It was clear the moment Microsoft unveiled Xbox Scorpio at June’s Electronic Entertainment Expo: Microsoft wants in on some of that yearly release smartphone money. In fact, this much was apparent even before then to anyone paying attention to the copious amount of rumors that emerged in the months leading up to the sort-of next-gen console’s official unveiling. But now it’s official.
“In the phone market, people are more used to upgrading fast and wanting the latest of everything,” Partner Director of Xbox Program Management Mike Ybara told The Guardian this week. “But with phones, your new apps had better work on that phone and the next one. According to what they’re telling us, the consumer expectation is: games and apps had better work even if I upgrade. We’re looking at the console business and asking how do we provide that choice to users? It resonates with them because other devices are doing that.”
Ybarra’s referring to the fact that Xbox as a general platform is about to become not just backward but also forward compatible. There will be no Xbox Scorpio exclusives; instead, all games released for Xbox One or whatever Scorpio’s retail name ends up being will be fully playable on both pieces of hardware. It’s unarguably a feature many gamers want, but it also opens the door to Microsoft selling more pieces of gaming hardware. Regardless of ulterior revenue generation motives, Ybarra insisted that all of Scorpio’s internals were purposely chosen to allow for all Xbox One games and accessories to work with the new platform.
“Compatibility has always been the thing that makes console generations define themselves: when you leave one and got to the next, you give up your games, you usually give up the hardware or throw it in a closet — that’s what we want to remove,” he explained. “We’re focusing more on how do we deliver gaming in a boundless way to our players. We announced three platforms — today’s Xbox One, Xbox One S and Scorpio. We’re giving gamers the choice to say, ‘I want to invest in these particular games and this particular hardware, and I want those to work going forward, I don’t want to have to worry about giving that up.'”
Microsoft Studios General Manager Shannon Loftis added that numerous studios are already doing some of the development work necessary for making this a reality by working on 4K resolution PC games. Loftis said that Windows 10 would allow for the addition of a few features to future-proof these games for Scorpio.
Many of our developers are already doing it – they’re already working to bring 4K gaming to the PC environment,” she says. “We can use the work they’ve done and bring that to console. We can make sure that, through the Windows 10 development environment, they can put one or two features into a game to future proof it against Scoprio. Taking advantage of dynamic scaling and things like that, a game they make for Xbox One today will run beautifully on S and run beautifully and look better on Scorpio”.
Unsurprisingly, Xbox head honcho Phil Spencer chimed in to note that “PC gaming and console gaming are different,” and that he rejects the idea that Microsoft is melding the two. “It’s not that I’m trying to turn PC gamers into console gamers or console gamers into PC gamers. We just know, and I’m sure you’re tracking it, the health of PC gaming is incredibly high right now, and we know some of our best and most active customers on Xbox One are also PC gamers – so we see this opportunity to service the customer and where they actually play, and they want to stay connected to their friends wherever they are.”
Source: The Guardian