Should The Xbox One Scorpio Have Been A Full Fledged Next Generation System?

The Scorpio won’t be a next generation console- but what if it was?

Posted By | On 21st, Jan. 2017 Under Article, Editorials | Follow This Author @Pramath1605


I‘m on the record as saying that the iterative, upgraded consoles model is the way of the future– and I truly, really believe that, in spite of the indifference with which the PS4 Pro has been received in the market. However, the more I think about the Xbox One Scorpio, Microsoft’s upcoming planned upgrade to the existing Xbox One, the more I am convinced that from Microsoft’s perspective, at least, it might be for the best if they just rebrand and position the new system as a brand new, next generation successor system, rather than keeping it tethered to, and straddled with, the current Xbox One.

The questions and oppositions to a proposition like this are many and immediately obvious- why? Why should Microsoft do that? What would they even have to gain from doing something like this?

First, let’s start with the most basic reason that the Scorpio would be better off as a discrete, independent console that doesn’t have to worry about parity and intercompatibility with the existing Xbox One at all times- its sheer power. At this point, we know that the Xbox One will have a 6 TLOPS GPU, we know that it is possibly going to have a cutting edge, state of the art AMD Vega based CPU, and we know that rumors put it as having 12GB of RAM. This is, in every way possible, a major leap over the existing Xbox One- it is, in fact, pretty much a full on generational leap in terms of hard specs. Add to that its support for additional next generation technology, such as VR, which the existing Xbox One does not and cannot support, and the case for the Scorpio as a next generation machine becomes pretty easy to argue.

The natural and obvious question that arises then is, why are Microsoft keeping the Scorpio straddled with, and tethered to, the existing Xbox One? Even the most ardent fan and defender of the Xbox One will not deny that it is a weaker machine than the PS4- at this point, every multiplatform game performs worse on Xbox One, and the specs of the system weren’t even impressive in 2013, when they were first announced, let alone now, almost four years later. And by keeping the Scorpio tethered to this machine, Microsoft are effectively ensuring that all of its formidable resources, all of that extra power, will never actually be tapped into.

xbox scorpio

"The case for the Scorpio as a next generation machine becomes pretty easy to argue."

By mandating parity between Scorpio and Xbox One, Microsoft have ensured that all third parties will develop games for the Xbox One as a baseline first, and then just upscale those games for the Scorpio- sure, it means that the Scorpio will run games made for Xbox One at 4K resolutions and may be with Scoprio specific enhancements..that is all.There really is no actual utilization of all the extra resources the hardware brings with it to the table due to the cross platform development, and if the PS4 Pro is any indication, most third parties in such a situation will only do the bare minimum, if that (and the dynamics of install base mean that third parties should theoretically be more willing to support the Pro than they would an Xbox upgrade). That effectively means that all of the Scorpio’s excess power is going to waste- sure, Microsoft gets to have the victory for resolution in multiplat games, but that’s about it. We don’t see any actual benefits in the games we play.

But imagine if the Scorpio was truly a next gen spec for third parties to target- imagine if a third party attempting to develop for Scorpio wasn’t going to have to concern itself with paring its game down so it can run on a standard Xbox One as well. Imagine the kinds of exclusive and multi-platform games we could get, if they were made from the ground up for a Vega CPU, a 6 TFLOPS GPU, and 12GB of RAM, instead of having to concern themselves with what barely passed for midrange specs in 2013, and are pretty much on the lower end now.

Think about the kinds of games, the massive leaps forwards, we could get. Do you remember how you felt the first time you played The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Gears of War, and Dead Rising? Those games felt like true leaps forward, far ahead and beyond anything that had been achieved in any existing video game until that point. And that only happened because third parties developed those games around the Xbox 360 spec, instead of also worrying about making those games run on Xbox (in which case, at best they would have made Xbox games, and upscaled them, slamming some extra textures onto them, and called it a day; at worst, with having to support Xbox, they would have lowered themselves to supporting the PS2 and Gamecube additionally, developing for an even lower spec, and just speccing up from there- and in both cases, all three of these games would have been significantly less impressive in those cases).

The Xbox and PS2 situation is actually a really good analogue for what will happen if parity with the existing Xbox One is mandated for Scorpio. Remember how the Xbox was a major leap over the PS2, but for most third party games that it shared with the PS2, there was no real utilization of all that extra power? That’s what would happen if the Scorpio had to maintain intercompatibility with the existing Xbox One. Games would be made so they could run on an Xbox One, with cursory Xbox Scorpio features being added as an afterthought- a total waste of the machine’s capabilities.

"The Xbox and PS2 situation is actually a really good analogue for what will happen if parity with the existing Xbox One is mandated for Scorpio."

I think it’s in Microsoft’s own best interests to make the Scorpio a full fledged successor- the Xbox One will be four years old when the Scorpio is introduced (remember, even the original Xbox was able to get away with a four year life cycle without much trouble), and Microsoft themselves will have supported it with three Halo releases, two Gears of War releases, presumably five Forza releases, as well as other stuff like Sunset Overdrive, ReCore, Sea of Thieves, and Killer Instinct. Sure, the lineup is ultimately lacking in quantity and variety, especially compared to Xbox and Xbox 360, but a fan of Xbox franchises who bought the Xbox One will hardly be able to say that they were short changed. A four year lifecycle is skirting the lower edges of what is acceptable, but it’s not something that Microsoft can’t recover from- again, they have already done so once before with the Xbox to Xbox 360 transition.

