As Xbox Scorpio teases gamers with specs and console plans, the sound of a “multi-generation” console doesn’t seem to appease many console fans.
The console wars has reached its proverbial peak and as console manufacturers Sony and Microsoft enter the new generation of gaming, they find themselves neck deep in things and features gamers want and don’t want in their products.
Gaming has really entered a new era, with 4K graphics, virtual reality, and online multiplayer starting to dominate the field. And to move forward, consoles have no choice but to keep reinventing themselves, offering something new to the players.
Microsoft has been very vocal about their entry to the future with their upcoming gaming beast, the Xbox Project Scorpio. In fact, we’ve seen the specs, the features, and the promises that go into the new Xbox console. But at the end of it all, what does the evolution of console gaming, in the form of the Xbox Project Scorpio, say about its future?
Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox, has announced over at the Xbox Wire that the Xbox Project Scorpio zooms in on two particular key aspects: power and compatibility.
Power is power, whatever angle you look at it. With all the specs Digital Foundry has unearthed from the Xbox Project Scorpio, gamers all over the world found themselves willing to shell out at as much as $499 (the price a lot of people are pegging the Xbox Project Scorpio at) for this kind of console power.
But then you talk about compatibility and a lot of people are suddenly unsure.
In an interview with Gamasutra, Phil Spencer explains what they’re trying to achieve with the Xbox Project Scorpio in terms of compatibility. Basically, Microsoft is building the Xbox Project Scorpio to be more than a console that’s tied up to a single generation of gaming. It wants to build the Scorpio to be able to let more games live longer.
Gone are the days of games dying along with their hardwares. When Microsoft came out with backward compatibility for Xbox 360 games to be playable on the Xbox One, that basically set up the stage for the so-called “multi-generational” gaming era. And that’s exactly what, Phil Spencer says, the Scorpio wants to strengthen.
“So from a development platform, we needed to think about our hardware as multi-generational. Because we said, ‘OK, there’s gonna be games that are going to live multiple generations. And our software platform really has to service a developer’s need to service an ongoing set of users.’ As much as it has to serve, you know, how do I get a disc done?”
This kind of cross-generational software compatibility, enabling older games to play on newer devices and newer games to play on older devices, is the kind of ecosystem that Microsoft is building with the Xbox One Scorpio. In fact, Spencer has not been conservative at all in likening the Xbox Project Scorpio to a modern day Windows PC.
“The thing I love about the PC ecosystem is I can still go boot up Age of Empires 2 and I can go play that game…but…console has this construct that actually makes it hard to go back and play some of those old console games. Because the format is so tied to the hardware itself.
“There are advantages to the console generations, but I wanted to try to evolve our capability to kind of have the best of both. Old games that work well, new games that are innovative, and hardware platforms that could scale.
This, very same “multi-generational” logic, however, has gamers at a crossroads. Consoles, before, operated on the basic 1-2-3 that you boot up the console, put in your game, and you’re good to go. But what has frustrated many gamers in the recent developments in the consoles, is that consoles are starting to become more like PCs—which aren’t necessarily a good thing, for some.
User Rock Omni says at Polygon that console gaming today is just not as simple as it used to be before.
“Here’s the problem, even with consoles today, there is no guarantee your game is going to work as expected. There have been a plethora of articles and reports about games with massive stuttering issues, terrible FPS drops, corrupted save games, updates deleting your progress, etc.
“On top of that, the distinction between console and PC shrinks with every generation. The ease of use and convenience of a console simply doesn’t exist anymore with proliferation of day 1 patches, game updates, firmware updates and requiring constant internet connection for most functionality and features.”
And as the barrier between the console and the PC continues to thin, some are lost on what the need is for a console in the long run. In user Layn’s words: “If it’s gonna be like a PC, might as well buy a PC. Can’t believe consoles would be worth it cost-wise with this model either.”
The fact, however, stands that some are still happy and excited about the Xbox Scorpio. While we have yet to hear about exclusive titles for the Xbox Scorpio (which, based on history, makes or breaks a console), the fact that Xbox is making a move for a device to live a little longer, makes the Project Scorpio a much more attractive investment for console fans.
Some players would have preferences on whether they would play a certain game on the PC or on the console. But what’s bothersome is being forced to drop a game because the cycle of that console has come to an end (talk about dropping support for the Xbox 360 when Xbox One started to take off).
More gamers are now willing to spend more for a better product. If Xbox Project Scorpio turns out to be the beast of a console it has touted itself to be, then whether it has “become more like a PC” or “it’s basically just an Xbox One,” there could still be demand for it—and for quite a while, too.
The Xbox Project Scorpio will be officially revealed on E3 2017, which will be happening at the Los Angeles Convention Center from June 13 to 15, 2017.
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