admitted it during a one-on-one interview at E3:

“The PC gaming market over the past twenty years has been our focus test [for Scorpio]. These customers don’t wait with held breath for a new PC release so they can experience the next games. Instead, it’s been a rolling innovation and there’s been compatibility moving forward. Nobody is getting left behind.”

For those who haven’t heard the name, Shannon Loftis has been a key player at Microsoft Studios since the launch of the original Xbox. She helped to make online multiplayer mainstream, led the team who brought us Kinect and briefly managed Xbox Entertainment Studios. Having been directly involved in some of Xbox’s biggest highs and lows, she is certainly no stranger to high-risk business strategies.

The launch of Xbox One S and Project Scorpio is going to be a bit of a tough sell — at least to begin with. A five-to-seven year life cycle isn’t just expected for consoles; it’s an industry standard that consumers demand. If things aren’t handled properly, non-gamers are going to be confused by all the similar-sounding options and existing Xbox One owners will be openly resentful. It’s a situation that isn’t lost on Loftis.

“I’ve actually had a couple of people come up to me already and say: “that’s a whole lot of stuff! What am I supposed to make of all this?” Well, what we want people to realise is that it’s all about giving gamers choice — choice of which game they want to play today and where they want to be in the Xbox console family.

“The nice thing about this hardware innovation chain we’re starting is that we’re committed to compatibility. So if current Xbox One gamers decide they want to move to Scorpio, their games, their friends and their accessories all move with them. We’re making a promise of continued innovation without disrupting gamer’s experiences.”

Loftis said that Microsoft would be relying on its retail partners and marketers to get the message across to mainstream consumers. The price point and packaging of each system should also help to clue in Xbox newbies.

The main thing to remember is that they all play the same games and everything just works. Or as Loftis puts it: “People are going to come into stores with a specific experience in mind and there will be an Xbox there for them.”

Life after Scorpio

We asked Loftis to sum up exactly how this new business model benefits consumers compared to what we’re used to. Here’s what she said:

“It’s the guarantee of a stable community, as much choice as you can possibly want and a forward-compatibility so the investments you make today with games and accessories will pay off over years to come.”

Years to come? Does this mean we can expect a sequel to Project Scorpio in another few years’ time? And then another? And another? Loftis played it coy, but hinted that this was indeed the case:

“Watch this space! Let’s see how this first step goes.”

Hmm. We’re of two minds about this sped-up manufacturing cycle. On the one hand, it’s going to destroy the simple, unified nature of consoles. Sure, the games might work on every machine but some people will be getting a better experience than others. How this will affect multiplayer titles in anyone’s guess. Then there’s the need to blow hundreds of bucks on a minor console upgrade every few years. For cash-strapped gamers, that’s a bitter pill to swallow.

On the other hand, it will probably work out cheaper than a PC GPU upgrade and will enable the Xbox platform to keep up with PCs on a technical level. Crucially, new release games will continue to work if you decide to stick with what you’ve got. So nobody is being forced into anything.

Is this good for console gaming? Is it terrible? Gah, we just don’t know any more!

Kotaku flew to E3 as a guest of Microsoft.


  • PCs becoming consoles, consoles becoming PCs. Dogs and cats gaming together.

    Batten down the hatches, the end of days draws near!

  • Cut through the crap and it’s clearly still a console war, but now it’s a fight between ecosystems, not plastic boxes.

    I just did the rigmarole of upgrading my PC, and while it’s exactly what I want specs-wise and I am playing the stuff I want to play, I refuse to drink the kool-aid. My 3DS offers up more of the games I clamour for than this 4WD I just plugged into my gaming room.

    I dread the fact I’m expected to have libraries – of games installed or uninstalled depending on SSD space – spread across half a dozen accounts when the biggest PR spin for the PC as a platform is having everything centralised from the get-go.

    I hope and hope the NX has cartridges, because this method is proven, it works, and it’s great for me, the end user. Just one of the many positives the console can still offer.

    • I figured the next physical MEDIUM for gaming is USB since the ps3 announced. The only reason I think bluray was chosen was the multimedia aspect. That and high capacity usbs still cost a lot more per item.

    • Just one of the many positives the console can still offer.

      Sounds like you are just drinking a different kind of Kool-aid to me.