So they should move on, make the Scorpio a new system, make it backwards compatible with Xbox 360 and Xbox One, sure (and hey, maybe even throw in original Xbox compatibility if they can), and make it a brand new, discrete system. Its x86 architecture will in any case be intercompatible with Xbox One and even PS4 enough that third parties can continue developing ‘cross gen games’ for a while, should they wish to, especially given just how scaleable most modern game development engines are- but its very existence will spur Sony into fast tracking a PS5, and we won’t be stuck with these consoles that weren’t even technically impressive at launch, let alone now. We’ll end up with newer, more capable hardware, that can host far more impressive games than the PS4 and Xbox One ever could. Isn’t that something you would want?

Of course, the sad part is that this is unlikely to happen. Microsoft have publicly committed themselves to full intercompatibility between the Xbox One and Scorpio, not just once, but multiple times, even recently doubling down on that stance. At this point, we know that the console is not going to be a next generation successor, but just a (far) more powerful version of the Xbox One. Microsoft are doubtless hoping that being able to claim resolution victories because of their stated target for each game to run in 4K natively will get them good press for multiplatform games, and spur gamers to purchase the system. Which, sure, is a sound strategy- but I cannot help but lament at what could have been, what might have been, had the Scorpio’s power actually been allowed to be meaningfully leveraged. Instead, we are going to be left with the most powerful gaming console in the world- but one that never quite gets to flex its muscle properly.

Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, GamingBolt as an organization.


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  • Gamingfan

    Its more powerful but doesn’t have exclusives they say. Cant wait til next week when they announce gravity rush 2 has sold 2 copies. Then they’ll say its niche and continue to damage control like they normally they do.

    Man the sony fanbase is the most hypocritical pos fanbase in gaming. Bashes paid online on xbox. It’s ok when sony charges though. Power matters. Now it doesn’t because of exclusives they don’t buy.

  • Mavericks

    If it was a full fledged console, you, Pramath, would be cursing Microsoft for the gen of Xbox One lasting just 3 years and leaving users in the hole.

    Well, if it was Nintendo or… SONY, what would you be saying? Oh, wait, PS4 Pro has a lot of problems and you say nothing about it. I know you’re a Sony fan, but you’re making this very clear with your articles.

    Start to give Microsoft the same love you give to Nintendo and Sony.

    • Mr Xrat

      Sh1ttersoft is trash and so are its toxic fanbase.

    • crazy_black_man-

      LOL

  • Mavericks
  • IDCboutu

    Scorpio and One both run a version of Windows 10. You can see the improvements that the Scorpio will bring by running PlayAnywhere games on a PC with an Rx480. The improvement is significant. Developers won’t use consoles as the baseline for the Scorpio, try will use the PC, which is the largest gaming platform on the planet.

  • Gamez Rule

    I’ve been stating something like this article goes on about for ages. Scorpio = next gen console from MS as they done something similar with XBOX and the 360 within 4 years when PS2 was selling better than XBOX and the newer consoles were 4 times (approx) power difference too.

  • Ted Joseph

    Sorry, but after purchasing the Rift and playing Arizona Sunshine, I decided to go strictly computer gaming. I have an Xbox one, PS4, PS4 Pro, PSVR. None of these gaming consoles give me the same experience as my PC with a GTX1080. Elite Dangerous, Arizon Sunshine, Sports VR (hockey is amazing), Elite Dangerous, Rec Room, etc. I have.a hard to going back to my PS4 PRO. My buddy plays ESO on PS4 PRO alone now as he wont purchase a gaming PC with VR. I actually feel sorry for people not playing VR. The experience is Amazing!

    • Luke Skywalker

      VR hasn’t taken off yet, i’m sure it will soon though

    • ProAssassin84

      VR will be another Kinect and PS Move. Copy and paste that.

  • Skeet

    Technically, Project Scorpio is a next gen system. It’ll be over 4 times as powerful as an Xbox One, which is about the same scale as all the other console generations. All that keeps it from being “Next Gen” is the fact it will run the same or a very similar OS to the Xbox One, and games will be cross-compatible. PS4 Pro on the other hand is more of a half gen system because it’s barely an upgrade.

    • PEDROVNONE

      Exactly.

    • Mr Xrat

      Your sad little Shitpio is not next gen. Deal with another MS blunder on your own time.

    • Evil_Annie_2015

      The Scorpio is probably not a next gen system, and more of a Premium version which is the case of the PS Pro. The difference is that the Pro is simply an outdated box and hence the reason people bought the PS slim instead since the Pro offers no clear advantages over it and hence it is looking like a Sony blunder for not offfering real power and less value..:)

    • Mr Xrat

      “The Scorpio is probably not a next gen system, and more of a Premium version which is the case of the PS Pro.”

      Congrats on not being your usual Xgimp and getting that right.

      Sadly for you, both of these upgrades aren’t going to be worth the cost, especially the Xbone being a year late at $599.

    • Evil_Annie_2015

      Well, Phil Spencer already confirmed that it is a premium version of the XBox One, and all I am doing is pointing that out. He also cofimed that It will be around 2 Tflops more powerful than the Pro, but what he did not confirm is the price , so I am not sure where are you getting that from…hehe

    • Mr Xrat

      So it’s not next gen then. Cool.

    • theduckofdeath

      Yeah, the only thing keeping Scorpion from being a next gen console is Microsoft. They are marketing it as an enthusiast system or 4K version of XB1, and deliberately will not allowing (non-VR) exclusives (for now).

  • ProAssassin84

    Micropenis are in Panic mode and rushing out a System with no exclusives and they forgot to pay there First party studios to make games.

    Guess they can give the Scorpio away in Kellogs Frosted Flacks Cereal boxes like the XB1.


 

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