Xbox Scorpio Will Be a Premium Console. Obviously

Posted on November 18, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Xbox One with 30 Comments

Xbox Scorpio Will Be a Premium Console. Obviously

Next year’s Xbox “Project Scorpio” console will be higher-priced than the affordable Xbox One S. Because obviously.

I can feel the hairs on the back of my neck standing at attention, waiting for the faux outrage to begin. But that’s silly: As with Sony’s PlayStation 4 lineup, the Xbox One console family will be segregated into mainstream and premium options. And the premium console, Scorpio, will obviously be more expensive than the Xbox One S.

Here’s how Microsoft’s Phil Spencer explains it.

“Scorpio will be a premium console,” he says. “It will cost more than [Xbox One] S, obviously. That’s how we’re building it. We haven’t announced price points for Scorpio yet, but I want to make sure that the investments we’re putting into the product meet the demands of the higher-end customer. And that will be a higher price.”

Spencer also discusses what is apparently still a hot button topic for some gamers, that console makers are no longer sticking with the same, stale hardware design over several years. Instead, there will be mid-stream additions to the product family going forward that extend the capabilities of each console generation.

“There’s not one product that our customers come in and buy,” he says. “Some people come in and buy the 500 GB Xbox One S. Many people now are buying our original Xbox One consoles that are a very good price. There’s no one product that … defines how you’re doing in that market. It’s really the breadth of all the products you have at all the price points. Scorpio is for a higher-end customer who demands the most that they can get out of a console. And we built a console to meet that demand.”

Since Sony is adopting the same strategy, it is instructional to see where that company prices its own consoles.

The least expensive PlayStation is the PlayStation 4 Slim 500 GB console, which costs $300. This maps directly to Microsoft’s new Xbox One S 500 GB console, which likewise costs $300.

Higher up the food chain, the new PlayStation 4 Pro 1 TB console costs $400. And because this console seems similar to the Xbox “Project Scorpio” on paper, one might naturally assume that $400 will be the starting price for Microsoft’s coming premium console.

I don’t think so, however.

Scorpio will be a higher-end device than the PS4 Pro, and will feature “obvious” performance and graphical advantages over the Sony offering, Microsoft says. For example, all Microsoft-published Scorpio games will “natively render” at 4K, meaning that they will not be upsized, as is the case with virtually all PS4 Pro 4 titles today.

So my guess is that Scorpio will debut at a $500 price point, if not higher. In fact, I could see Scorpio retailing for double the price of the Xbox One S, especially if it actually includes VR hardware.

Anyway, we’ll see what happens. We still have this holiday selling season to get through, and I suspect that Scorpio’s hardware specs—and the component costs it will require—are a moving target. Microsoft probably has vague ideas about the price, and hopes that it will be on the lower end of that range. But it’s just far too early to worry about this kind of thing.


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Comments (30)

30 responses to “Xbox Scorpio Will Be a Premium Console. Obviously”

  1. 7037

    MS should observe what is currently happening to the PS/4 Pro. The Pro isn't enough of a leap over the regular PS/4. That's why the Pro runs some games slower than the regular PS/4.

    • 6171

      In reply to wshwe
      From what I understand, the "slower" description is simply wrong--some older games run at slower frame rates on the Pro because they are being run at higher resolutions than possible on the base console and also at higher IQ settings, as well.  The Pro is much more powerful than the base consoles all the way around--at the same resolutions and IQ settings, no way would it be slower--not possible.  Now that consoles are x86 PCs inside, console owners will need to start learning the basics about why games run as they do and why resolution and IQ settings affect frame-rates, etc.
  2. 289

    It will be nice if they offer a separate SKU that includes a bundled VR headset, but I can't imagine they would risk another Kinect-like debacle by forcing people to buy an expensive accessory they might not want.

  3. 412

    I will be interested to see if it will have an "Echo" or "Google Home" like Microphone built in for voice commands or if we will see one last stab at the KINECT. 

