Since Sony and Microsoft dropped their big guns (1.5x roughly) on us about Scorpio and Neo, the gaming industry has been endlessly speculating how these intra-generational upgrades will change the landscape.
TechRadar interviewed Albert Pinello from Microsoft and unearthed some interesting information.
It’s not all about 4k
Sony’s PS4 Pro conference had about 4 thousand mentions of the new super resolution that will allow us to finally see all of those once-blurry images in the virtual distance. I’m sure developers were thrilled to hear they’d have more objects to fully flesh out.
Pinello states that although the 6 TFLOPS can absolutely handle 4K resolutions, it’s not a requirement for third party games (Just like so many current developers choose to offer so many Xbox One games in 900p).
“I think we’ve said from the beginning that it’s really going to be up to the game developers. Game developers will choose to take that 6 TFLOPS and do what they think is best for their visions for the game … if somebody wants to make a 1080p game and make it the most amazing looking game of all time on Scorpio? Great, I think that sounds fantastic!
My immediate question is how that 6TFLOP 1080p game will run and look on a regular old Xbox One?
If you were worried that Sony and Microsoft are hoping to ape the lucrative cell-phone business model of expensive new units twice a year, Spinello also addressed it.
“I hear people use the mobile phone analogy to sort of describe it and I think that I can understand why that makes sense. People use the PC analogy and I think that makes sense. The challenge of course is whenever you say that you always go into the negatives, or you go into how that market – the mobile phone market – is different from consoles. “Usage models are different, financing is different … I don’t think we want to get the expectation of, like, ‘every year there’s these very minor changes and we just inundate the market.’ We’ve gotta figure out how this makes sense for console gamers, and respect what makes console gaming great as we go through this transition.”
I personally feel the cell phone model is downright slimy. Marginal ‘updates’ to the hardware while the software is designed to make users feel like their phone is too old. Even though they’re running the same apps they did three years previously, they all run a little slower with each software update.
Microsoft seems to have learned from their disastrous Xbox One launch not to piss the gaming public off. Several moves over the past year have been very rewarding to their install base. Including the decision to announce the Scorpio at the same time as the also-new Xbox One S). This could easily cannibalize their business as the Xbox One S looked fantastic until we realized the Scorpio would be much better and available a short time later.
“We wanted to let people know in advance so that we didn’t run into the opposite problem which is next year we announce Scorpio and we have people that bought Xbox One S and went ‘Why didn’t you tell me this was coming a year later? I would have waited.'”
“I’m glad we give people that option, to figure out what makes sense for them, what’s important to them. I think we have a great product [in the Xbox One S]…I’m very confident in that product and the value that it delivers, and I’m glad we told people that something else was coming next year, and to give people the opportunity to wait if they think it’s going to be better for them.
There you have it. Not sure how this will all shake down but it seems Microsoft has improved their PR skills considerably. Now if they can just introduce a killer trade-in package they’ll be ready to set fire to Christmas.