The Xbox Scorpio Represents A Unique Opportunity For The Xbox Brand To Recover From Launch Disaster

Microsoft’s mid generation reboot could be far more significant than Sony’s PS4 NEO.

Posted By | On 04th, Jun. 2016 Under Article, Editorials | Follow This Author @Pramath1605


Last generation, Microsoft wrote the playbook for the modern console. The Xbox 360 was a powerful, and yet simple, console, developer friendly and easy to get a handle on, with no gimmicks, integrated online and social functionality, and some neat media apps to round the package off. Throw in some nice co-branding deals, making it the console the mainstream would think of when a multiplatform title like Call of Duty or The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and you had a recipe for a very successful system- so successful, in fact, that Sony are basically following that playbook to a ‘T’ with the PS4.

Microsoft, meanwhile, in spite of being in an obviously strong position to leverage their brand and start this generation strong, squandered their lead due to a series of historically bad decisions. From the always online DRM policies to the lack of used games, from the forced Kinect to the high price, from the weak hardware to the hostility towards independent game development, Microsoft’s early handling of the Xbox One was a textbook on what not to do when attempting to launch a console- the fact that the Xbox One managed to right the ship to the extent that it did, and sell as much as it has, is truly a testament to the sheer levels of backpedaling Microsoft exhibited pre-launch.

Of course, while the Xbox One has, as a result, managed to do well, the inescapable truth of the situation is that it has also consistently been outperformed by the PS4, its primary competition. In fact, with the PS4’s sales currently standing at over double of the last estimate that we have for Xbox One sales (Microsoft stopped giving out official shipment data for Xbox One), it’s pretty much been lapped. The Xbox brand has taken a beating- the Xbox One is widely understood to be weaker hardware, multiplatform games almost always perform worse on it, it has lost a lot of the exclusivity deals that characterized the Xbox 360 to PS4, such as Call of Duty DLC, its own first party exclusives lineup is weak, and in the enthusiasts circle, it is often relegated to being an also ran.

Xbox One Elite

"Microsoft’s early handling of the Xbox One was a textbook on what not to do when attempting to launch a console."

The situation is even worse for the average mainstream consumer- for them, first impressions are often the last impression, and too many of them still believe that the Xbox One needs to be always online, and doesn’t have used games (and if you don’t believe me, get off the internet and go to a GameStop- you’re bound to run into some college student or parent buying a console for their kid, who actually believe those things still hold true for the console). For these people, the Xbox brand is toxic and something fundamentally unappealing- the bad press for the Xbox One from before the console even launched has stuck, and this demographic, the same one that made the Xbox 360 as big as it was, are unwilling to do so with its successor.

The problem is intrinsic to branding, essentially- the Xbox One brand specifically is now associated with the Xbox One reveal, and the negative press for the console since after its launch (reports about poorer versions of multiplatform games, loss of exclusives, low sales, poorer hardware performance, indie game developers speaking out against Microsoft, and so on) cannot have helped with the perception. Branding is powerful, and its effects, positive or negative, are very hard to reverse- ask Apple, who’ve experienced the good and bad ends of this, with products like iPhone or iPad or iPod that can do no wrong, and others like Apple Maps and Apple Watch, which are running jokes.

This is not a problem unique to Xbox One, either- this is, for example, the exact same problem that Sony had with the PlayStation 3 last generation. Remember, after all, that the PlayStation 3 had a similarly torrid start last generation, and that for years it struggled. As a matter of fact, it necessitated nothing less than a full relaunch and rebranding of the system, with the launch of the PlayStation 3 Slim and even the logo for the console being changed, before its sales started to pick back up again. By the end of the generation, the PS3 was doing well, putting Sony in a strong position with the PS4, although even then, it could never shake off a lot of the stigma that the console had accrued in its early days.

ps3 slim

"With the launch of the PlayStation 3 Slim and even the logo for the console being changed, sales started to pick back up again."

