This Week In The Business: Scorpio's Price May Sting

"I estimate the basic hardware will cost around $US650 ($867), so if Microsoft wants any kind of margin at all, Scorpio will have to retail for $US700 ($933) or more." That's IDC analyst Lewis Ward, bracing for a bit of sticker shock on Project Scorpio.

QUOTE | "At the end of the day we are still a consumer product. We want to hit the price-points where consumers want to purchase this. It's about balancing the two." - Kevin Gammill, Group Program Director of the Xbox Core platform, emphasises that Microsoft understands the need to keep Scorpio's price down.

QUOTE | "We learned you can dig a really big hole and just pour money into it and it never stops." - Coldwood Interactive creative director Martin Sahlin, on what the Unravel studio learned from its ill-fated, VC-funded free-to-play project OnGolf.

QUOTE | "We got the code across onto Switch - or at least certain parts of it - in a matter of hours, so we started becoming more confident that we could achieve what we wanted and within the timescales we were looking at. Within seven days, we had it fully playable." - Sumo Digital business development director Ian Richardson shares the not-so-winding path Snake Pass took in its port to the Nintendo Switch.

QUOTE | "We're human beings and there's a lot of research out there that shows we're actually a lot happier when we get exercise, when we go outside - and outside in nature in particular. I think it's a problem for us as a society if we forgo that and spend all of time in a Ready Player One-style VR universe." - John Hanke, CEO of Pokemon Go developer Niantic, has concerns about VR becoming too good for our own good.

QUOTE | "You see the world in a slightly different way when you're trying to break things all the time." - A quote attributed to former FuturLab production assistant and QA tester Dave Gabriel, who stepped up and helped the studio get over some key hurdles on its first VR project. Gabriel has since been promoted to designer.

STAT | 26% - Respondents in a survey of VR professionals who said their VR business posted disappointing growth in 2016. 46% said their growth was strong or very strong.

QUOTE | "I would not see it as a Prey game. I would see it as a game from Arkane that is called Prey. The name is a really good name, and that's the part that matters." - Arkane Studios lead designer Ricardo Bare explains why the studio's upcoming Prey is named Prey, even though it retains essentially none of the key elements of the original Prey, or its cancelled sequel Prey 2.

QUOTE | "The real adventure was actually to make the game and sign with a publisher that wasn't dead by the time of the release. The first three publishers died, the fourth was the right one." - Frogwares CEO Waël Amr discusses the challenge of getting the Ukranian studio's successful Sherlock Holmes series off the ground.

QUOTE | "If you decide to stream past [the in-game date] 7/7 (I HIGHLY RECOMMEND NOT DOING THIS, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED), you do so at the risk of being issued a content ID claim or worse, a channel strike/account suspension." - Atlus threatens players to follow the company's streaming guidelines for Persona 5.

QUOTE | "If you disagree with everyone in the room, it might be because you have a vision." - Team17 CEO Debbie Bestwick offers some advice during a keynote address at the London Games Festival's Games Finance Market.


    Obviously way too expensive. I thought we were past the days that consoles cost 1000 bucks. My crystal ball tells me people won't flock to this when the PS4 has better games by some margin, and at the end of the day the games matter the most.

      Your crystal ball is cracked.

      A large part of any high price is due to the weak-ass aussie dollar. Also there’s inflation to consider when comparing the old “$1000 console price”. In 2000 the PS2 was $1000 that’s $1500 in todays value. In 2006 the PS3 at $1000 would be $1270 now. So if the Scorpio is $1000 it’s actually $100’s cheaper the previous $1000 consoles which did ya notice were all Sony. The only reason the PS4 was more affordable is because it was coming out the same time as direct competition (XB1). BTW in 2000 folks were lining up to pay $1000 for a PS2 so how is it “way too expensive” when it’s actually less by inflation & earnings now or is it only “way too expensive” when it’s not Sony.

