Why Would You Ever Buy a Project Scorpio?

Video game consoles are a weird business these days.

Microsoft started the generation off with a horror show proposition, asking us to lock ourselves into a DRM-laden digital nightmare where we would need to authenticate our games with constant Internet connections and forgo used games entirely without getting much in return. Sony was met with ridiculous praise for doing nothing more than maintaining the status quo. Nintendo, as Nintendo does, has been entirely on its own path without much regard for the rest of the industry. We went from questioning whether or not consumers were even willing to buy another console at the beginning of this cycle to now on the backs of two of the fastest-selling consoles ever, questioning whether or not it’s time for the single most dramatic change to the standard console cycle in decades.

I’m referring, of course, to Microsoft’s announced mid-cycle refresh: “Project Scorpio.”

Project Scorpio is said to be a behemoth built to support all the latest gaming trends, catch-alls and buzzwords: Virtual reality. 4K gaming. HDR rendering. It’s hard to keep up with it all. We’ve seen important-sounding numbers bandied about: “8-core processor.” “Six teraflops peak shader throughput.” It’s dizzying to most people, and on paper, it sounds incredible, like Project Scorpio will be such a wild step up from the current Xbox One that it’s ostensibly a next generation console rather than the mere half measure it supposedly represents. Microsoft says it will be “the most powerful console ever built.”

It’s all very impressive, but I can’t shake the feeling that Microsoft is also trying its hardest to dissuade you from ever buying an Xbox again.

3078281-project+scorpio

On one hand, Microsoft’s move here makes complete sense. In walking back ex-Xbox head Don Mattrick’s ill-fated push for an all-digital console, Microsoft played a too-conservative hand with the Xbox One. It’s underpowered, falling behind the PlayStation 4 and well behind the PC. It made the mistake of launching the Xbox One after the PlayStation 4, with all sorts of baggage in tow and not enough killer, exclusive games to make up for it. The Xbox One is in a distant second place and Microsoft needs to do something to claw itself back up the chain.

In comes Project Scorpio to right the wrongs of the Xbox One. Project Scorpio is built to look ahead and behind at the same time, supporting backwards compatibility with the Xbox One and Xbox 360 right out of the gate while also bringing a shot of much-needed power into the fold to keep up with the times. If the rumored specs for Sony’s similar refresh, the PlayStation “Neo,” are to be believed, then Project Scorpio will easily be the most powerful console on the market when it launches.

But here’s the thing: there’s zero reason to buy into Project Scorpio.

Microsoft is making a big gamble here, and I don’t understand how the company imagines it’ll pay off. First, if Sony stays on the rumored trajectory, its Neo refresh will launch this year. It won’t be as powerful as Project Scorpio, but if Microsoft’s own Xbox 360 taught us anything, it’s that it doesn’t need to be; a year’s lead in the market is much more valuable. The enthusiast crowd that these mid-cycle refreshes are targeting aren’t going to want to wait a full year for a promised console with nothing tangible to show for itself when they could instead buy a much better version of the current most popular console on the market now. Once they buy a Neo, most consumers simply won’t care enough (or be able to afford) to buy another console a year later.

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Of course, that point hinges on Sony’s ability to launch Neo this year when the company has still so far barely even been willing to recognize its existence publicly and just passed on the opportunity to show it off during the single biggest annual event in the games industry. Still, this point doesn’t really matter when compared to the next.

Microsoft is making a massive strategic mistake with its Xbox Play Anywhere program.

XPA is Microsoft’s answer to Sony’s Cross-Play promotion where one purchase of an eligible game available on multiple PlayStation platforms gets you all versions of the game at no additional charge. Without paying anything extra, you could buy a game on your PlayStation 4 and get the PlayStation 3 and Vita versions for free, be able to share save files seamlessly and potentially even play multiplayer across all platforms. It’s a generous, pro-consumer decision, and likewise, so is XPA. Buying the Xbox One version of Gears of War 4, for instance, will net you the PC version for free and players of either can play multiplayer against each other in one shared community. Microsoft is promising that all its first-party games will be available on both console and PC from now on and will support XPA.