Microsoft find themselves in a very similar situation right now- and like Sony and the PS3 did last generation, they, too, actually have the opportunity to turn this all around. The leaks regarding new Xbox hardware were interesting, but the star of those leaks was the Xbox One Scorpio, a massively boosted Xbox One that is due for next year. The Xbox One Scorpio, as rumored, is like the PS4 NEO, except it is far more powerful than the NEO is. Presuming rebranding, and a shifting in messaging, the Xbox One Scorpio actually effectively represents a sort of mid launch reset for Microsoft- they can effectively launch the Xbox One as a ‘new’ console, without any of the marketing and messaging baggage that the Xbox One as it exists right now has- since it is effectively going to be a new console, all the bad press regarding the Xbox One, the misconceptions regarding its online DRM, used games policy, hostility towards indie developers, and so on, are wiped clean.

Better still, the Xbox One Scorpio, by simply being a more powerful console than either the PS4 or PS4 NEO, also addresses the chief flaw the Xbox One has had, which is weaker hardware. The Xbox One Scorpio sounds like its capabilities are far beyond what the PS4 and PS4 NEO have to offer- effectively, Microsoft is recreating the PS2 versus Xbox gap, and making Sony’s shiny new PS4 obsolete months after it will have launched.

By also launching in 2017, four years after the launch of the Xbox One, Microsoft are also going to avoid the allegations of milking and exploiting their customers- a lifespan of four years is typically acceptable for a console, and Microsoft can outright present the Xbox one Scorpio as a full step forward, rather than a half assed incremental half step that the PS4 NEO sounds like it will be.

The potential definitely exists here for Microsoft to try and reverse the trends of this generation with this intriguing new hardware- will they? Will the Xbox One Scorpio even exist in the form that we think that it will? We don’t know yet- but if rumors hold true, we’re less than a few months away from finding out at E3.

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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  • elnino

    Neo will make original PS4 get sub-optimal games. Neo sucks.

    Scorpio is welcome. MS can recover from launch disaster. Scorpio rocks.

    • jznlv

      I havent seen real specs for either yet can you let us know pls?

    • Bobby

      we have a time traveler in here

    • shane

      YES he can travel in time BOBBY I seen him do it many times. So I will vouch him. I’m a expert in time traveling so you can trust me. Find the secret code in QB and you might be able to travel in time too.

  • Bad wolf

    The great thing about us the Xbox community we call out Microsoft for the mistake they make and bush them for the great or good.

    • Mark

      True. I remember CrapGamer crying to Phil on Twitter about selling back his copy of Qbreak because of it goin to PC…lmao

    • Psionicinversion

      do you remember when one idiot tweeted to Phil…”you should of checked with us first” hahaha omg such self entitlement

    • Mark

      Pfff ahahaa. Glad I didn’t see that, what a clown lol.

    • shane

      Yeah, you must be a PS fanboy huh? fYI it’s annoying when some stars a comment with “pfff ahahaa”.how old are ya 12-13 pfff ahahaa.

    • Mark

      C’mon Shane, I’m an Xbox owner. And yeah I like to use “pffff” when I see somebody say something so ridiculous; “U should of checked with us first”. Lmao. To the dam head of Xbox no less. It may annoy you but people are so self entitled as Psionic said.

    • sgt_hammertime

      I could only imagine that “us” as in “us gamers” encapsulating the whole xbox community and not us as in “my group of friends and I”

  • The truth-ier

    These type of articles are plain stupid. Its selling better then the xbox 360, if the iphone 6 sold at a better pace then the iphone 5s, it wouldnt be considered a failure or anything.
    The PS4 is winning, but that doesnt mean the X1 isnt either….they both are selling at a faster pace then there last gen counterparts.

    • sgt_hammertime

      the truth is it’s selling better than the 360 at this point, but remember that the 360 picked up speed after some years….which I doubt the x1 will be able to match. so I think it’s in Microsoft’s best interest to start over:
      1) Announce new powerful console this year (this will most definitely annihilate your hardware sales but it will also cut your competition’s sales too for their current and upcoming refresh)
      2) Announce that all current games will be playable on the new system. hardware sales might stop or slow but game sales will continue.

