The eve is nigh on the release of the Xbox One S. This smaller, more powerful machine looks set to put the gaming community very much back in Microsoft’s pocket as it boasts a plethora of improvements over its older brother. However, being a proud owner of the “older sibling” in the Xbox One family, I find myself wondering just how much things will change with the introduction of the Xbox One S and more importantly, whether or not Microsoft’s “Project Scorpio” will see the end of the Xbox One for good?
Let’s begin by looking at the Xbox One S. My genuine opinion is that the Xbox One S’s specs are what the original Xbox One’s should’ve been on Day 1. Aside from the obvious visual differences between the two consoles, the Xbox One S holds a memory which dwarfs that of the original Xbox One, it utilises impressive 4K picture quality (that is, if your TV is up to the challenge) and partnered with the High Dynamic Range of the new console will deliver one of the most stunning visual performances of any console. Period. When the Xbox One was first released, gamers quickly realised that its 500GB hard-drive was a meagre offering in comparison to what was needed; couple that with the inevitable issues linked with a major console release and the Xbox One didn’t exactly come up smelling of roses.
Yet despite all that, devout Xbox lovers gave the Xbox One the time and patience it desperately needed to be complete and almost three years down the line I believe the console is at a comfortable place in its life-cycle. Now, in my opinion, would be the perfect time for Xbox to look at their “next-gen console” and ask what can they do to move forward with the console being on the stable footing it has fought so hard to secure. Instead what did we get? At E3 2016, Xbox announced their super secretive “Project Scorpio” – billed as the next step from Xbox One. Seriously? While the news is exciting for technology geeks and gamers the world over, I can’t help but feel slightly put off by Microsoft’s willingness to charge on ahead, irrespective of the fact their “new best console” is not even three years old.
Perhaps it’s just me, maybe I’m old fashioned. At 23 years old I hope to god that’s not the case. But the Xbox 360 received so much care and attention from Microsoft, and so much time and effort was put into the 360’s numerous iterations that it warranted its 10-year tenure in our lives. I genuinely believe that with that same level of commitment and effort, the Xbox One could genuinely be another 10-year console for the company. I’m not averse to changing the aesthetic of the console, not at all, in fact the Xbox One S is a thing of beauty, there’s no denying it, but what I am averse to is being told that “Project Scorpio” is being made to blow the competition out of the water. I understand that at the end of the day, it’s a sales war between Xbox and Playstation as to who can sell the most and who can be the best, but what is the cost to the gaming community going to be in the long run, if both companies just keep churning out new consoles every few years in an attempt to outdo each other? My Xbox One holds a dear place in my heart (and TV cabinet) much the same as the Xbox 360 did, and while I’d maybe consider looking into getting an Xbox One S, after a hefty price drop that is, I’m definitely going to take some convincing to part with my cash when it comes to “Project Scorpio”.
So is “Project Scorpio” going to leave the Xbox One for dead? Well from the looks of it, yes. It was always going to. “Project Scorpio” will build upon the 4K and HDR technologies introduced in the Xbox One S, but with its purported ‘6 teraflops’ of computing power, “Project Scorpio” sounds like it will live up to its ‘monster’ nickname. Not only that, it will also integrate the latest technology craze with VR compatibility in an effort to broaden Xbox gamers’ experiences. Very little is actually known about “Project Scorpio” outside of hearsay and speculation, but based off what we do know, it will without a doubt make the original Xbox One look like an antique. The silver lining in this however, is that because both consoles will run off of Windows it should be very easy for game designers to create titles for both consoles. Hypothetically. If you’ve ever seen a Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 comparison between the Xbox One version and the Xbox 360 version of the game, you’ll know it’s almost as if you’re playing different games. But it does maybe mean that the Xbox One may run alongside “Project Scorpio”, which I could make my peace with so long as the Xbox One still saw continued support going forward.
Personally, I believe that “Project Scorpio” could end up becoming a make or break console for Microsoft. I say this because a lot of promises are being made with regards to the upcoming consoles processing power and ability to deliver constant stunning graphics. If it doesn’t deliver on those promises, then Xbox run the risk of having their fan-base become disillusioned with them. There is also the high possibility that the world’s fascination with Virtual Reality could quickly wither and die, leaving “Project Scorpio” with a totally superfluous ability. It’s unlikely, but stranger things have happened.
I will definitely watch the new consoles development with avid anticipation, I’m Xbox at heart through and through, but a lot is going to have to happen in the next year, for me to ever consider parting with my beloved One for “Project Scorpio”!