When Microsoft released a hype video for something called Project Scorpio during E3 2016, they triggered the kind of discussion that such mysterious announcements at such major events are meant to trigger.
Nobody knew exactly what Project Scorpio was, but most people assumed it was some kind of powerful, 4K capable console. However, the promises that video made – expanding the artistic boundaries of gaming, revolutionary experiences, etc. – led many to believe that Scorpio was something more than just a mid-generation upgrade to an existing piece of hardware.
Then, at E3 2017, we learned that Project Scorpio was a powerful 4K capable gaming console called the Xbox One X that served as a mid-generation upgrade to an existing piece of hardware.
Overpromising and E3 go together like video games and E3, but even cynical fans still expected Microsoft to do something at least slightly unexpected with the Xbox One X. Some incredible new game designed to show off its power or a revolutionary new way to look at console gaming hardware.
Because the Xbox One X offered none of those things, some fans have begun to speculate that the One X might actually have a trick up its sleeve. In fact, some people think that the One X is a next-gen console in disguise.
According to this theory, Microsoft is going to introduce some kind of brand new, next-gen console in two or three years. At that time, they will announce that the Xbox One X will be capable of playing “next-gen” Xbox games and will serve as a slightly lower-tier alternative to the new piece of hardware. This belief is based on statements that Phil Spencer made in regards to how Scorpio might help bring an end to console generations.
It’s a fascinating idea. Instead of a company treating mid-generation hardware as a collector’s item or some slight upgrade for those who haven’t bought in yet, what if they were really an early investment into the future. What if you know a console you buy now will still be capable of playing the newest games even a decade after you buy it?
That’s an incredible idea. It’s so incredible, in fact, that you can be sure that it does not apply to the Xbox One X.
Reports of the death of Microsoft’s Xbox division are all greatly exaggerated, but the fact is that Microsoft may soon find themselves in third place in the console sales race. They need something – anything – that will help them stand out as a forward-thinking company that fans should invest time and money into.
If they really intended for the Xbox One X to be a nearly future-proof console, isn’t that the exact kind of bombshell that they would have dropped by now? Wouldn’t they want to make some kind of claim that shows they’re promises of a revolution weren’t just buzzwords?
The truth of the matter is that the Xbox One X either represents Microsoft’s belief that the next generation of consoles won’t be available for quite some time or their belief that a new console on the shelves is all that is needed to help renew interest in their struggling brand.
A future proof console? That’s a great idea. Maybe one day a company will make one.