      PS4 has better games.. you mean exclusives like Tomb Raider with robot dinosaurs (Horizon).. Naughty Dogs cgi movies that you barely contribute as a player in.. Hideo Kojima’s WTF fest aka Death Stranding.. Gran Turismo is good, but it’s been matched by Forza for years now. On the other hand XB1 exclusives like INSIDE are a critics darling (avg 93%), Gears of War is a juggernaut & Sunset Overdrive is an absolute hoot. Even in non exclusive games xbox won out like better unrestricted mods with Fallout 4.

      ps I’m not some xbox fanboy considering until last year I played on PS 1, 2 & 3 exclusively for almost 20 years.

        The talk about inflation without talking about wage increases is silly. Sure things have gone up, but wages have not kept pace. If anything 1000 dollar console now is less appealing then it was then. And it was not appealing at all.

      It's not meant for mass adoption, Phil Spencer has been real clear saying that it is for the hardcore dedicated fanbase who want cutting edge console gaming(oxymoron I know). They're aiming for the same people who are happy to spend $200 for the Elite controller(Like me).

      it is unfortunate that this message isn't being explained by journalist and instead it is constantly compared it to mass adoption products.

    MS exclusives are generally pretty bad and no longer console sellers. If they want to price the Scorpio at a premium above the pro it better be able to do what the pro cannot or they are just having a laugh. More than $699? LOL!

      Didn't the first two playstations launch at something like $800+?

        A very long time ago. These days it just doesnt work. As I replied down to Weresmurf, this would have to literally crap all over the Pro to justify the extra $450 they are suggesting.

          There was a spec breakdown I saw awhile ago that seems to do that. But how the games look will tell. Do enough people have 4K TV's to justify it? How many PS4 Pros have sold. Would be interesting to see these numbers.

          Having neither of these, I would lean towards PS as having better games.

      So what you're saying is that everyone wants power but they don't want to pay for it?

        Not at all. What I am saying is unless the power under the hood realistically represents a 40%+ increase in power, quality or performance in games over the Pro then it does not justify a near 40%+ increase in price.

          You know as well as i do that a dollar to power comparison never works like that, not even for PC's. Once you get to a certain level of quality/ power the price jumps massively to just get that bit more. The difference between the geforce 1080 and 1080TI is about $500, its a lot.

          Random but interesting comparison i found on some website

          Xbox Scorpio: 6 TFLOPS, 326GB/s, 12GB GDDR5
          PS4 Pro: 4.12 TFLOPS, 218 GB/s, 8GB GDDR5

    Microsoft are showing some real cajones with Scorpio. I for one hope it flops, runs at a loss and Microsoft cancel the X-Box business altogether. It's so senseless having the competition between X-Box and Playstation when 90% of the market is overlapped and the remaining 10% is exclusive only for marketing reasons. The net effect of the extra platform is either a reduction in the overall game as funds are diverted to platform specific optimisation/development or a reduction in platform specific optimisation/development (usually the PC).

    Games were made better under the Nintendo/Playstation/PC era.

      And do you think Sony would bother trying to make a decent console if Microsoft wasn't around and they knew they didn't have any competition from Nintendo.

        Why wouldn't they? The market is always at it's best when there is competition, but you don't just sit on your hands and wait for someone to take your place either.

          That's pretty much exactly what most companies do when there's no competition - sit on their hands and do very little. Xerox is the classic example where they lost their market domination, but it's pretty common across the board. Companies in competitive industries invest most of their money in R&D to stay ahead of the competition; in the absence of competition that money goes to bank, dividends, bonuses and bloat instead.

            A) If Microsoft exited the console manufacturing business competition would still exist.

            B) The Playstation 2 - the most successful console in history came during a time when Sony's main competitors were Nintendo and PC. Sega also had the Dreamcast but it was known that Sega were on their last legs and I'm fairly sure before even the PS2 came out Sega had announced they were exiting that part of their business. I would dare say that the PS2 was competing mostly against PC, its predecessor and Nintendo and unknowns being in their peripheral vision.

            C) Sony would have likely produced very similar if not the same consoles regardless of the existence of the X-Box. Remember that the technology that goes into consoles is a mixture of what picking from what's already out there and working with those companies to produce tailored hardware to fit their objective. We are fortunate the the XBone and PS4 use very similar hardware and that hardware is similar to a standard PC; this is an exception to the normal but for now does reduce the strength of D.