      E3 is a week away and I think this one will have another record amount of viewers just based on these leaks.

  • Mark

    A few months Pramath? Lol. More like a week. But I do agree, Microsoft needs to squash all the things that’re “weak” about the X1, by revealing this Skorpion..

  • sgoodell

    What a crock of crap. This type of behavior is nothing more than cell-phone influenced life-cycle brought to consoles. First you will see the Scorpio… replacing console many bought just in the last year, and replacing a console that is less than three years old. And with a power difference as great as everyone is saying, this represents a split for the developers and who do you think they are going to go with, the more powerful Scorpio or beginnings-of-abandonment One? Give you one guess…

    Then, seeing the masses clamber over themselves to purchase said console, will then, in three more years, announce a new console, because the old one just isnt powerful enough… then consoles begin the upgrade cycle like cell phones, cutting off the old and beginning the new every three years and expecting somewhere in the realm of $400-600 every time… and the gamer suckers will buy, every time.

    Look at how many morons trade games to Gamestop… and you think this type of retail behavior is acceptable, and are willing to let your wallet be hovered up by businesses making decisions based on how much money they can extract from you, not from any real benefit. I mean, honestly, what stops everyone who owns an Xbox from just gaming on the PC. 90+% of all Xbox games (maybe 95%+) will appear on THEIR Windows platform, yet still believe they can sell you a console for a price that would probably buy you a graphics card that would crush the Scorpio.

    Yeah, if you think Scorpio is going to be cheap ($500?…nope…) then explain how they could do this within three years of the launch of the One and have it be (supposedly) 4-5x more powerful than the One, but the same launch price? Someone was playing games here, and I don’t mean video.

    P.T. Barnum would be very proud… if you would walk this way, I will show you the amazing, fantastical Egress right behind this curtain, and it will only cost you a measly $20…

    • Psionicinversion

      simple, its the same as how the ps4 Neo will be more powerful…. 14nm, double the density of the transistors. Plus they wont have esram in it as it would cripple a 6TFLOP system. If they use HBM2 they wont have as many IMC’s on the die for GDDR5 leaving more space for a bigger GPU. Thats how theyll do it, its not hard really.

      You have to know about the advancement of technology to understand. consoles usually stay stagnant for very long periods of time in the meantime tech advances at a rapid rate

      ” I mean, honestly, what stops everyone who owns an Xbox from just gaming on the PC. 90+% of all Xbox games (maybe 95%+) will appear on THEIR Windows platform, yet still believe they can sell you a console for a price that would probably buy you a graphics card that would crush the Scorpio.”

      Yeah a graphics card what about the rest of the system theyve got buy!!!!

    • sgt_hammertime

      it’s clear that @sgoodell:disqus guy just another ridiculous person on the internet who thinks he knows all that’s best for everyone and the industry.

    • sgt_hammertime

      fyi if the xbox scorpio is real and launches next year then it will have been a 4 year cycle just like the OG xbox to the 360.

      I don’t see people who wants to trade their games as morons its there stuff they can do whatever they want with it. I actually see people like you as morons for caring what another stranger does with their own things.

      sure you can buy a graphics card that crushes any console but why don’t you put the cost of a mainboard + case + power supply + heatsink/water cooler(preferably one that doesn’t sound like a lawnmower) + memory sticks in there too? i’m sure you’ll quickly realize that $500 for a full gaming system is a bargain for many.

      they did the 360 4 years after the OG xbox and it was roughly 10x more powerful…so what’s really your point here?

  • red2k

    Isn’t the time for new consoles because there is a polaris GPU at 200$. The companies need wait and see how the market react. Probably the costs of confectin GPUs are going to drop and the companies are going to have optional architectures at lower prices. That’s why making a console isn’t a good deal now. Anyway, I think there is a possibility of some new additions for the X1 but I don’t want speculate. Maybe the new update “open Xbox One” metaphorically speaking.