The company is trying to tear down the walls separating console and PC, and in doing so, it’s destroying any reason to buy a Project Scorpio.

Project Scorpio is not going to fundamentally solve the problems with consoles: it is still a closed platform, it is still locked to the same hardware for a number of years, it will still prevent you from upgrading parts over time to save money. In short: it’s not a PC. If Microsoft is then going to decouple itself from the idea of “console exclusives,” why would a person ever buy Project Scorpio? One of the arguments against the PC has always been that you’d be missing out on console exclusives, but if you can play all future Gears of War, Forza and Halo games on the PC from now on, why not just build a PC instead so you can upgrade it over time rather than buying a completely new box every few years?

You might be wondering why I’ve been focusing entirely on Microsoft’s Project Scorpio without much mention of Sony’s PlayStation Neo. If Project Scorpio is flawed, shouldn’t Neo be as well? Actually, no, not at all.

complete-playstation-vr-setup

The difference here between Microsoft and Sony is all about the exclusives: Sony has them. Microsoft won’t. With Microsoft’s new XPA strategy, you’ll be able to play the next Gears, Halo and Quantum Break on PC. But you know what you won’t be able to play on PC? God of War. Horizon: Zero Dawn. Days Gone. The Last Guardian. Insomniac’s Spider-Man. And so on. You’ll need either a PlayStation 4 or Neo to play those games, period. That’s not even to mention any games exclusive to Sony’s upcoming PlayStation VR, which is increasingly looking like the only virtual reality headset with any chance of mainstream success. You’re going to want a PlayStation 4 or Neo because you’re going to want at least one of Sony’s exclusive games and there’s no other place to play it. It’s the same reason anyone bothers to buy a Nintendo console these days: it’s the only place Nintendo’s games are available. If you could play them anywhere else, you would.

On Giant Bomb’s E3 live show, current Xbox boss Phil Spencer addressed this point in passing, saying that it isn’t an issue where players are buying Microsoft’s games so long as they’re buying them. But that’s only true on a small scale. Microsoft is not a third-party game developer. It invests significant time, energy and resources into building consoles, maintaining those platforms, curating developer relationships, securing exclusives, marketing, etc. Microsoft absolutely cares if players opt to ditch the Xbox platform in favor of the PC because even if all those players continue buying Microsoft’s games, they aren’t buying Microsoft hardware or giving Microsoft royalties for third-party game purchases through Valve’s dominant Steam store. If only a few players make the jump, Spencer’s right; it’s not ideal, but it’s not the end of the world, either. But if a significant percentage of the current Xbox One audience decides to build a PC rather than buy a Project Scorpio, that’s a problem for Microsoft.

To be clear, Xbox Play Anywhere is a fantastic idea — from a consumer standpoint. It’s more bang for your buck and helps bridge the gap between console and PC in a meaningful way. But it also means there’s very little reason to buy into Project Scorpio. I’ve never been a person motivated to build a PC because it seems like a lot of hassle when the vast majority of games I want are available on my PlayStation 4, but if I can also snag all the Xbox-exclusive franchises I’ve been missing, a PC suddenly becomes much more attractive and a new Xbox much less so. The smart play, even for Xbox diehards, will be to pick up a PlayStation Neo and a great PC to get the best of both worlds.

But Project Scorpio? No thanks.

  • sjp77

    Project Scorpio? Yes please!!

  • I won’t.

    The Console will be outdated on PC in 2018 already…and the few exclusive games it might have won’t be worth it. PC + Playstation is the best combo.

    • sjp77

      I can see your reasoning but I’ve got no interest in gaming on a PC whatsoever, just like millions of other people, so it’s a no brainer for me really. Sounds like a beast and I can’t wait.

      • I was like you some years ago. For like a decade the only PC game I ever played was good old Diablo 2. But Steam and the many ports and how really cool and organized the mod community is changed me.

