The mystery behind Microsoft’s Project Scorpio started to unravel today as the new supercharged Xbox one was shown off behind closed doors to digital foundry. The specs are certainly impressive and not much about the machine has been left up to the imagination with around 6 months to release. One clear missing detail though is the price. It’s clear that Scorpio is a premium product and its also been made clear it wont replace the Xbox one. Everything seems to point to a premium price for Scorpio but what would this mean for its chances in the console market?
Price is incredibly important in the consumer world, perhaps even more so than specifications. When Playstation 3 launched Sony, bouyed by the success of the Playstation 2, crammed a whole lot of tech into its new console and launched it at $499 ($200 more than the PS2) to reflect this. This proved to be one of Sony’s biggest mistakes and at launch PS3 sales were overwhelmingly disappointing and only massive price cuts and a slew of quality exclusives managed to turn this around.
Scorpio is likely to fall in a similar price ballpark as the Playstation 3 did at launch with the specs showing us that Microsoft hasn’t cheaped out on the internals. Equally even if they could Microsoft wont want to price it too close to the Xbox one as they’re hoping to sell both systems alongside eachother. Scorpio then is going to attempt to appeal to the high end gamer who wants their games to look the best they can. This though raises another key question about Scorpio’s market.
Why not just game on a PC? Microsoft has already signalled its commitment to gaming on windows 10 by having all future Xbox exclusives come to the platform so why wouldnt you choose PC? Microsoft’s argument may well rest on the idea that consumers like the simplicity of a console over their PC counterparts. The plug and play nature of a console has never truly been replicated on PC and perhaps Microsoft thinks this will be the major selling point of its new ultra powerful Xbox.
The question I’m really asking is whether Scorpio has a big enough market, can Scorpio be justified at a premium price with PC gaming currently in its prime? One things for sure though Microsoft is facing an uphill battle with Sony and its PS4 and its going to need a quality exclusive lineup alongside Scorpio to win it. The stage is set and the stakes are high for E3 2017 and I, for one, can’t wait.