The smartphone market had more of an influence in the inception of the Scorpio than you would think.
The Xbox One Scorpio is a concept that could very well rewrite the entire playbook for consoles, shifting the paradigm beyond discrete hardware generations. It’s an interesting notion, allowing an upgrade to existing hardware on the market, all while maintaining compatibility. But what prompted Microsoft to look into something like this in the first place?
Common wisdom has been that the failure of the Xbox One made Microsoft want to move on from this generation as soon as possible, without alienating the millions of people who had invested money into an Xbox One already. However, speaking to The Guardian, Microsoft engineer Mike Ybarra said that the reason Microsoft made the Scorpio was because customers ‘expect’ something like it at this point.
“In the phone market, people are more used to upgrading fast and wanting the latest of everything,” he said. “But with phones, your new apps had better work on that phone and the next one. According to what they’re telling us, the consumer expectation is: games and apps had better work even if I upgrade.
“We’re looking at the console business and asking how do we provide that choice to users? It resonates with them because other devices are doing that.”
He also noted that maintaining compatibility – something that has traditionally been a sticking point in console generation transitions for everyone not named Nintendo – was something that Microsoft prioritized with the Scorpio.
“Compatibility has always been the thing that makes console generations define themselves: when you leave one and got to the next, you give up your games, you usually give up the hardware or throw it in a closet–that’s what we want to remove,” Ybarra explained. “We’re focusing more on how do we deliver gaming in a boundless way to our players. We announced three platforms–today’s Xbox One, Xbox One S, and Scorpio. We’re giving gamers the choice to say, ‘I want to invest in these particular games and this particular hardware, and I want those to work going forward, I don’t want to have to worry about giving that up.'”
This is all good, and it is something I have been saying ever since the very idea of iterative consoles was first floated near the beginning of this year. It is good to see that the people in charge of steering the future of this industry also agree with me there. The Xbox One Scorpio is due out in Holiday 2017.