        I still prefer to play games like Dynasty Warriors and especially fighting games and rpg’s on console but games like Witcher 3 are just a lot cooler ..and nicer looking on PC.

        The scorpio might sound like a beast today, but that was the same in 1994 when Nintendo announced their Project Ultra 64. And when the console was finally released in June 1996 it was still the best looking one for a short while but it is the fate of every console that their “beast” days are short lived.

        Graphics are not everything of course.

        • sjp77

          Too true, it will be a short lived life cycle between generations now but I think 4 years is just about right for me and I will be ready by the time its released.

      • J.j. Barrington

        Well, there are plenty of people that have changed their mind and have recently gotten gaming PCs.

        Besides, this kinda takes away reasons for PC gamers to invest in an Xbox.

        • PCMR Truth™ #BlockMeIWin

          Where else are they going to get 1080P 60FPS?

          Certainly not on PS4. And going by the Neos specs. Not on neo either. LOL

          • J.j. Barrington

            You’re boring. You suck as a troll.

    • PCMR Truth™ #BlockMeIWin

      “PC + Playstation is the best combo”

      lol. Trash exclusives by an anti-consumer company like Sony. You are only advancing the cancer killing gaming.

      PC + Nintendo is the only morally acceptable combination for true gamers.

  • XanderZane41

    What if you don’t care about PC gaming? Then where will you play XB1 games in their best form? Maybe the author of this article should ask himself that question. I’d like to here his answer.

    • J.j. Barrington

      What if you don’t care about Xbox?

      What if you lost both your hands in a car accident?

      • PCMR Truth™ #BlockMeIWin

        What if you don’t care about consoles except Nintendo consoles?

        What if the PS4 had no games?

        No wait. That’s true. The PS4 has no games.

        • J.j. Barrington

          lol, sure.

    • Thomas Ella

      Author here. I don’t care about PC gaming and mentioned that in the article. My argument is that since Microsoft is putting their first-party games on PC from now on, it suddenly makes a lot more sense to care about PC gaming. You can get a PlayStation console to play Sony’s exclusives and build a PC to play Microsoft’s exclusives and have the best of both worlds. If you want to “play XB1 games in their best form,” you should also get a PC because you can just build a better PC than a Project Scorpio and play a nicer-looking version of that XB1 game.

      • Micah Eichelberg

        Or you could get an XBOX1 to play Microsoft exclusives and buy a tablet for productivity and exclusive tablet games like Crashlands. Do you really think Remedy would agree with the sentiment that Microsoft’s approach to PC development of exclusives gives PC players a superior experience?

    • PCMR Truth™ #BlockMeIWin

      If you care about gaming. You have a PC

      If you don’t you own a console and are holding the industry back.

  • Samuel Pettey

    Not. I play Halo & every thing else on PS4.

    Trading up for xbone S & Neo in time.

    Yet I am a PC guy. Just got consoles for titles and larger multiplayer game base.

  • Gene

    Had to stop on the first paragraph, author is ignorant. Used games would’ve been FREE dumb, dumb. MS’s original policy would’ve been very much like Steam. You think Steam is terrible? Lol. Never reading this fanBOY site ever again. Get your facts straight, DO YOUR JOB.

    • Thomas Ella

      How does “used games would’ve been FREE” make sense? They’ll just give away used games for free? Maybe you don’t remember the original Xbox One reveal, but Microsoft originally wanted to require a constant online connection to verify that you’re the owner of the disc and restrict the game to your console only. You couldn’t just pass games around between friends as a result, and that’s why Sony put out that hilarious “how to share used games on PS4” video. Thanks to the backlash, Microsoft canceled the DRM policy.

