There’s no doubt about it, the numbers don’t lie. Microsoft’s Xbox One, while selling well by the standards set by previous generations is losing big to Sony and the PlayStation 4. From the moment it was announced, the Xbox One just didn’t have the fire power to keep up with Sony. While there have been moments where the console seemed to gain ground by slashing prices and offering enticing hardware revisions, it’s largely failed to keep pace with the PlayStation 4.
That could change with the console that is still being called “Project Scorpio.” Revealed today, the Xbox Scorpio legitimately sounds like Microsoft seeking to win the war on visual fidelity front when it comes to home consoles. The specs revealed today indicate that it will be way ahead of both the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 4 Pro, and Nintendo Switch. Given it’s beefy GPU stats and computing power, it should be competitive with high-end PCs when it comes to price for performance… assuming the console comes in at the suspected $500 price target.
If attractive content doesn’t show up, the mass market won’t adopt
Games Industry polled gaming analysts after the Scorpio reveal and Mat Piscatella of NPD Group believes that Microsoft is set to outsell Sony in consoles this year with the Scorpio. “I remain bullish on the Scorpio,” said Piscatella. “In the US market, particularly in the launch year. I think Scorpio has the potential to push Xbox One sales ahead of the PS4 in the US in 2017. Adoption among the core gaming audience could be significant,” the analyst continues. “While this is a niche audience to target, it’s the niche which is necessary to put the Scorpio on the path for longer term mass market adoption.”
Piscatella does, however, reserve the right to retract that forecast if Microsoft doesn’t deliver on the games front or if the price is too high. “Ultimately, however, people buy consoles to play great games. No matter how amazing the tech specs are, if attractive content doesn’t show up, the mass market won’t adopt,” says Piscatella. The analyst also says that Microsoft could also misstep if they shoot too high on the price, like Sony did with their original PlayStation 3 announcement.
Comments about the Scorpio have been mixed following today’s reveal. While some are already to take the plunge without seeing much by way of either games or price, some are more skeptical. While Microsoft has continued to push out their stable of big exclusives in the Forza, Gears of War, and Halo franchises, some are concerned that new iterations of these games just aren’t enough to justify the generational leap. 2017 has already seen Sony delivering big hits with new games exclusive to the console — Horizon Zero Dawn, Nioh, Persona 5, Yakuza and others have already kicked off 2017 with a bang for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 Pro owners.
We’re assuming Microsoft’s next stop for big Scorpio announcements is E3 2017, where we’ll likely hear the all-important price point of the console and get to see it in action.