Tons of Triple A titles, including numerous new IP’s. A new console, which aims to achieve true 4K, while still allowing support for VR. Hololens, which looks to prove that there is a market in Augmented as well as Virtual reality. All of these are coming very soon, and it’s looking to be an exciting year or two if you are an Xbox fan.
First off, let’s look at some of the big upcoming games. For starters, Gears of War 4 is looking to be another fantastic entry in the series, building on where 3 left off. Recore is looking like a impressive platformer, which the Xbox One really needs more of, whilst Sea of Thieves seems like an expertly built MMO Pirate game, built by the renowned company Rare. And there are tons more; Crackdown 3, Scalebound, and Forza Horizon 3 to name a few. On top of those, there will be many great third party and indie games making their way to the Xbox One as well.
In fact, there is a very healthy batch of indie games coming too. Just recently, we saw the makers of LIMBO release their newest title, Inside. Despite being short, Inside has been reviewing through the roof, and it’s definitely a must play title. A few other indie titles coming soon which promise to push Inside for the top awards are no less than Below and Cuphead, among others. It’s looking to be a great year for both Triple A corporations, and those brilliant indie developers.
That’s not to mention the Xbox One Game Preview plan either, something which is allowing games that are in development to be play tested and purchased, helping the developers get feedback on their titles. We Happy Few just launched, and Day Z was announced at last years E3 to be entering the Preview scheme.
So software wise, things are looking pretty exciting for the next year or so, but what about the hardware? Well, Microsoft have been showing off their Augmented reality project “Hololens” for quite a while. Thus far, the demos have been extremely promising, with one showing a player pulling up a full screen out of nowhere, allowing him to play wherever he practically wanted. Other demos have been shown too, like the Halo Warzone experience shown off at E3 two years ago.
What about VR? Well, Microsoft has seemed to avoid delving into that market, as it seems they are going to rely heavily on 3rd party systems rather than creating their own. When announcing their new high end console at E3 this year, they specifically stated it would have VR support, never naming one specific company. Personally, I feel that’s a smart move, as it allows them to wait out the VR storm, and focus on other things. It’s great for the consumer too, as we can pick and choose what VR headset we want, rather than being forced to wear the only one compatible with our consoles. Not to mention the massive question…what if VR never quite takes off? Remember the 3D phase?
Granted, VR is an experience I’ve been lucky enough to witness, and it is quite amazing overall, but there are reasons the average consumer should be worried about VR’s longevity. For the most part, it’s expensive. The Vive is 800$ alone, that’s way out of the price range of most casual gamers. Even the slightly more affordable Oculus Rift is 600$ – still too high to entice the average player. The problem being, if they try to make it “affordable” the product may come out as very cheap, and low quality.
Elsewhere, the “Scorpio” is looking to make good on some very strong promises by Microsoft. It boasts 8 CPU cores, and a 6 teraflop GPU, 4K gaming support, and full VR support. While there are still some questions about the overall build of the console, the fact that it will be more powerful is an understatement.
Although it’s extremely early to announce a new console, at the least, it’s an interesting move. It seems as if we are moving away from the normal cycle of consoles, and going toward a more PC-esque approach, where upgrading is more frequent, and you can play games despite the “generation” of your console. Scorpio likely won’t be like the leap from Xbox 360 to Xbox One, where you have to upgrade your console, and then start a new game library. Games will be compatible with your current Xbox One and the more powerful model; they’ll just be rendered with greater graphical fidelity on Scorpio thanks to its 6-teraflop GPU and 8-core processor. Your existing accessories should work on Scorpio as well.
While having the newest powerhouse of a console will be great, Microsoft has confirmed that, for now, games will work both with the Xbox One and the Scorpio, and you’ll be able to play with friends regardless of the console. So for all of you that won’t be quite ready to take the plunge for Scorpio next year, don’t fret, as it won’t deter your ability to play the newest games with your friends.
Don’t get me wrong though, Microsoft have announced that there are games being developed for the Scorpio. They’ll be playable on the older Xbox One, but they are being programmed to support the extent of the specs of the new machine. Which hopefully means we’ll have some great launch titles to look forward to come next winter. They didn’t share much though, leaving us in a state of speculation, most likely until as late as E3 of 2017. Although that will no doubt be here before we even know it.
The future is certainly bright for Xbox gamers. There is just so much to look forward to; whether it be the games, or the new technology, there is truly something coming for everyone. I’m very excited to hear more about the Scorpio, but for now I remain skeptical. For one, we haven’t heard a price point yet. Secondly, pulling off 4K with little to no frame rate drops will require some hefty specs, although what we’ve been shown is nothing to scoff at.
I won’t deny my excitement though, there is so much ahead of us, it truly is an exciting time to be an xbox fan.