      • cozmokron

        . . . did you not read what the person said that you just commented back on? wow.. you are handicapped. everything you are saying is garbage man, DRM was an amazing thing that stupid ignorant kids like yourself didn’t and still do not understand and there is no point explaining it to you because the correct information on that has been out so long you have to be some kind of intellectual midget to not understand it by now. anyways enough insulting your lacking of intelligence because its to easy. your 1 of two people after writing this article. #1 you are either a really really hurting xbox fan and can’t afford all of the marketing schemes Microsoft keeps throwing into the market and you can’t take it so your trying to make other people not want to by it with your pity ignorance. or you are a ps4 fangirl and the fact that Microsoft is making another console that even further surpasses ps4. either way all your twisted facts and direction of conversation points to you being ill informed and you clearly do not know anything about what you are writing about. it’s a good thing nobody paid you to do this, you would be fired immediately after posting this garbage.

      • cozmokron

        you actually composed this crap, support it and stand by it?! you do realize people are not as stupid as you and already know all this facts that you are trying to twist right?. . your a waist of the worlds time because you feel so strong about your own personal opinion yet feel the need to impose it onto other people and force people to try and agree with you when you are incorrect. You made a huge mistake by posting such a widely incorrect and poorly written article. The name Thomas Ella will be widely known now for spreading credulous miss information about other companies and organisations. I don’t know why you want the reputation of being discredited but you own it

      • cozmokron

        your a stupid kid and your mother should take your internet away from you for a month and ground you. you’ve been a bad kid man lying to everyone, contradicting yourself and not understanding simple concepts and decisions a company made or why. here let me just pry apart one pity topic you touch on the “The company is trying to tear down the walls separating console and PC, and in doing so, it’s destroying any reason to buy a Project Scorpio” ignorant part okay so you do realize that by unifying the two it doesn’t discourage people from wanting to buy pc and go to xbox so why would it discourage people from wanting to buy xbox instead of pc? smart people buy console because they dont want to ruin there back from pc gaming because of ergonomics, expense and uncomfortable keyboard and mouse setups etc all personal choices people make. not a personal choice you make for them with your opinion, you are trying to tell people how they should feel about something with false information and thats just wrong. anyone can see that tho, just look at all the people pissed off at your retarded self in the comments. you are an idiot, go jump off of a bridge for creating such crap.

      • cozmokron

        FYI i will be linking this article to well known forum pages with informed communities to further spread the misinforming of your article and further expose what horrible article you wrote on hardcoregamer. unfortunately you writing this article for hardcoregamer is going to really damage hardcoregamers reputation. but you an ignorant selfish prick who imposes your opinion on other people who probably has narcissistic personality disorder. deflate a little bit oh wait i can help you with that! here ill deflate you right now by making some links in the right spots on the internet :), everyone is going to know who you are! your going to be famous! for spreading misinforming crap

  • Big C

    Fanboy much? This is painfully biased. ive owned pretty much every console since the snes and every generation have theese fanboys. didnt expect to see one as a writer on a “serious” page though. You my sir. Have failed…

  • Soda Jack

    I would kill myself if I had to use a PC for gaming. Sitting at an uncomfortable desk, and using a clunky kb&mouse doesn’t make you “hardcore”. There are better reasons not to game on a PC than anyone could ever convince me otherwise.

    • stephen

      buy you a desk made for gaming, a nice chair………you can also use what ever controller you like. lots of computers have bluetooth now also. i have a 40inch tv in my room where my rig is hooked up and a lot of the time i play games in my bed with a ps4 controller. not to mention mods. sure for now the consoles are gonna get a few mods but nothing spectacular here soon, but nothing thats like on pc.

  • i3myX1

    “Project Scorpio is not going to fundamentally solve the problems with consoles: it is still a closed platform, it is still locked to the same hardware for a number of years, it will still prevent you from upgrading parts over time to save money. In short: it’s not a PC”

    Whut??!!! I have to disagree, I’ve been a PC only gamer for over 10 years and in 2013 I jumped to console cause console gaming is much more comfortable than playing on PC.

    Closed platform and locked hardware -> good for devs and great for gamers as games are “plug and play”, no need for endless search for the right performing graphics driver update and no endless searching for the right graphics settings of a game.

    And how is investing 400-700 bucks every 2 years for the next high end GPU saving money????