    • it just sounds like you dont PC very well.
      you’re not expected to have anything you dont want as a PC user.
      its customisable to what you want. the only reason someone really complains about their computing experience is because they have put them selves in that position.

  • So… Basically following the pick-and-choose principle behind Steam boxes (only with a shittier UI and smaller library). I can respect that.

      • That is debateable. I have been playing Doom 3 and overwatch competitively with my steam controller. Yeah you need to get used to it, but as a M+KB guy, it is easier to get used to than an XBox controller. Try doing the doom challenge levels on PC with an XBox controller, it is near impossible. Steam controller cops flak from people who have never spent time with one, but it is an excellent controller.

    • Shittier UI? Compared to steam the Xbones UI is designed by a mastermind! Steams design needs to get out of the 1970s..

  • I feel like this has been on the cards for years. With the way phones and PCs and tech in general is so incrementally upgraded and improved, it feels like. 5-7 year console cycle is so arcane. I’m surprised we aren’t already there with consoles.

  • The only way I see this working is committing to locked frame rates. So what ever version of the Xbox console I buy I’m going to get the same game running at a locked and stable frame. Yes, the graphics could be way worse on one of them, but the experience and the game play should be identical.

    I’m worried they’ll design around the highest specs, then just quickly make a paired back version for the lower console leaving it with an un-optimised experience.

    • The un-optimised experience is what PC’s do currently though?

      No way is everyone running GTX 9xx series + cards on their PC now – Why do we not care if someone is running a GTX650ti on a PC but we care about it on a console?

      Genuinely interested about this…
      I remember playing Morrowind at 20fps and having a blast – it was as good as my PC could run it at the time I could’ve upgraded or not played it – my choice and couldn’t care less what others were playing.

      If you want to run it on high you get a Scorpio, if you are content or cash strapped you stay at medium/low – exactly the way PC gaming is right now so why is it OK for the PC model but not console? Presumably your current Xbox one graphics are not going to get worse – you will just change from running games on high to medium – same as you do in a PC video card lifecycle…

      • The difference is on a PC I can adjust my settings to optimise the experience myself. I can choose if I want a smooth 60fps with lower graphics or I can crank up the graphics but run at a horrible 20-30fps with screen tearing.

        And to use your example of Morrowind at 20fps, I would be pissed if they released a game on Scorpio that ran at a locked 30fps but on the standard Xbox One in ran at 20fps. I know some people aren’t fussed about frame rates, but for me there is nothing that takes me out of the experience more than a chugging frame rate and screen tearing.

        • They would lower settings I think – not run at 20fps, my example was just to illustrate that not everyone runs everything at max settings on PC and somehow the world carries on 🙂

          At least with this console model though you could update and not have to wait a few years due to the longevity of the current lifecycles – also helps by keeping consoles relatively “on par” with PC’s which is what the master race wanted…

          • The fact that a lot of PS3/360 games couldn’t hold a steady 30fps I’m not full of confidence with this! 🙂

  • As much as I’d like to see it work I have my doubts. The XBOX One controller situation has shown that players are open to this stuff to a degree, but I don’t think it’ll work on a console scale. Console gamers are very conservative. The PS2 dominated through solid fundamentals. The PS3 sold itself as a video player, which played a huge part in it’s fall from ‘the obvious upgrade’ to ‘behind the follow up to Microsoft’s $4b loser’. The XBOX One sold itself as an all in one and paved the way for Sony to win a million conversions by saying ‘we like gamers’ without really having to do anything.
    I think too many gamers will see this and try to fit it into their existing ideas about how consoles upgrade. The slim makes sense to them because they’ve seen it before, but the Scorpio is too much like a new console… so Microsoft must be replacing the XBOX One already. That’s bad thus Scorpio = Microsoft doing something bad.

    That said I can see why this makes sense to Microsoft. I’m guessing they’ve realised that generational upgrades are a huge gamble. XBOX 360 sales don’t mean XBOX One sales. By embracing forward comparability and removing the generation change they stand a chance of building a share of the market that they can hold onto.
    I mean if computers worked the way consoles do Apple would have destroyed Windows during the iPod era. Microsoft would have sent everybody into the computer store and said ‘ok, your Windows XP computers are out of date and need to be replaced, so please buy a Vista machine,’ at which point a billion Macs would have been sold and they’d be stuck waiting for the next scheduled upgrade to fight back.

