The Internet is abuzz today with the release of the official specs of Microsoft’s next console (which is also not quite a follow-up to the Xbox One), the Scorpio. It’s obvious that Microsoft is hoping to blow away its competition by releasing the most powerful console on the market, but Mike Ybarra, corporate vice president of Xbox and Windows gaming, says there’s another focus: getting more exclusive games.
“The team looked back at developers and the developer relationship we have,” he told Eurogamer. “With Xbox 360 we had the absolute best platform for developers, [with Xbox One] we sort of lost that in a two-year time-frame, so we said how do we win the mind-share of those developers back?”
Ybarra adds that Microsoft wants “the best games” running on the Xbox brand, and they’ve made steps to provide developers with the tools to be able to do so. The Xbox One has sold roughly half as well as the PS4, and with the PS4 Pro already out on the market, Scorpio has an uphill climb to try and make up for lost ground.
While both the PS4 Pro and Scorpio are incremental upgrades for gamers – both consoles will play their non-souped up predecessors’ games – Ybarra actually draws a parallel between gaming consoles and smartphones for the reason behind the short time between the Xbox One and Scorpio:
“Consumers are buying phones more frequently than we’ve ever seen,” he says. “(The) expectation of technology is they no longer need to wait for it, it’s immediately there in front of them and they expect all of their content to flow across those devices, too… people are expecting this new technology faster than I’ve ever seen and when you think about the console business, that’s kind of in conflict to that, because it’s like here’s a console and for the next five to seven years, you’re on that physical box.”
Of course, there are a number of ways console gaming differs from smartphones, and whether or not consumers will be more willing to upgrade their console every other year, like they do their phones, remains to be seen.