    Don’t get me wrong there are many benefits if you game on PC like:
    – cheaper games
    – mods
    – better graphics

    But on console you have a more social experience (XBL/PSN) and you get a system closed out of hackers. The ease of use is very comfortable and you can game in horizontal position with a gamepad in your hands.
    If I would like to play a MP FPS on PC i.e. I would have to play with mouse and keyboard in a straight up position. I am too old for that to enjoy that kind of gaming after a long day at work. Hence I went console.
    The only way I could see myself going back is if they make the crossplatform thing with XBL and PC with mandatory gamepad controls happen. So I could enjoy the PC benefits with gamepad gameplay. But then you still have the constant driver update and google searches for bug fixes and driver settings for many games.

    PC gaming gives you the best looking and in many games a modded experience but it comes at the price of comfort. If you prefer the the ease of use of a console you should game there.

    IMO PC gaming is more a hobby of gaming and beeing interested in building your own hardware and software experience, hence investing a lot of time in your setup. This can be a joy, no doubt. I liked it for so many years: Going with state of the art tech and customize every aspect of your experience.
    But now I have no time for that kind of commitment anymore. So I wanted to focus on gaming only and thus went the console route.

    • Thomas Ella

      “And how is investing 400-700 bucks every 2 years for the next high end GPU saving money????”

      Easy answer: don’t.

  • EmperorRosko

    I really don’t get these “gaming” websites who write articles like this stuff almost trying to start a flame war between consoles.

    Not sure about anyone else, but I don’t love systems, I love games, and I will be hoping to have both Scorpio and Neo in my life. Along with my slightly ageing PC. Why would a true gamer restrict themselves to a single machine. I couldnt deal with only having a PS4 and not getting to play Forza series, Gear of War, Halo etc. And I would feel the same way about only having an Xbox and not getting a chance to play Uncharted, and the upcoming Days Gone, among countless amazing looking PS4 titles.

    If you love games, the fan boy trash talking about the oposited system needs to stop.

    • Thomas Ella

      At the end of the article, I said it now makes more sense to get a PS Neo and a PC rather than a Scorpio since Microsoft is putting their first-party games on PC from now on. So as per your post, you’d be able to play all of Sony and Microsoft’s exclusives.

  • ShowanW

    another horribly written article, by another site looking to cash in on the Microsoft name…With another cliched Microsoft when launching the Xbox One…Blah blah blah… DRM…blah blah blah…
    has sense.. blah…

    Did the author of this post really say that PC gaming is cheaper?

    There’s no need for me to even carry on with this non-sense that was written by Hardcore Gamer.

    They wrote this click bait garbage, and got their click.. They should cut MS (as well as these other “unbiased” gaming websites) a royalty check…

    • Brazinger

      It is cheaper, though. You can buy a 600-euro PC and it’ll work for years.

      Games come out at 40-50 euros and 4 months later already have a -50% discount.

      I’ve read quite a lot of people, who switched to PC, because they couldn’t afford to keep buying games they wanted with the prices they have them on sale on consoles.

      • stephen

        i own pc, ps4 and xbox and gotta say it is cheaper on pc. not only is there steam but you got sites you can buy cd keys as well.

        • Brazinger

          Pretty much :p

  • sazse007

    “The smart play, even for Xbox diehards, will be to pick up a PlayStation Neo and a great PC to get the best of both worlds.” What about price? Its an important factor!

    • Thomas Ella

      Very true, price is an important factor. But that’s where things get complicated. PC gaming has much a higher initial cost but in the long-term gets cheaper than console gaming given that you can swap out parts when you want to at a price range that makes sense for you rather than replacing the entire box. As well, games are cheaper on PC, etc.

  • Eddie Battikha

    Its all about games which Sony has, with a year head start over Scorpio Sony will kill em in sales. 55 inch 4K HDR TV and New Playstation here I come.