  • It makes a lot of sense from a consumer base point of view.
    Like what was the potential customer base for developers for the 360 compared to the XBone when it first released. It makes it hard and expensive to transition to the next generation when you are basically starting a new installer base from scratch every generation.
    With MS doing this their Xbox install base can only ever grow. They clearly lost their lead moving from 360 to One but now the One can only grow, if in 3 machines time it’s still the same user base not devided, not refreshing each cycle.

  • good news for PC gamers and consoles

    means we wont have to put up with the hardware thats 5 years old and we can start using higher quality again

  • Crucially, new release games will continue to work if you decide to stick with what you’ve got. So nobody is being forced into anything.

    I smell trouble… Longer term I can’t see how this is going to work?

    At what point do the developers decide to stop supporting previous generations of hardware? Presumably, it’ll be locked in to an OS update (ala iOS), so what about folks who don’t have an internet connection that allows them to update (quota, bandwidth etc)? Will OS upgrades be on the discs, the same way the Wii’s were?

    For me the hard sell will be to mum and dad buyers. They see the console as a plug and play proposition for the next 5 years. It’ll take a long time to change the idea in the mass market that consoles are like our phones, fitbits or TVs.

    Wait and see what the next few years brings…

  • Xbox is actively trying to emulate the PC upgrade philosophy

    I remember the days when you bought a console to avoid the PC upgrade mentality.

    • That was well before the time when there were gaming websites spending article after article comparing the graphic standards of each console/game and it was all just about whether a game was fun or not. It was a easier time back then.

  • A rolling SKU model seems far more advantageous to MS than the consumer. At this point you basically have one of the main sticking points of PC gaming (frequent upgrades), but with a closed ecosystem. Sounds shit to me.

    Then again – they’ve pull it off with phones.

    • I think in most cases, though, people tend to use their phones a lot more than their consoles. Your phone is within reach pretty close to 24/7, we use it almost without noticing half the time these days. People are more willing to fork out the extra money for something they use that much.

      The console sits under the TV and gets turned on for a couple of hours each night, maybe a bit longer on the weekend. It’s harder to justify forking out another $500-600 (if not more) every 2-3 years for that. And a great many of hte people who are willing to go in for that kind of upgrade cycle are probably already committed PC gamers.

  • I don’t fully understand. once this new console comes out will they be making games for that exclusively while still making xb1 games? I just don’t get.

    • No, mate.

      Games will work on both the XB1 and the Xbox Scorpio. The games aren’t being made exclusively for either console and will be playable on both with a slightly better performance (graphical?) on the new Scorpio.

    • No, they are saying that all xbox games will play on all models One and up (this philosophy has been proven to fail so many times it not funny)

      • So… if its not going to get its own games then whats the purpose of it? I can belive that the games are going to look/run a heap better when they are interchangeable? It just seems like a bad idea

        • You and me both buddy, but that’s the plan! Because the state of PC gaming is what the industry should be emulating 😉

        • Think of it like a graphic card upgrade. Everyone is still playing the same games but if you care about graphics you can spend more on the fancier XBOX One to play with the graphics set to Ultra.

          I think one thing they’re failing to highlight that’s causing confusion is that this isn’t intended for everybody. It’s like their expensive controller. If you care about it buy the expensive one, if you don’t just stick with the regular. You’re not expected to upgrade to the Scorpio or the one after that or the one after that. No matter which XBOX One you buy you’ll be able to play all the XBOX One games.

          That’s not to say I think this is a good idea. I don’t know what they’re planning to do to keep the system requirements under control. It’s not like a PC where you can blame someone’s hardware for poor performance even if they meet the recommended settings. Microsoft are putting themselves in a position where if the game runs fine on the Scorpio and bad on the original they’re going to have to take partial responsibility.