  4. 8179

    Aside from 'premium' materials - what else can they do? Faster processor and RAM? Obviously, and that's cheap. Better video processing? Of Course. But this is to be expected and wouldn't require much more of a premium price. So unless they release a system made of metal and glass that takers its design cues from Surface, not sure what they can add to require more than $100+ price tag...

  5. 410

    AS has been proven by Google with the Pixel, people are prepared to pay for perceived quality, even when the hardware isn't particularly special.   Let's face it Apple has been pulling that stunt for years...

    MS has an opportunity to "do a Surface" and move the game[sic] on a bit with some very high specs to reflect the high price.  As others have suggested a range of SKUs offering additional\better features (and a potentially lucrative add-ons business) would enable the entry price to be reduced a bit - it works for BMW, so why not?

  6. 6171

    Since both the Sony and Microsoft consoles are x86 PCs according to AMD, it makes all the sense in the world that console design should evolve to be much more like regular PC's--since PCs are by far the best value going for gaming.  The ultimate console isn't here yet, though--but it is coming, I've no doubt.  The "ultimate" console will be a fully user-serviceable, user-upgradable console in which the cpu, the gpu and the ram and drives can all be upgraded by the console owner.   I'm surprised it hasn't already been done.

  7. 5530

    Sony has created sort of a mess with the PS4 Pro, games 'optimized' for it come with graphical options to upscale, run native, run with better framerates, run with capped framerates, run with unlocked framerates, and/or run with better graphics. It can be any of these....but really the PS4 Pro should be a 4k machine. They've sort of only hit the mark halfway. Project Scorpio needs to avoid this mess.

  8. 5767

    Sorry but even $399 is DOA because PS4 Pro will be reduced in price to $349 when Scorpio launches. So what is Microsoft to do here, take a huge loss on every console? They are in quite a bind.

  9. 289

    You need only figure out the price that most rational, intelligent people think Scorpio should go for given it's relative performance improvement over the Xbox One S and the PS4 Pro, as well as Microsoft's position relative to Sony in terms of console sales and momentum next fall; then add $100 to that price. 

  10. 6593

    This new era of console gaming is the same as it's ever been in the PC gaming world. You can either buy low, med or high-end systems that all have the ability to play the same games at different levels of speed/quality. With play anywhere the lines are blurred, gaming is becoming one regardless of platform. I imagine PC to Xbox ports are much easier with DirectX which gives MS the upper hand.

  11. 760

    I don't think it will sell (can?) for more than a $100 premium over PS4 Pro. Right now that would be $500, but I suspect the PS4 Pro will be cheaper by next Fall. Any higher price risks a repeat of the problems with the Xbox One launch pricing and will lessen the install base-- and thus the incentive of developers to take advantage of Scorpio's capabilities in games.

    It would be unfortunate if Scorpio did not include room scale voice recognition (like that in Kinect), but that probably requires an external microphone (or least the option of one) for those that keep the console in a cabinet.

  12. 427

    My hope is this type of thing, means very little changes to games to port to PC. It seems like today most Big games are console first with crappy PC ports. 

  13. 3272

    by the time of release they should be able to have GTX 1070 equivalent card in there since it will be a 15 month old card by then. Give it a browser, keyboard and mouse support and really blur the lines between console and PC as far as gaming and compatibility. Price it at 600 or bundle VR with it for 800. I will be all in. I have moved to pC gaming the last few years and my Xbox One doesn't get used alot but I am really excited about Scorpio and what it could be as well as having a very capable VR living room solution.

  14. 2330

    I'm alright with a Premium console price as long as it brings Premium features and specs - if it ends up costing as much as me building a PC, I'll just build a new rig and not have to worry about having an Xbox anymore.

    I could see this being at $600 pretty easily and I would be alright with that if they do the above.


  15. 442

    I had my fingers crossed for a wide range of entry points.  But this scenario is not too far removed from that, just not as homogeneous.  Also, why no mention of the PS 4.5?

  16. 6844

    It also seems obvious that in five years the Scorpio hardware will make its way into the lower priced slim Xbox segment.....and next gen hardware comes in to replace Scorpio.

  17. 8754

    Would a high end xBox with more capabilities also require a high end version of a game be produced that is not compatible with the "S" version?