  • Micah Eichelberg

    It is an odd situation for the industry. Although the article seems biased. Mentioning fastest selling consoles makes the industry seem healthy, but the overall number of console sales is still lagging. Also the idea that the modularity of pc hardware saves money is wrong. Closed systems are cheaper to produce, sell, and buy. The PS4 is the cheapest in dollars for performance that you will find. Sony is selling hardware with a free OS. PC is premium for modularity, and half your resources are used for security and automated processes.

  • cozmokron

    well the person who wrote this is pretty close to the most ignorant waist of skin on the planet, way to discredit hardcoregamer for life and ruin is reputation for ever having a descent article. this writer nailed making himself look as dumb as possible. save what little dignity you have left by not posting or replying to anything anymore, everything you say just makes you look even worse somehow. i didn’t know anyone could make themselves look so bad and continue to ruin self image beyond that but you still surprise me in that way. **slow claps you off the stage fallowed by some cheers of happiness upon you removing yourself from everyone**

  • cozmokron

    don’t piss me off. . well you can but you might not like it once you do. . reading this pissed me off

  • Evil_Annie_2015

    The Pro Sony “writers” trying hard to deal wih the fact that MS will have the MOST powerful console.

    The reasons to buy the Scorpio are the same for all console gamers: Simplicity and Price Performance. PERIOD! Unless of course, if MS tries to price the Scorpio at about $1000 which I doubt it.

    PC players are already hooked with their machines to even consider a console. Also, MS exclusives will ran under their own Windows app so It will not matter if a game is purchased on PC or Xbox since the profits will go to them. So, writers like Thomas Ella should simply write about their beloved PS since they do not seem to understand the direction MS is taking with its gaming division.

    • Sangor

      Do you really think that by the time Scorpio releases Sony will have nothing waiting in the wings in answer to Microsoft’s new machine? They may have the “MOST powerful console” but It probably won’t hold that title for very long.

  • Steve

    For all the fanboys on either side commenting on this article – try reading it again without the blinkers on…

    He’s making a perfectly valid point, if this “new world” of consoles includes mid-cycle upgrades, then paying for a new console every few years will become the norm…

    To play Sony exclusives, that means buying a PS4, Neo, whatever’s next.

    To play Microsoft exclusives, there’s now the option of simply buying them on a PC. So if I’m going to upgrade every few years, why would I spend the money to upgrade to the next xbox (paying for a power supply, memory etc that I already have), when I can spend less and get more bang for my buck paying for just a new graphics card or cpu or whatever is the weakest link in my PC..

    Microsoft says all their games will be PC & Xbox compatible so the reason to buy an xbox is gone. PC will always give the better result, and yes you can connect a controller to your PC so you can sit on the couch if that’s your big gripe with PC gaming… Think before flaming kids.

    • Evil_Annie_2015

      His point would be valid if EVERYONE had the basic PC knowledge and patience to dealing with driver upgrades, graphic card versions, USB versions, bluetooth versions and whatever else comes into the mix. Console players look for the simplicity and price performance. We want to unbox the console, connect it and play it, and if it needs an update we just click update and Done. We do not want to deal with individual component updates of different versions of what I mentioned before.

      Now, It is clear that pro-Sony “journalists” understand what MS is doing, but purposely try to stir confusion and spread misinformation. MS is no longer treating the Xbox brand as a separate entity, they are simply trying to create an ecosystem. This will surely NOT encourage PC gamers to buy an Xbox, but it will NOT make Console gamers to run to PC either.

      The PC/PS makes sense for PC gamers only , but makes NO sense for those who prefer Consoles for the reasons given. In fact for console gamers who want to play EVERYTHING the XboxConsole /PLayStation combination REMAINS untouched.

  • PCMR Truth™ #BlockMeIWin

    Why would you buy an underpowered PS Neo for worse multiplats a bunch of last of us clones, a another garbage gran turismo completely surpassed by PC simulators, and God Of War “Dont talk to Me and my wifes son” edition.

    The answer is simple. You play on PC or you get the worst experience, period. The sooner we kill consoles and the scumbag fanbases. The sooner the industry moves on.

    If you aren’t playing on PC. You are not a true gamer.