Microsoft’s Project Scorpio which promises to be the most powerful gaming console ever built remains a long way’s off, but Xbox boss, Phil Spencer, has given us some inkling of what the unit will cost when released in late 2017.
First let’s talk about “The Beast” that is Project Scorpio
For those unaware of what to expect from Project Scorpio, lets go back to Microsoft’s E3 2016 event and allow Xbox marketing boss Aaron Greenberg explain, “We’re building a beast.”
Greenberg quickly pointed out that the team behind this beast was “fired up” about Scorpio and then explained why.
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“It’s gonna be the most powerful console ever made, and as a guy who was here when we built the original Xbox, that being such a powerful box, and we pioneered with Xbox Live, and some of those innovative games, it really feels like we’re getting back to our roots.”
“I think the team here, we’re all gamers and we love what we do–and I’ve never seen the morale this high,” he explained speaking of the 8 core system with 320GB memory bandwidth and its ridiculous six teraflop performance that promises uncomprossed and uncompromised 4K action for its users. “People are fired up about what we’re delivering this year for our fans, and the vision of what we’re doing with Project Scorpio. It’s a pretty special time.”
Ahead of the release of Scorpio, expect Microsoft to kick it into high gear next year with its largest release of in house games for its Xbox line.
“Of course the games is what it’s all about, right?” he said. “This year we’ve shown that over the next year we’ll launch more first-party games that we’re developing with our internal studios and our partners that we’ve ever had in the history of Xbox.”
Now we know about the “beast.” How much will Project Scorpio cost?
Lets be clear, we don’t know. Microsoft hasn’t begun to get into specifics but we have gleaned a few things from a recent interview given by Xbox Boss Phil Spencer to WinBeta.
Sony’s PS4 Pro is slated for a November release at $400, while Microsoft plans to release the Xbox One S, starting at $300 for a 500 GB package and getting more expensive with larger packages and more storage space. So, I’m going to guess about $600 when Scorpio is released which isn’t far off the release price of the Playstation 3 that was released 10 years before Scorpio’s anticipated arrival in 2017.
Spencer points out that Project Scorpio is a “premium product” so $500 and upword nearly goes with out saying.
“When we designed both of these (Xbox One S and Project Scorpio) we kind of designed it in parallel,” said Spencer. “We thought about the price performance of what we wanted to hit with the Scorpio, relative to what we were going to be able to do with the S. So that we would have a good price continuum, so people wouldn’t look at these two things as so disconnected because of the price delta.”
Continuing, Spencer said, “So I think you will feel like it’s a premium product, a premium console. 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. That said, the opening price point for the Xbox One S, and the different hard drive sizes that is a critical part of this whole product. When I think about it as a product line, you should expect the pricing to kind of be in line with that.”
With this thinking in mind, and this interivew, I would expect nothing south of $500 for Project Scorpio but if I was a betting man I would say considerably closer to $600 is likely.
It’s difficult to ask someone to pay for an Xbox One S, starting at $300 for a 500 GB package only to see Project Scorpio the next year for $100-$150 more being offered. That builds resentment, and is certainly one of the reasons that Microsoft is not really talking about the price outside of this interview.
But what is clear if the price is not, is that Microsoft is unquestionably committed to gaming.
“Today, if you sit down with Satya Nadella, the CEO, Amy Hood, the CFO of the company, they will talk about gaming as a core capability of Microsoft, not gaming as a bridge to somethings else, but gaming into itself,” Spencer said in a separate interview earlier this year. “It’s not just Microsoft, you see Google investing time in gaming, you see Facebook buying Oculus, you see Amazon buying Twitch, you see multi-billion dollar transactions going on at the gaming space, not so you can go be something else, but because gaming is a very high engagement, high monetization use on any electronic device that you see.”