            D) The point I was trying to make had very little to do with what Sony or Microsoft produce - it's about what game developers produce. It's simple if you have $100 to make a game and you have to make it for X platforms - something needs to give. The most obvious indicator of this constraint is when a bad port exists (which would generally exist on the PC platform but not always). The less obvious and virtually hidden from us is what developers cut out of a game to meet their constraints - which to me has resulted in a pretty stagnant gaming market. Think about why platform exclusive titles tend to be higher quality games - they may have budgets smaller but if you have $100 focused all one platform as opposed to $125 focused on 3 platforms that $100/one platform game should go further in making a quality game than that $125 divided. The cost of game development boomed after the X360 released but there are other factors which contribute to this like voice acting and I don't think there is going to be any readily available breakdown of why the overall cost has dramatically increased. However exclusivity generally yields the best games and as that gets divided then the costs are game quality, scope, innovation etc

            E) Where competition has really helped consumers has been the cost of console games having dropped. Remember those days where the release price would be > $100? How much the cost of a new title has dropped is thanks to Microsoft? I don't know. Our dollar is better, digital distribution, piracy and PC having cheaper offerings all play a part. I think when you combine all the factors together competition from the X-Box is one of the lesser players with the better dollar and digital distribution being the heavyweights.

            F) Dividing the multiplayer community. Not much needs to be said here and Microsoft are pretty much the major offender here as it has something to do with the way they demand games be authenticated.

          Foxtel is a prime example of having no competition in the market and making their customers pay/suffer for it.

      Pretty sure the entire lifespan of the Xbox they were running at at loss save for the quarter when Halo2 launched, where they scraped above the red briefly which I don't think even offset one quarter of losses.

      The 360 was killer and this time the ps4 is killer.

      they 1000000% need each other to keep them pushing for better systems. its competition and it must remain

    So 1000 plus aus? Hah. Screw that. Jeez for that get a goddamn pc.

      For $1000 it would have to be able to do [email protected] in every single game with no loss of detail. Otherwise if a lot of games are only [email protected] what advantage does it have over a $550 pro which does exactly that? Again MS does not have any exclusives to justify spending that kind of money on.

          Meh thats only Forza. I am talking about games like Red Dead Redemption 2 etc. Think you will find much harder to hit and stick to [email protected] fps in a game like that than a car game. And if they are not hitting 60fps in majority of games then its no better.

            It all depends on the dev in the end, I guess.

            Can their game reach 60fps at 4K? If not, do you sacrifice some shadow resolution and draw distance, or do you make it the prettiest game in the world at 30FPS?

            Regardless, if the insides of that console is better than the PS4 Pro, who can only run 4K games at 30FPS, then I'm very eager to see what it can do.

            Personally, I won't buy it myself cause I couldn't give a crap about resolution (still rocking an old 1366x768) but I'm sure there are people who own the Rolls-Royce of entertainment systems and are in need of something like this.

        For $1000 it would have to be able to do [email protected] in every single game with no loss of detail.

        That's an unreasonable expectation, it costs more than that on GPUs alone to get that kind of performance. That doesn't mean the power is wasted, most people play at 1080p and the extra processing power will allow for more detail in the same [email protected] bracket.

          A survey showed around six months ago that the clear, clear majority of console gamers still play their consoles in 1080p as well, and that 4k adoption rates are all but nil at this point due to exorbitant prices of televisions. 1070 cards can achieve 4k at decent rates, coupled with a powerful cpu you quite often see them pushing over the 50-60 fps mark. But I don't for one second believe we'll see the Scorpio deliver games for 'its generation' that give full resolution 4k, with maximum power from its GPU at 60+ fps. History has shown devs tend to settle for 30fps for various reasons on consoles (with only a tiny handful of outliers), and the Scorpio is unlikely to buck that trend on Scorpio native games.

            He wants a system that does [email protected] across all titles with no detail loss. Even the 1080 Ti can't do that at the moment (Toms has the Ti at 54.9 in GTA5, 59.5 in Ashes, just barely scrapes 60.1 in Witcher 3), you'd need two cards or possibly the Titan Xp (depending on benchmarks) to get that kind of behaviour consistently.

