So the specs for Microsoft’s Project Scorpio were revealed to us yesterday and I wanted to talk about some of what we learnt and whether this machine is something I’m likely to buy or whether it’s something that I’ll let pass me by.
Digital Foundry were invited to Microsoft’s place in Redmond to talk to the people who designed and put together what we call Project Scorpio, Microsoft’s mid-gen Xbox upgrade. I say upgrade but in reality what they revealed seems so much more to me. It’s truly monstrous.
Microsoft seem to have delivered on every promise they made at last year’s E3 when Phil Spencer revealed the project’s existence. Not only have they delivered on those promises though but the numbers that we all devoured yesterday exceeded my expectations. What we saw yesterday was a Microsoft lifting itself off the ropes after taking a pounding at the start of Xbox One’s life and they came out swinging.
— TrueAchievements (@TrueAchievement) April 6, 2017
The screenshot of Forza was jaw dropingly stunning and to think it was only using 2/3 of its available power (at most) is I must confess pretty exciting. I love too how the Tech guys & gals have gone about piecing this monster together. They looked at where the bottlenecks are and designed the machine around that to eliminate the issues. They haven’t merely taken a load of parts off the shelf and stuck them all together. They’ve designed each part and customised the crap out of it to suit the industry’s needs. They’ve obviously put in a lot of love and effort into the machine and it really does show just by hearing what they had to say about it to Digital Foundry
All sounds pretty good doesn’t it? Well in short yes, however there is an issue. Now some will be throwing money at Microsoft already and that is absolutely fine. Personally I wish I was but 1) I Can’t afford to right now and 2) I’m not really sure if it would make any sense for me to buy one. Let me explain…
I have a capable gaming PC and whilst I only have a 1080P display, I could quite easily upgrade to 4K. Yes I would have to fork out a fair few notes but there would be some obvious benefits for me going down the 4k PC route, Main reason being I’ve got most of the hardware to do it already and I would have access to games that you just won’t find on console as well as having access to Xbox games via ‘Play Anywhere’. I do however see the benefit of console gaming. At heart I am a console gamer after all and always have been but there is another issue.
It’s been about a month since I last played on my Xbox One. In fact since The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild released I haven’t played anything else. The trouble is that Xbox One ( and PS4 to be fair) can’t deliver the gaming experiences I crave at the moment. Yes there have been a couple of stand out titles but overall this generation has been pretty disappointing I think. Therein lies the problem.
Project Scorpio will be weighed down by the original Xbox One and that to me seems an awful waste of potential. I’ve been desperate for a long time to see more complex games (Like Arma 3 for example) release on console but even though we now have a console that could run those types of demanding games we won’t get them because of hardware that was under developed and rushed out the factory. I get why Microsoft are forcing developers to develop for both consoles but this is why I just don’t like the idea of mid-gen upgrades. One way or the other somebody is going to be losing out and in a pretty big way. I think Microsoft should cut the original Xbox loose to be honest. The Xbox One S should be the company’s minimum spec machine and whilst it is at heart the same machine it does have some technical advantages over its older brother.
Something that would help to convince me is to give us graphics settings like we enjoy on PC so that we can customise our gaming experience to our taste. Let us choose between frame rate and resolution. The more options the better in my eyes. The graphics settings and benchmarking tool that the Windows 10 version of Gears of War had were perfect so I would like to see something similar on Project Scorpio.
Now Microsoft have somewhat of a game problem. Now off the bat let me just say there is nothing wrong with having established exclusives. The likes of Forza, Gears of War and Halo sell like hot cakes and rightly so. They are amongst the leaders of their respective genres and have massive followings. Criticising Microsoft for supporting those ridiculously successful IP’s is just thick to be honest. However, they do need to up their game when it comes to new IP’s because at the minute it’s not looking too rosy and if they want people to buy Project Scorpio they are going to need to blow our socks off at E3.
They have Crackdown and Sea of Thieves (I’ve been playing the test sessions and OMG it’s good) and Forza Motorsport 7 obviously but beyond that there isn’t really anything to be excited about. Phil Spencer has delivered a lot since he took over so I am more than willing for him to convert me at E3 but they are going to have to go all out, which is great for the rest of us.
As it stands then, I love what I’ve heard about Project Scorpio but have concerns about its viability whilst it’s tied to the original Xbox One and I want to see what exclusive IP’s Microsoft has in the pipeline to pry me away from my Switch. I want to be excited but for now I think I’ll perch myself on the fence and wait for what is shaping up to be a pretty epic E3.