I’m still not entirely following where Microsoft and Sony intend to take this “generationless” future of gaming. To my understanding, we are going to start treating consoles as incremental improvements on themselves, much like tablets, and they will become universal platforms that support games which never go out of fashion.
It’s all a bit confusing, and Microsoft struck first with its planned Project Scorpio. When originally revealed at E3 this past year, Microsoft said that while the new hardware allows for much more powerful gaming experiences, it wasn’t going to produce any exclusive console games for the upgraded device. Its message of “leaving nobody behind” meant that anybody who bought games for an Xbox One, regardless of the model, will be able to play them on any Xbox One system.
Fair enough, but then… what’s the point of more power? To improve the games I already have? I’m fine with how they run on standard equipment. If better performance means another huge price tag every three years, I will never cough up the price of new hardware if there was no new software waiting for me.
Not so fast! In an interview with Engadget, Microsoft’s head of Xbox games marketing Aaron Greenberg further explained what Microsoft meant when it said “no new exclusive console games.”
The idea was, first, how can we innovate with hardware without sacrificing compatibility? Generally when you bring a new iteration of console hardware you lose compatibility with their games and accessories. So we’re saying, if you bought games and accessories for your Xbox One, or you buy an Xbox One S, those games and those accessories are going to work on Project Scorpio. When you think about backwards compatibility and our games lineup, we want gamers to know that when they’re ready to upgrade to Scorpio, that content will go with them. That’s our promise and commitment around compatibility.
The next thing was “Are you going to make games exclusively to Project Scorpio?” And we said we’re not going to have console-exclusive games for Project Scorpio. It’s one ecosystem — whether you have an Xbox One S or Project Scorpio, we don’t want anyone to be left behind, Now, with the power and capabilities we have, we’ll be able to do high-fidelity VR. Now, that space, we don’t think of that as console gaming, we think of that as high-fidelity VR, and so with the VR experiences those will be new things that you will get on Project Scorpio.
Essentially, Microsoft has just started to dictate that VR and console gaming are going to be viewed as separate ventures. VR games can be played on a console, but they will not be viewed as “home-console games” in Microsoft’s eyes. This allows it to say “Project Scorpio won’t have ‘console-exclusive games'” and still be telling the truth.
An interpretation of its own truth, but still the truth. Isn’t the future of gaming so bright and cheery?