Microsoft announced the Xbox Project Scorpio at the E3 event last year. The next E3 is just one month away. Though it’s been 11 months since the world’s most powerful console was announced, there is little awareness about it in the general public and even among gamers. But it could be because Microsoft hasn’t yet shown off the console. Things may change on June 11 when the Redmond company will officially unveil the Project Scorpio.
Only 14% gamers have heard about Scorpio
In its annual Games 360 Report, research firm Nielsen covers what percentage of the American population plays video games and what platforms they play on. Microsoft and Sony both are betting big on their powerful mid-cycle consoles Project Scorpio and PlayStation 4 Pro, respectively. While the PS4 Pro has received a positive response from consumers, Scorpio is yet to hit the store shelves.
Nielsen surveyed 2000 Americans, of whom 50% were males and 50% females. It then weighted the survey data with census data to get a better idea of the broader market. According to the survey, merely 14% of gamers above the age 13 have heard of Project Scorpio. By comparison, 27% gamers know about Sony’s PS4 Pro. Among the general public, 11% people aged 13 or above have heard of Project Scorpio and 21% know about the PS4 Pro.
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What percentage of Americans plan to buy these consoles? According to the Games 360 Report, only 9% of the general public and 13% of gamers intend to buy the upcoming Scorpio. The figures are slightly higher for the PS4 Pro. Nielsen said 11% of the public and 15% of gamers are planning to buy the PlayStation 4 Pro. That’s surprisingly low awareness considering the PS4 Pro has been available since last year.
Microsoft needs to launch a marketing blitzkrieg
Of course, the key here is how Nielsen defines a “gamer.” It includes not only people who play video games, but also those who play games occasionally on social media or mobile. Still, the survey shows that people are not going as crazy for the Scorpio or PS4 Pro as Microsoft and Sony would have hoped. Nielsen said only 18% gamers were interested in mid-cycle console upgrades. About 33% were neutral and 41% were undecided. Only 5% gamers felt negative about mid-cycle upgrades.
Findings of the survey indicate that Microsoft has to go all out after the E3 unveiling to increase awareness about its upcoming console. It has to convince gamers that they need to upgrade to the world’s most powerful console ever built. Gamers need to see the graphical upgrades to believe that it’s worth buying.
Nielsen also surveyed what percentage of gamers prefer the digital games over the physical one. Of course, the digital game consumption is rising consistently, but the report showed that 69% gamers aged 13 and above still prefer the physical copies. Digital was the first choice among PC gamers, 75% of whom said they prefer digital games.
Can Project Scorpio help Xbox catch up with PlayStation?
Microsoft officially revealed the Project Scorpio specifications via Eurogamer last month. But the company will provide full picture of the console only at its E3 show next month, where it is also expected to reveal Scorpio’s official name. The console will go on sale ahead of the holiday shopping season. Xbox chief Phil Spencer recently said that its development was progressing as expected.
Project Scorpio will be a console in its own league. It will feature a custom octa-core processor with 2.3GHz clock speed, a whopping 326GB/s memory bandwidth, six teraflops of GPU, 1TB storage, and 12GB GDDR RAM. It will be the first console to offer true 4K gaming experience, and support for 4K HDR. Microsoft has confirmed previously that Scorpio would work with existing Xbox games as well.
According to Phil Spencer, gamers will be able to install games onto the new console from their external hard drives. Just plug in a USB hard drive to Scorpio and install any game of your choice. NPD analyst Mat Piscatella believes the launch of Project Scorpio will finally help Microsoft catch up with Sony in the console market this year. However, Sony’s PlayStation 4 Pro still has an edge over the Xbox consoles, and that’s a huge library of exclusive titles. Microsoft needs to bring a large number of first-party and third-party titles to the Scorpio.
LucidSound announces wireless headset for Project Scorpio
Earlier this week, LucidSound announced its LS35X wireless headset. The LS35X is the first officially licensed headset for the Project Scorpio. Set to come out this holiday shopping season, the headset will pair up with the console without the need for cables. LucidSound chief executive Chris Von Huben has assured Xbox fans that they will be “blown away by the feature set and quality” of the headset.
Though the LS35X is designed for Project Scorpio, LucidSound said it would work equally well with Xbox One consoles and Windows 10 PCs, but you may need an Xbox Wireless Adapter to use it with a computer. It is unclear whether Microsoft would launch its own range of accessories with the Project Scorpio. Since the Scorpio is a major upgrade, the Redmond-based company is expected to bring new accessories.