If there ever was a time to end console generation, this would be it. There is little doubt that console transitions can, and probably do, become disruptive when it comes to console gaming.
Older games don’t work on the new system and vice versa. Also, older console systems are not like older PCs.
You could use your rickety old PC for playing indie games that require less processing power, but you can’t do the same with, say, Xbox. No not Xbox One. Not Xbox 360 either. We’re talking about the first Xbox that came as an alternative to PlayStation 2.
From a historical perspective, console generations are exciting as far as console gamers are concerned. Gamers look forward to upgrading their console system without spending thousands of dollars.
But that all excitement takes a toll on another set of gamers and, let’s not forget, developers. At least that is what Microsoft thinks.
Gamers who have to throw away their older hardware and buy the same, slightly upgraded, hardware just because of compatibility issues are forced to get the bitter end of the bargain.
Developers too are not totally immune to the difficulties of developing games for different platforms.
Microsoft, now, through the introduction of Project Scorpio aims to fix that “unfortunate” situation. The Xbox Scorpio is expected to push console gaming into a new era where the idea of console generations would go extinct.
Xbox Director Albert Penello, speaking on Inner Circle podcast, said that Project Scorpio would mark the beginning of a new thinking. The new thinking would take console gaming beyond the concept of console generations.
The director also spoke about how Project Scorpio device, which will launch sometime in 2017, will be Microsoft’s biggest contribution to console gaming yet.
As mentioned before, previous console transitions such as from Xbox 360 to Xbox One not only brought in a new set of problems such as new hardware and accessories that were not compatible with older systems, but also provided developers with new headaches while developing games for the newer console platform.
The console generation experience wasn’t all that great for some gamers as well. However, Microsoft’s Project Scorpio will change the landscape of console gaming, probably for the better.
The major theme behind Project Scorpio is that Xbox consoles should exist in the same family of gaming systems.
In other words, games and accessories (such as controllers, Kinect, memory cards, stored content) from older systems should be able to work on newer systems.
Penello told reporters that Microsoft had given a lot of thought to pushing the console gaming market beyond console generations. He said, “ You hear us talking about thinking beyond console generations. It’s not the idea that you don’t want to do consoles anymore or that there’s not going to be more performance (in the future with new systems),” and then further added, “But if you go back and look at console generations, they’re always super exciting when something new comes out, but they’re super disruptive.”
Penello continued by saying that console generations were also really hard on developers because with each new console they have to re-learn how to program on the new machines.
But along with that, Penello also made clear the newer consoles were really hard on the end user as well.
He said that gamers sometimes forgot that they had to give up a lot of their old hardware in order to experience the newer systems. He further added that Project Scorpio and other future Microsoft projects would aim towards smoothing out that transition.
“can we smooth that out, can this be more about a family, can we think beyond, ‘We’re gonna do this one and then stop and then start all over again.”, Penello told reporters.
Penello further affirmed his position by stating what when Xbox Scorpio (or Project Scorpio as some in the media are calling it) gets a release date, the new console would be able to work alongside other Microsoft consoles such as Xbox One and Xbox One S.
Penello then began to talk about how Microsoft’s new Xbox Scorpio would be the most powerful console ever made and said that the idea of offering different systems to gamers was not an alien idea especially if people considered the situation in the PC gaming industry.
PC gamers usually have to upgrade their gaming rig almost every four to five years if they want to play the latest games on the greatest settings i.e ultra max settings.
Penello said that Microsoft wanted to give consumers more choice when it came to console gaming since every gamer had his/her own reasons for buying a console and that meant different gamers bought gaming consoles for different purposes.
“It’s really easy for people to think there’s just one customer for consoles and their reason for buying is identical across the millions of people. But there isn’t; it’s just not true,” he added while addressing that the console market was more diverse than what people would like to admit.
Penello then shifted gears and talked about how Microsoft’s gaming console family would help people buy a console which would suit their specific needs.
He also said that Microsoft’s gaming ecosystem initiative would enable gamers to buy a console based on their own preferences such as price, performance, and various other factors.
The developer also said that because of Microsoft’s Project Scorpio gamers could not go wrong with any of their choices since all games and add-on peripherals would work with all console devices.
Later in the podcast, Penello commented on how he supported Microsoft’s latest idea of “Xbox Family” devices. You can listen to the whole podcast here. You should listen to the whole podcast if you want to know further details about Microsoft’s latest Project Scorpio and its future ramifications.
For now, it is unclear if Microsoft will support Xbox One indefinitely. Of course, the decision could go either way but Penello confirmed via the podcast that nothing on the matter had been decided yet.
But the director did add that users could examine the PC market if they wanted to have an idea of what could happen as far as the idea of console generation support was concerned.
Penello was obviously referring to the fact that even though older PC systems are supported years and years after release, users still have to spend big bucks in order to experience the best games on the highest settings.
It is true that gamers have to upgrade their systems every four to five years in the PC gaming market as well but the key difference here is that the PC is a more versatile machine than a console system.
Xbox 360,for all reasonable intents and purposes, is junk now. The same can’t be said about PCs that were built in the same era.
Penello though, pointed out that the console market would move towards the model of PC gaming market where consumers would have to shell out money after a specific period of time in order to experience the latest games from big developer studios.
Regardless, Project Scorpio will make an impact on the console market. Whether that impact is positive or negative remains to be seen.
The year 2017, is shaping up to be a truly thrilling year as far as console gaming is concerned. It will be very entertaining to see how it will eventually play out.
Readers should also know that in an effort to trade blow for a blow with Microsoft, Sony will also make PlayStation Neo backwards compatible with Playstation 4.
If you’re wondering about what will come after Project Scorpio then Phil Spencer, Microsoft’s head of Xbox division, has got your covered.
In a recent interview, Phil Spencer stated that Microsoft already had several ideas with which it would like to move the gaming industry forward.
Spencer did not share any specifics but did say, through a tweet, that he already had ideas for what Microsoft would come up with after Scorpio.
And of course, that’s true because if Microsoft didn’t have ideas after Project Scorpio, that would have been an even bigger news.
In other words, Microsoft is currently totally focused on driving home the idea that gamers will have the opportunity to use their old Xbox One gear with Project Scorpio.
Whatever becomes of the console gaming market in 2017, it will surely be one hell of a year since all major video game players(Microsoft with Project Scorpio, Sony with PlayStation Neo and Nintendo with Nintendo NX) will launch their winning cards very close to each other in terms of release dates.
Stay tuned for more news on the changing console gaming landscape.