              He'll have to want a console that can do that first before he wants a pc that does that ;) But, by turning off some excess detail (which will bring it *down* to console level) you'll increase those fps's a bit anyhow.

                I'm using PC hardware as a point of comparison because console hardware pretty much is just PC hardware under the hood, with a few APU-style differences here and there.

            You can get 4k TVs for under $1000, cheaper than the Scorpio will be.

            Last edited 10/04/17 10:37 am

              Yeah you can, but a good 4k tv still costs more. I found when 1080p tv's went sub1k years back, I could get a 1080p tv for 998, (this was ages ago mind you), but most of their refresh rates etc, were kinda crappy. It's the same with 4k tv's. The cheapies will function and look alright, but the true quality ones are still up above 1k.

        in every single game with no loss of detail.

        I'm sorry, you mean Xbox One games upscaled to Scorpio. At no point in time do they say all Scorpio games will meet that requirement. Don't believe the marketing hype, it happens *every single time* where pie in the sky promises are made, yet all you get is 'pastie on the ground' realities.

          Just multi platform games I mean. I purchased a Pro to plat the multi plat games I love looking the best they can. If the multi plat games dont look or run a lot better on Scorpio than the Pro then very hard to justify the massive price difference imo.

            We've got pc, xbox one S and a PS4 Pro for the same reason. I'm not a pc master race guy at all, I'm more gaming agnostic. I just figure once the pricing goes over 1k? You're best off really kicking into that extra bracket. *However* keeping everything in perspective, I believe all these prices were put forward by an analyst or someone, and as we know, Analysts are very rarely ever right and companies enjoy taking a hit on hardware that they can make up on software anyhow :)

      Dude thinks he's getting a PC that can do Scorpio gaming performance for $1000..

      Tell him he's dreaming.

        Or he knows where to shop and buys cheap. If you think the Scorpio stats are anything special compared to current mid-range PC parts, you're dreaming :)

    And what games would people be dropping 1k for? Gears of War 4? Forza? Halo Wars 2? And... uh...

    I've run out of exclusive titles for the XBone, which says a lot stacked against PS4's Uncharted, Last of Us, Horizon Dawn, Bloodborne, Nioh, Persona 5, God of War, Final Fantasy VII Remake, Gran Turismo and so on.

    I can't think of WHY you'd want to drop 1k on a machine to play some games that, at best, are decent.

      Why would you buy a console and then only play exclusives? Scorpio would play all the cross-platform titles better than other consoles at the moment as well.

      who cares about only about exclusives?

    People will just end up going for PS4-Pro, AND it has VR option. So MS is not going to see great sales on this console for the first couple quarters because of that.

    Try explaining to a simpleton about the difference between 4.5tflop and 6tflop, they won't care when the difference in price is like $200 or something.

    MS might get some extra sales if they make it clear to customers that this console can handle true [email protected] and 60fps, no upscaling like what the PS4Pro does. But many people are still confortable with their 1080p screen resolution even thought 4k TV's have dropped well under 1000AUD.

    I think even Kogan offer a 4k 45-55" for $599 that apparently can do 60hz via hdmi2.0, can't confirm however (it is chroma 4:2:2 so not quite as good color palate).

    Last edited 10/04/17 12:27 pm

      I'm still waiting for them to reveal that this will have a VR option as well. There's no way they're just going to ignore that market entirely.

    hahaha its not gonna be a 1000 bucks, this guy was basing it off buying the parts yourself, ill stick with dfs estimate of 499 u.s

    I hope not as I remember hearing Phil Spencer say late last year, and I quote " But rest assured that the consumer cost won't be outrageous, falling in line with previous launch prices for a next-generation console." he also stated in an interview with NZ Gamer October last year this, and I quote " "I wouldn't get people worried that this thing is going to be unlike any console price you've ever seen, Scorpio will not carry a price tag that's unheard of in the console gaming world" Unquote. This may suggest that the system won't be more than $600
    PS3 was the costliest games console when it first came out and that was around $600 US, not $700, back in 2007, so I don't expect Scorpio to be more than that if he and Microsoft keep there word. I know things can change, but lets hope they stay true to their word.

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