  • Riggybro

    So. Both companies held off for as long as they could with 360 and PS3 to recoup money.

    Then they release One and PS4 with outdated weak sauce specs because many wouldn’t notice because they been hanging on so long to last gen.

    Then 3-4 years after they effectively admit that the current gen is weak sauce by releasing a 4.5 which has the specs of what the original PS4 should have had and a Scorpio which is phenomenally more powerful and makes all the other consoles basically obsolete.

    I dunno… diehard gamers will line up and buy whatever they put out but, I think if they tinker too much like this they may end up losing certain segments of their more casual and family market. I think this is especially the case due to the duopoly which – due to multiplats, small numbers of exclusives and MS and Sony basically trying to copy each other play for play – ends up for the consumer smacking of a monopoly of sorts.

    • Foster Hampton

      Yeah. I don’t think people would be willing to upgrade already. Family’s and more casual individuals mostly don’t care about graphics and use Netflix a lot. That’s not to say that they will never upgrade, but i believe it’s going to be much slower then they are now.

  • jacksjus

    When these systems and their specs are revealed by the said companies only then will opinions begin to matter. Right now we don’t know anything and should wait.

    By the way, if Sony can delay games that people want to make them better, then why couldn’t they delay a system that no one has asked for based on the Rumors the Scorpion will be significantly better?

    • Fweds

      You got 5 fake Upvotes from “Mr Xrat” congratulations.

    • jacksjus

      Why would I or should I care about up votes?

  • Mr Xrat

    LMAO!

    A year and a half of nothing is going to drive Xgimps nuts!

    • shane

      Ah its my favorite buddy MS Xzit, how ya doing you stupid f#ck? IV been missing your your comments. Where is the rest of your aliases that up vote your comment’s? Good to see ya buddy.

    • HaCkEr_Fc
    • OC Guy

      Awwww the little fanboy troll is trying ever so beyond desperately to be clever…sad thing is you are probably an adult going online being belligerent toward people who didn’t agree with your game console choice…You are a very sad little man! LOL, sucks to be you!

    • Fweds

      I see the Sony lapdog “Mr Xrat” AKA “Revolver Ocelot” has panicked to get first post, this news must be a disaster for him.
      Notice most of his Fake ghostname Upvotes he does on all his posts and anyone else who say anything negative about Xbox.

    • Truth™ PSVR 960×1080®

      Being that game starved makes you crazy as you show with the nogamestation 4

      No one is talking about unsharted bore any more except to laugh at the graphics 🙂

  • Bill E Weaver

    Sony has always been behind MS. Minecraft has over 100M copies sold, forza outsells gt, Halo out sells killzone,etc etc. Sony Is still technically broke,lol. Don’t believe me just type in Sony Stocks on google and look at the last 15 yrs for sony,lol!

    • shane

      Yeah,or look up downgraded to junk status in stocks and you will see Sony.

    • snake8989

      GT is dead since GT5 though their games are still playable specially Naughty Dog and Insomniac games. I prefer Xbox as my default platform but can’t discredit who in direct competition with it.

    • Mr Xrat

      The usual boring navel-gazing from the Xgimp we’ve been seeing for the last decade.

    • shane

      Hey A$$ HOLE! Go play somewhere else. You have nothing to do but making stupid fu*king comments. I would guess in real life your nothing but a lil bi*ch doing this to make you feel like your not a sorry A$$ loser. Guess what you are all the above.

    • Fweds

      I like the way he has no confidence in his own comments and uses his Upvote bot to put Fake Ghost Upvotes on his own posts.

    • shane

      Right, its funny. There are other’s that do the thing.

  • snake8989

    DX12 ready.

  • kee1haul

    Actually very little the media like this site have done to correct themselves. They are responsible for spreading misinformation and making more of very little differences.

  • Mark

    Dam man ma bad!


 

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