Sometime in the fall of this year Microsoft will begin selling the Xbox One Scorpio. Scorpio is not the final name of the new upgraded console. This year For those that don’t know, both Sony and Microsoft have offered up upgrades to their existing consoles the PS4 & Xbox One. The PS4 Pro launched by Sony in the winter of 2016 is an upgrade that is fantastic from a hardware perspective, but it offers very little from the base PS4 that. The issue is that Sony is in a much more positive lucrative position than the Xbox One from Microsoft. Even though it is powerful the 4K capability of the PS4 Pro is insignificant in native images, but uses some really good tech that the console can really do things better than a base PS4. The use of a technique called checkerboard rendering allows for a very solid upscale of an image from already very good resolution to 4K. 4k is important because right now it is the latest format in the television space that is driving the adoption of new tech. The visual standard is higher than 1080p. A format that not to long ago was the holy grail of visual fidelity. On console we have not seen a truly 1080p game with 60 frames per second be a solid experience in games. To a large degree we have not seen the full potential of 1080p gaming content on console, so there is still room to grow, not to mention resolution that is higher but not 4K quality as well. The content for 4K is far from mature from television to gaming the format is still in it’s early stages. This is where Microsoft comes in with the Xbox One Scorpio. Build as a premium console, made for gamers who are looking for a more robust console experience Microsoft will introduce the most powerful console created. The question is, can Xbox One Scorpio push gaming forward?
Games are the answer if you were wondering if the Xbox One Scorpio can push gaming forward. The answer was in the question. Ultimately its up to developers and publishers with a gaming buying community to also believe in the created products. At the same time Microsoft has to showcase a console that has the grit and power to give developers tools along side assets to make their vision possible on the console. So far, in terms of dealing with developers and publishers the hints, and statements by some in that arena point to the Xbox One Scorpio being a significant upgrade. With better tools, Microsoft has returned with the Xbox One Scorpio to being a better partner to developers. Instead dictating a direction they are ask for developers to join them in their journey. This is very much key for Microsoft to do for the development community. Some of the recent news has been Microsoft creating a Netflix like subscription service that is built on top of Xbox Live. A very smart idea where anyone with an Xbox platform can play any game they want for $10 a month. This opens the door for gamers, parents, friends, and extended family to be less stressed with buying game titles that now you have access to a huge library at any given time. The benefit is that you get play whatever you want. The bad is the fact that its not a given that you will play the same games all the time. Although Microsoft is looking to alleviate the problem by understanding the data that will ultimately come as a result of people playing titles, and which have the audience.
How can the Xbox One Scorpio push gaming forward? Microsoft’s issue with regards to gaming is that do not have a wide breathe of flagship first party titles compared to Sony. The problem is that cultivating a flagship title takes time and a focus on genre redefinition which is where Microsoft struggles in their gaming evaluations. When you take a look at Forza, Halo, and Gears. Each one of those titles has a specific focus within the genres they are in, and have innovated in them. Now if you look at genres such as RPG, Action Adventure, even sports. Microsoft Studios have not really looked at other genres and said, let’s either make a gem in the category or buy one we believe in. You take a look at the genres that Sony’s PlayStation brand have had immense success with. It is in the action adventure category mainly where single player experiences dwell. At the same time Sony has had quite a while to allow some of their most talented developers work on titles. Some hit, some miss, but the main thing is that Sony’s developers are always looking to define a genre. Microsoft does have other titles from some great studios, and those games along with the developers who should be looking to define their games on the Xbox One, PC, and Scorpio going forward if the gaming ecosystem of blockbuster games is going to have a strong presence. Not to mention with the success of third party association “Rise Of The Tomb Raider” Microsoft would be wise to cherry pick. Killer Instinct 3 which is always gets forgotten is the best example of focus from Microsoft. So much so that the game is easily the best fighting game title this generation. Besting Sony’s PS4 exclusive Street Fighter 5 easily.
From a technologies stand point Microsoft constantly has innovated with features. Now it’s going to be proving tech like cloud compute, and a title like Crackdown 3 due this year to show us what can be done with existing IP, and genres that we have not seen before. Microsoft has to constantly at every turn make sure they are showcasing their technology in both a social community way and gaming content way as well. It’s a large feat, but to be honest as a software company, Microsoft’s Xbox division should be looking at game software as challenge to master. These two areas have to be the primary focus for the Xbox One Scorpio even as a premium console to qualify itself not just as worth while purchase; but as an offering that paradigm shifts Add to dictionary against not just it’s direct rivals, but industries like mobile. Showcasing in one way won’t be able to help. Is the Xbox division aware? All signs point to yes, and doing more is a mantra playing itself out now. The PS4 has a very large lead in terms of sales and exclusive game content. The Xbox family of products need first party titles, and my hope is that the find the right mix. It’s far to easy to think that the President of the Xbox division does not know this.
Judging Microsoft by what they have done with the Elite Xbox One controller which found a great audience. There is no doubt that Microsoft’s Xbox division and Phil Spencer have a chance to capture gamers imagination in a way that is unique. Phil has been very clear, as well as sober in what the Project Scorpio console platform is meant to be. Which for that dedicated gamer who is looking for a bit more in more performance and features. Knowing that there is a market for it. One that is not totally driven by the politic pricing of a regular console release. In this regard, the Xbox Scorpio is leagues ahead of what Sony has put on offer with the PS4 Pro. Phil Spencer also knows that it is critically important to put a formidable line up of games on Scorpio that are a showcase. The question is have they learned from the recent past, meet the expectations of gamers who want them to succeed, and are ready to purchase the console day one? Has they first party publishing arm honed in on what genres need attention, and developers that have been cultivated for the experience task of redefining Xbox gaming for a new generation of games, tech, and gaming? We will see in fall/winter 1017.