          • Yeah ok, that does make some sense, Never thought about it like a PC game that runs on many different machines/hardware. I guess its just an odd concept for console gaming. Will be interesting to see how this plays out. I’m not going to lie I’m kinda a crazy person that buys everything so I’ll like still get one anyway lol. Thanks for the reply

  • As someone who just lived thru the last transition it’s great news

    I rebought 4 games this gen (GTA V, Dark Souls II, PvZ GW and Borderlands 2) because I wanted to continue to play them, the idea of them working on whatever future model of Xbox I buy is great and I expect PS4 with its similar architecture to follow the same path

    • Except in 5 years time when you’re complaining how shit the new CoD looks because it was developed to work on the last 5 years worth of consoles.

      • With that in mind, it’s gonna be real interesting to see how this all pans out.

        Because it’s not just a case of changing the graphics settings to low or high that makes a difference in how developers make games.

        Advanced AI features might end up being toggled features or downloaded day-one upper-end console patches that the lower-end xbones don’t have to download.

        Everything costs resources. Every advanced thing that devs try to do costs, and when you’re working with older technology, you have a tighter resource budget. So yeah, I’m expecting that it will actually be a case of newer games with more ambitious functionality will end up looking worse than xbone launch titles because they’re trying to do too much else and had to drop th graphics to compensate for it.

        It’s not like we don’t have hints of precedent for this… just look at Destiny. It’s an evolving last and current gen title. And there’s a growing fear for the last-genners and an overwhelming shrug from everyone else that the divergence point is going to soon arrive (apparently the next expansion) where the game can no longer hold itself back for the old titles.

        Just like iOS devices, new games will require iOS 9 or whatever, and older devices – like the 4S – simply won’t be able to participate anymore. That will be the end-point. The, “Sorry, forwards-compatibility has its limits, and this is yours.”

        • I for one would rather have the industry’s finest working on ways to push graphics, AI etc forward on platforms like Scorpio rather than being forced into working miracles with prehistoric hardware like we saw at the end of the last console generation.

        • Yeah, the problem with the Apple comparisons is we are now used to phones only lasting a year or two because of batteries, most phones are rat shit after 2 years and so need to be replaced for most people. Not to mention phones are available subsidised in most countries via providers.

          Change that to consoles, where people will expect the xbone to still perform I’m 3 years because the consumer paid full price for a product they expected to get their moneys worth out of it, because the console is still running fine (fingers crossed) so why shouldn’t the games when they were promised backwards compatibility?

          As your examole goes, Destiny isnt even 2 years old and already having to cut its less powerful brethren off. I’m sure people are already pissed off at that, imagine in 2 years time when the latest CoD has to cut the xbone 18 months after launch because it got patched out of spec after Microsoft have made these grand promises.

          Consumers are wary creatures and you do not win favours by saying oh well buy the new one 2 years after making a $600+ purchase. No matter if that’s reasonable or not.

  • A five-to-seven year life cycle isn’t just expected for consoles; it’s an industry standard that consumers demand.

    Except it’s not. The average life cycle is 5 years. That’s it. The only reason people think a consoles life is so long is because the previous generation lasted for 8 years.

  • The best games on console come a few years in when developers are comfortable and getting the most from the hardware. Yeah you’ll have a faster machine but will you be getting the most from it? I’m not sure how I feel yet.

  • What happens when we get another 2-3 years down the track and the REAL next gen consoles come along (PS5 and XBox Two or whatever they end up calling it – I actually doubt MS will be wanting to have the number 2 associated with their console :P)? I.e. when they make the break from the old gen and games for those new consoles won’t run on the old models (even on the Neo / Scorpius versions)?

    Now that we all know that there’s going to be this mid-generation upgrade, who is going to buy a new console at launch instead of waiting for the new and improved version a couple of years later? I think that Sony and MS are both shooting themselves in the foot in the longer term with this approach.

    • If they go through with this MS are clearly trying to end the “generational” console cycle. They are attempting to do what Apple did with phones, iterative rather than generational, it’s gonna suck!

    • I’m guessing at this point we see XBOX Gen II. It’ll be both a Scorpio style upgrade and a new console. Essentially a new console generation where the next XBOX plays the previous generations games without backwards compatibility as well as the new ‘Gen II’ range of games. They’re going to have to work extremely hard to convince people that Gen II won’t turn into Gen III any earlier than an average console generation.

