Project Scorpio is promising a lot for the Xbox Brand, but is it enough to bring gamers back to Microsoft’s console?
E3 2017 is just around the corner. As always the eyes are on the big companies to deliver compelling games to the video game audience. E3 2017 is different for one reason. It’s one of those rare years where we will get a look at hardware. Project Scorpio was unveiled at E3 2016, but not in the form of an actual hardware reveal. Microsoft made a promise to deliver the most powerful console ever created. Calling it a “monster.” The question is why does Project Scorpio matter so much, and a lot of people are asking if Project Scorpio can “save” the Xbox brand.
I want to start out this opinion piece with one very strong statement I will fully stand behind. The Xbox One and the Xbox Brand itself does not need “saving.” This is a topic that has been discussed many times over and over on the For the Love of Gaming podcast. My rebuttal has always been, since when did the Xbox brand become in danger of dying? Also, how on earth can Project Scorpio even save it being that it is hardware? Software will always be king of any console, and that is what can push the Xbox to new heights.
The Xbox Brand is still a strong brand and Project Scorpio looks to strengthen the gaming division of Microsoft.
There is no denying the Xbox One is somewhat of a black eye for Microsoft. Especially when you consider what the Xbox 360 accomplished. The Xbox One was not created to be the most powerful and most cutting edge system. It was supposed to be the All in One Entertainment experience. We all know how that backfired and it doesn’t need to be explained in full detail yet again, but it seems to be where the pivot happened from Xbox as a brand being OK, to where it is now in that it needs “saving.”
The Playstation 4 is outselling the Xbox One. I think everyone knows that at this point but that doesn’t mean the Xbox is dying. Project Scorpio isn’t going to magically make the PS4 sell less. The important factor about the Xbox Brand is that it’s profitable. For years it was somehow made fact that the Xbox never made money. It’s a topic that somehow overshadows a lot of forum posts on the internet when it comes to the Xbox Brand. Some insist that the Xbox is “bleeding” money. Microsoft never fully releases Xbox numbers and the narrative never changes due to the wall they have built around how they report numbers. What we do know is that “Gaming” from Microsoft is profitable. That is a fact.
Project Scorpio is being built for the hardcore gamers who value high end specs.
But lets get back to the future of Xbox. Project Scorpio does appear to be something special.The entire pitch for the new machine feels like the dawning of a new age. As a hardware enthusiast and a hardcore gamer since the early 90’s, I got chills watching the pitch for Project Scorpio. Call that stupid, silly or whatever you want, but it got me excited. Even though Microsoft basically said in the trailer that this is the “we heard you” machine and are admitting the Xbox One wasn’t a gamer focused machine, Xbox Gamers are willing to look past it in hopes for a return to form of cutting edge power.
Project Scorpio will be the machine built for the hardcore Xbox gamers and hardcore gamers alike. Scorpio is being built for the people who game every single day. For people who want the latest and greatest in gaming the second it becomes available. For gamers who want to beat their chest and claim their machine is the best of the best. All of these notions are great for a gamer. But Xbox needs to reach so much farther past that audience to achieve more success.
Can the hardcore audience sell the casual gamers on Project Scorpio?
The hardcore audience can definitely influence the more casual crowd, but the hardcore crowd isn’t going to convince everyone who games to run out and but the premium version of the Xbox One. The funny part is that Phil Spencer himself has come spoke about this topic many times already. He has already stated that he expects a majority of the Xbox fan base will be buying the Xbox One S in the future, and Project Scorpio will only make up a small portion of their audience. So how does that make Project Scorpio the savior of the Xbox One brand?
I think the argument breaks down to the appearance of the brand. Many say that Xbox One still has a negative aura around it. That the original unveiling of the Xbox One was so bad that even today, over 4 years later, people still want nothing to do with the machine. While I think there are some people who will always think the Xbox One can’t play used games, the Xbox One S was enough of a refresh to help with the negative image. Xbox One S is selling and gamers are still on Xbox Live every day playing their favorite games.
Phi Spencer has corrected a lot of the image problems the Xbox One had, but Project Scorpio is also looking to win gamers hearts who left Xbox.
I think Phil Spencer has already done an amazing job turning the Xbox One around from its’ original message. I think it’s also very clear that Project Scorpio is his pet project. Phil is a gamer at heart so he understands the hardcore market better than Don Mattrick ever could. It’s fair to assume he greenlit the console to not attempt to win back the hardcore crowd, but developers as well. He wants to return to the days where Xbox 360 was synonymous with best, and I commend him for understanding what that will take to achieve that goal once again.
Project Scorpio will be the most powerful console when it launches in holiday 2017. I believe Xbox as a brand is doing just fine. Project Scorpio in my eyes will strength the Xbox brand and gaming in general. As a gamer I am excited to see how this happens. When you combine new hardware with amazing looking games from first and third party, and unveil new things like Xbox Game Pass, you can create something amazing. As a gamer I am super excited for Project Scorpio. Hopefully at E3 2017, I will watch the Microsoft presentation and walk away from it even more excited.
Project Scorpio is the start of a journey back to the top. Is promising a true 4K gaming experience for third party and first party titles enough to bring back that image? Will gamers be able to tell the difference between 1800p and 2160p on their 4K screens? Will the resolution difference be enough to get people to jump ship to Xbox? Let us know in the comments.