Microsoft dropped the gauntlet in terms of ushering in the new generation of home console gaming with the announcement of the Xbox Scorpio and its specs. Well, Sony executive Andrew House had some interesting things to say about the new Xbox console.
Here are a few choice quotes from an interview that House had with The Guardian, where he explained...
I was surprised by the step of announcing something over a year ahead of time, [...] There's a much heavier emphasis on immediate gratification than there was, [...] A lot of that is to do with how Apple has very cleverly and elegantly managed the 'available now' approach. So yes, [the timing of the Xbox Scorpio announcement] was a slight surprise to me.
Slight correction to House's comments: consoles used to be on an average five year cycle, this is not adopting Apple's hardware management schedule, it's going back to the way things used to be.
Before, the home consoles were always pushing the boundaries, always ticking the boxes of innovation, and always trying something radically new even if it didn't turn out to be all that cool (the Virtual Boy, anyone?).
It wasn't until the seventh generation with the Xbox 360 and PS3 did we get stuck in an almost 10 year console cycle. This resulted in nearly industry-wide stagnation on the technology front when it came to software innovation in the home console space. PC gaming on the other hand took this opportunity to blast so far ahead that the price to performance ratio between consoles and PCs is almost 3:1 at this point.
With the new GPUs from Nvidia and AMD absolutely running circles around the current gen consoles, it was becoming a joke how far behind the eighth gen systems were being left behind due to their near off-the-shelf style design as opposed to the propriety tech that both Sony and Microsoft utilized in previous generations. The companies had to respond by taking drastic measures, and Microsoft took that first step by announcing the Xbox Scorpio during their E3 press conference. The console is due to drop next year during the holiday season. No price point was revealed yet.
According to Andrew House, the migration from console to PC was a factor that was potentially encroaching on the growth of their install base and they couldn't afford to let that go unchallenged. House explained to The Guardian...
We did think there was an opportunity to reflect on the traditional lifecycle, and on 4K technology, and say maybe there's an opportunity, within the course of a normal lifecycle to offer something else, something a little bit better, for a segment of the market that feels that this is important,
We've traditionally seen that some of the core audience tends to gravitate back to high-end PCs at some point because these are the people who want the finest graphical performance, [...] So here's a great opportunity to have them stay within our ecosystem
Microsoft made it known that the Xbox Scorpio would have a GPU almost as powerful as the Titan X and that it would have a much faster and more powerful octocore CPU. They didn't get into too many details on the specs but it definitely puts Sony on the spot. In fact, Sony withheld announcing the PS4 Neo at their press conference this year, with some speculating that the Xbox Scorpio's specs put some fear into their hearts. We'll likely learn more about the PS4 Neo and its specs either later this year or during next year's E3, closer to the time when the new console preps for launch.