      The best example I can think of is the GameBoy line. You’ve got the GameBoy, Super GameBoy, GameBoy Pocket, GameBoy Colour and the Colour Pocket, which all used the GameBoy carts. No fuss, just jam a GameBoy cart in and go. Then you go to the GameBoy Advance, GBA Micro, that other one and the GameCube Adaptor which played everything before it and the new exclusive GBA games. After that you’ve got the DS which originally had a GB/GBA slot. Then there’s the various DS’ growing up to the 3DS, which still plays original DS games.
      Imagine playing Fable 3 on the XBOX One just like any other XBOX One game. No trace of the XBOX 360. Resolution bumped the way the PC does it. Even the controller button icons switching from 360 to XBOX One. Being able to play a ‘game’ rather than a XBOX 360 or XBOX One game is one of the better aspects of playing on PC. I’m not overly optimistic about Microsoft doing that for consoles but who knows?

      • Actually the Micro didn’t play GB or GBC games. I’m actually not sure that the GB Player did either. The DS definitely didn’t though. And there were GBC games which wouldn’t work on a GB or Super GB (and GBP, pretty sure), too. And you also had the DSi range which dropped the GBA slot, meaning they were incompatible with a number of DS games that utilised peripherals there, and also introduced region locking on the few DSi-enhanced games that existed (I think there were only three or so). Which is kinda similar to what we have now with the n3DS line and its enhanced hardware.

        So basically it’s probably going to be a clusterfuck too 😛

      • I mentioned it above, but I reckon it’s going to work out something like the iOS ecosystem.

        Many – but not all – new titles simply don’t work on iOS 7 or lower. The iPhone 4S can’t install iOS 8 or higher. The 4S can’t run certain new titles. There wasn’t any particular announcement about the start or end of that ‘generation’… it’s just started to be gradually phased out, title by title. And now it can’t play with the big kids anymore.

        Forwards compatibility has its limits, and the 4S is reaching the end of its limits.

        I’m fully expecting to see xbone back-of-the-box game packaging which lists which model xbones can run it.

  • If I wanted a pc… I’d buy a pc. This isnt really getting at why I want a console in the first place. And I happen to enjoy the huge console reveals come along, I dont really want a “rolling” lifecycle.

    • Well as their games are coming to PC it sounds like Microsoft don’t care too much if you buy an Xbox, as long as you buy their games.

  • Loftis: “choice of which game they want to play today and where they want to be in the Xbox console family.” To address these in order: People buy consoles so they can play any damn game that is made for it. This leads to the matter of where they want to be in the family: Not the littlest one. I left PCs to avoid exactly this kind of stuff.

      • The Neo sounds like a massive play to me, force Microsoft into showing their hand before Sony commits to their next play. The rumours of the Neo came well before the Scorpio, yet saw no mention at E3 unlike Microsoft’s massive reveals.

        If Sony forced Microsoft to show their hand early (which it sounds like they did seeing as Microsoft is on the back foot again trying to defend it’s hardware decisions) so they can now sit back, watch the community punch it’s way to its general consensus on the idea and go well we are doing something different because you hate Scorpio, or we are doing the same thing but better and clearer because you lived Scorpio.

        • IF you stick with the current paradigm, the Neo is a great play. The PS4 is dominating the xbone by virtue of the fact that for every ‘good’ exclusive the xbone has, the PS4 has one too (IMO PS4 actually has more), which puts the deciding factor to multi-platform titles… which almost universally run slightly better on the PS4. Xbone is the default 2nd place, and is only surviving on brand power from its huge early gains made in the 360 era.

          This is NOT a dumb idea on Microsoft’s part to try and change that paradigm. On the contrary, it’s pretty much the only thing they can do.

          Sony’s playing tic-tac-toe and got to start first, right now. They’re winning, right now. Double the hardware sold. They’re happy to continue as-is. Microsoft have to be the ones to make a move. But if they DO make a move, Sony can afford to wait just long enough to trump it slightly but convincingly on power and continue the existing paradigm of superiority-by-default on multi-platform, cementing their ongoing sales victory.

          Microsoft HAS to change the rules of the game. Publishers and developers aren’t going to hand them a generation-winning streak of xbone exclusives.

