With the Xbox One S console now on the market, all eyes seem to be focused on what Microsoft calls “Project Scorpio,” the evolution of the Xbox platform. It’s going to be a huge deal during the 2017 holiday season, a console package bursting with performance to play 4K games beautifully while also supporting older titles released for the Xbox One. But one worrisome detail is the console’s price, which is expected to be not-so-cheap given what’s packed inside.
In a recent interview with NZGamer, Microsoft’s Phil Spencer provides somewhat of a window regarding the next-generation Xbox pricetag. He said that the Xbox team designed both Xbox One S and Xbox Scorpio in parallel, with both units focused on offering price points relative to their performance.
“I think you will feel like it’s a premium product, a premium console,” he said. “And not something, anything more than that. So I wouldn’t get people worried that this thing is going to be unlike any console price you’ve ever seen. We didn’t design it that way.”
He pointed to the current crop of Xbox One S consoles packing different hard drive capacities. Head over to GameStop and you’ll find the 500GB model packed with the Halo Collection costing $300. The store also offers a bundle consisting of the 1TB model and Madden NFL 17 costing $350. By comparison, a bundle with the original Xbox One, a 1TB hard drive, and three games costs $280.
“The opening price point for the Xbox One S, and the different hard drive sizes, that is a critical part of this whole product,” Spencer added. “When I think about it as a product line, you should expect the pricing to kind of be in line with that.”
As previously reported, current Xbox One owners won’t be left out in the cold when Xbox Scorpio appears late next year. Previously, Xbox 360 owners essentially had to start all over when they purchased the Xbox One given the newer console didn’t provide backwards compatibility. That’s changed of course, with Microsoft adding support for Xbox 360 games seemingly each month. But with Xbox Scorpio, all games starting from the Xbox One will work on the new hardware: no backward compatibility needed.
And that’s Microsoft’s new console road map: refreshing the Xbox platform without having to start anew. Microsoft is seemingly taking the hardware refresh road map used by smartphone manufacturers, eliminating that huge gap between hardware generations.
Microsoft originally set out to sell 200 million Xbox One console units. According to Spencer in another interview, the Xbox team saw a shift in consumer media consumption that moved away from standard television to over-the-top services like Netflix. The root of the Xbox brand focuses on serving as the living room’s media center, but the Xbox One was to really make that happen. The device even sports HDMI input for connecting a cable box, another console, or other media-producing gadgets.
But Spencer’s main focus was pure console gaming.
“When we came in after two and a half years ago and started running the Xbox program, I centered us back on not trying to become something other than a game console,” he said. “You don’t earn the right to be relevant in other categories of usage for the console until you’ve earned the gaming right, so let’s go make sure that’s what we deliver.”
That’s where Xbox Scorpio comes in. The upcoming console is slated to transform the Xbox brand back into a super-charged gaming platform powered by Microsoft’s Play Anywhere initiative. Hopefully, the pricing won’t be supercharged as well.