With the PlayStation 4 Pro launching by the end of this year, the ball is firmly in Microsoft’s court to counter the hype, performance and pricing of Sony’s Machine. Microsoft certainly has Sony beaten in one thing – rather handily at that; the consoles performance. Not all of Project Scorpio’s details have been revealed, but it’s pretty clear by now that the system enjoys a significant performance advantage over the PS4 Pro, which begs the question – how much will the Xbox Scorpio cost?
“So you can see the price of the S today. When we designed both of these, which we kind of designed it in parallel. 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,” said Phil Spencer.
“So I think you will feel like it’s a premium product, he continued “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,” finished Spencer during his interview with NZGamer.
Microsoft have naturally been pretty aggressive with the marketing of both the Xbox One S and pushing the notion the PS4 Pro will be an inferior piece of technology to that of Project Scorpio. It’s arguable one area Sony shot themselves in the foot was their decision to omit a 4K UDH Blu Ray drive in the PlayStation 4 Pro. Sony’s Andrew House had previously mentioned that it was because they believe the average user was pushing towards streaming, but most likely price was the biggest factor, Sony wishing to squeeze the Pro in at $399.99 / £349.9.
Microsoft’s Albert Penello went on record by admitting he was ‘surprised’ by the decision by Sony during an interview with the Guardian. ““The lack of a 4K disc player, given Sony’s media background, was a surprise. Looking at what they’ve done historically, I don’t think many people would have predicted that.”
“It’s interesting to me that [Sony] arrived at a very similar sort of strategy to Scorpio – we came to this bold idea independently of each other. Even though the tactics are different, the idea, fundamentally, is very similar.”
“On the games, we had to give ourselves a goal for what performance level we wanted to build in the box – and our goal was to be able to deliver true 4K games: the same engines running on Xbox One being about to run in Scoprio on 4K,” he said. “But we’ve said very clearly that it’s up to the developers how they want to take advantage of that power. Some developers focus on effects, some on frame rate some on resolution – it’s up to them what they want to do.”
In regards to Project Scorpio running native 4K games, Mr Penello said: “We don’t tell developers what to do,” he said. “But if you go back and look at things like putting a hard drive in a box, cloud computing, and the ethernet port that we included in the original xbox, and now 4K and HDR – these are all things that developers came to us and asked us to support. It’s a dialogue through the product development process – you speak to developers, you look at where technology is going and you make a set of decisions about the platform, the canvas that they create their art on.
“You’ve got to look to PC games development to understand this. In the last five years, there’s been a real renaissance in PC gaming, and that’s happening with Nvidia and AMD investing in really high-end performance – to the point where PCs have eclipsed consoles much more significantly than ever before. In fact consoles used to lead PCs and it would take a while for them to catch up.
“If you look at game engines like Frostbite and Unreal, developers have got really good at scaling – they’re excellent at figuring out how to build textures at very high resolutions, then being able to optimise that artwork for various platforms. With that in consideration, it will be easier to take advantage of the performance difference of Scorpio because these guys are already building games that far surpass what consoles can do today.”
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