          You mentioned above that the problem with the Apple iOS device rolling upgrade paradigm is that the customer expectation is that they’ll get more than 18 months out of their console, citing 2yrs as too short. Do you know when the xbone came out? 2 and a half years ago. It’ll have been out for 3 yrs when the S(lightly-upgraded version but not really) comes out. It will probably be 4yrs by the time the Scorpio lands. Maybe 3.5. That’s not a short time. The 8yr cycle only happened once and everyone was over it by then, frustrated as hell. Xbone to S? 3yrs. Xbone to Scorpio… 3.5? 4? Meet them halfway and start rolling out obsolescence at 5yrs and you have a perfect time period.

          Yes, there will be some particularly noisy people upset about a console generation only lasting 5yrs instead of 8, because take the example of Destiny/360 where there are people whining about losing support for their I SHIT YOU NOT TEN AND A HALF YEAR OLD CONSOLE. But those people can and should safely be ignored because they were never, ever going to be happy with any obsolescence whatsoever, and are in the minority.

          Now, if you factor in some ‘limited’ forwards-compatibility, this means that in order to attain a 5yr lifespan for the xbone, new titles developed for the S and Scorpio only have to support xbone vanilla for another 1-2yrs. And who hasn’t been expecting the xbone to get viable titles for the next 2 years? They’ll quite likely chug along for another 4 or 5yrs, maybe even until the frickin’ Capricorn or whatever Scorpio’s successor is, 3yrs after Scorpio.

          Additionally, if they follow the iOS model, they don’t even need to establish any fixed cut-off date. Halo 6 will work on XB1, XB1:S, and Scorpio, for example. Halo 7 may not run on the XB1 vanilla, but it’ll work on XB1:S, Scorpio, and Capricorn. By that point we’re in year 6 or 7 and people expect it. But that doesn’t mean people need to throw out their XB1s, because for example, Overwatch 2 will launch on it. Everything that would’ve launched on what was formerly XBLA will still work on it. You can go title-by-title for your obsolescence.

          By switching the model to something faster, and fixing their focus on both forwards and backwards compatibility, they expand their ‘current’ install base in ways that the Playstation’s paradigm (currently) can’t. And with PC/Win10 crossplay becoming a real thing, they get more opportunities to expand their user-base for exclusives and shore up their brand.

          Playing on the same platform as your friends is a very real and very desirable sales factor for publishers. It generates word-of-mouth sales, combats piracy by having people log in to auth servers, and extends sales tails for older titles significantly. Internally they call it ‘social pressure’, and it is one of the huge reasons behind Always Online, the death of dedicated servers, social achievements, log-in bonuses, shoe-horned multiplayer where it doesn’t belong, etc. Letting people play with their friends on PC and Xbone means that people who can’t afford the PC race but want to play with their PC friends on a console will only be choosing Microsoft’s entry.

          I’m predicting that backward/forward compatibility and cross-platform play is going to be where Sony needs to shift their focus in response to Microsoft’s attempt to change the rules of the game.

          This is a strong play by Microsoft if they can see it through.

  • The big thing that a lot of people here are forgetting is Scorpio is for 4K and VR. If you are not going to be using those formats, then I doubt the upgrade will be worth it. Initially, I think Developers will probably just upscale their Xbox one games to 4K (or downscale if the develop for 4K). This will not have a huge impact on development as they already scale textures for different settings on the PC.

    All the person at the store has to ask is two simple questions, 1 – do you have a 4K tv (Scorpio), 2 – Do you want to just watch 4K content (slim), and if the first two are no, then it’s the original Xbox one. Simple really.

    • Nah, those are just gimmicks, not driving sales factors. Not even Microsoft care about those distinctions enough to even mention them, let alone have anyone competent clarify that it’s their central sales point.

      This is about power, and about not being the second-best-by-default, to try and catch up on the devastating lead Sony has right now.

  • It’s obvious why we have the useless Xbox One S. Simply put, it was already in the pipeline when MS got wind of Sony’s NEO plans, which they considered could sink the Xbox brand entirely.

    Picture it: MS announce the vapid Xbox One S, Sony announce the PS4 Neo with yet even more power for 1080p gaming than the current Xbox, and it could have sunk Xbox

    The simplest answer is usually the right one. The best news for gamers in all this is that both Sony and MS are being forced to correct laughable hardware decisions for the current gen.

Show more comments

Comments are closed.

Log in to comment on this story!