When Microsoft announced Project Scorpio back at E3 2016 and it was pretty clear that the company is not discussing a console, it is discussing an idea. They probably had multiple consoles in R&D and they were still figuring out which direction to go. There are hints, rumors, and even a whitepaper, which indicates that Scorpio was not always Native 4K.
It was possibly just a more powerful PlayStation 4 Pro but seeing how Sony’s console failed to light the world on fire, Microsoft may have tweaked its plans a little for Scorpio. If you look at it, Microsoft’s marketing is different, the tone is different now compared to E3 2016, and it is clear that following the announcement they still didn’t have a final idea of what Scorpio is, now they do.
Still, Scorpio as an incremental step is a mistake because Xbox is already behind, the console lost this generation. Microsoft is dealing with a much smaller group of people. If Sony can’t make PlayStation 4 Pro work with 55 million plus audience, what chances does Scorpio has by standing on Xbox One’s shoulders as a mid-gen upgrade? And I think Microsoft realized that along the way and stopped aggressively marketing it as an extension to Xbox One.
Project Scorpio is a new console, a backwards compatible console but a new console. It is not a mid-gen upgrade or an extension to Xbox One.
Let’s say there is a new Halo game this year, it will release on both Project Scorpio and Xbox One. It would be similar to how we saw games release on Xbox One and Xbox 360, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3 before complete transition to the newer console.
Now, if we you look at it this way, the backwards compatible feature doesn’t really make sense, does it? However, Microsoft must include the backwards compatible feature due to how they communicated what the console is going to be.
This is a continuation of Xbox One and all games will be available on it, said Microsoft about Project Scorpio back at E3 2016. This statement will now create problems for Project Scorpio because games will always be held back by the lowest common denominator, which is exactly why PS4 Pro makes no sense and Microsoft realized that.
But even though Microsoft realized and correctly analyzed the situation, the console cycle is screwed up and now both Sony and Microsoft are far apart in terms of next-gen console releases.
Of course, by now PlayStation 5 is in R&D and Sony will not rush it to compete with Project Scorpio. It has this generation won and will take the time it needs to develop a new machine. Microsoft played its hand early by following PS4 Pro and gave Sony an opportunity to make sure they release a better console. On top of that, by the time Sony starts developing PS5, console parts will be cheaper which will contribute toward making a better console.
The ball is now in Sony’s court as it watches Microsoft lay out all of its cards. The best thing for Microsoft is to wait, hold the console for as long as possible and watch what Sony does.
Sony, as the winner of this generation, can take its time and use its own dynamic, and cheaper parts to build a more powerful console.