Project Scorpio Is Sounding Really Expensive

Xbox One S
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft hasn't talked much about the Xbox Scorpio after unveiling it back at E3. They've talked around it but not really about it. Well, they finally revealed some new information about what gamers can expect and, apparently, the Scorpio is sounding really expensive.

GamePur picked up the news about the premium price from a response that the head of the Xbox division, Phil Spencer, made after Wedbush Morgan Securities analyst Michael Pachter said it would be "suicide" if Microsoft tried to sell the Xbox Scorpio for more than $399.99. Spencer said...

Scorpio will be a premium console. It will cost more than S, obviously, this is how we are building it up. We have not announced the pricing yet, but want to make sure that the investment we are making in the product of Scorpio goes hand in hand with the requirement of high-end consumer and that means a higher price.

We know that the Scorpio will be priced higher than the Xbox One S, which is $299.99. Some people think that "high-end consumer" is a phrase that relates to the upper echelon of gamers, the type of people willing to put in heavy amounts of funds to build PC master rigs, or the high-end price that the PS3 launched at back in 2006. However, this would be suicide from Microsoft, like Pachter mentions, because consoles are too far behind on the tech curve to chase the graphics benchmarks of today's highest-end PCs.

During the seventh generation the Xbox 360 and PS3 actually offered gamers some good bang for the buck, with high-end gaming output that rivaled the likes of gaming PCs for some years. However, the generation stretched on for way too long, and then, by the time the Xbox One and PS4 came onto the market, they were only moderately more powerful than their previous gen counterparts and nearly two generations behind PCs.

Based on the specs that are available for the Xbox Scorpio, it's slightly-above a mid-range PC, but still far off from a desktop computer running high-speed RAM, an overclocked i7 and a GTX 1080. Going for a $599 or $699 price point for the Scorpio would be "suicide".

However, the phrase "high-end consumer" may not necessarily mean that the console has to be $599 or $699. What if "high-end consumer" is pricing the Scorpio at $499? At that price it's possible that Microsoft could win over some gamers if the rumors about their partnership with Oculus turns out to be true, and the Scorpio ends up having compatibility with the Oculus Rift and is capable of running games from the Oculus Store.

It would still be very expensive and would be a tough sell for a lot of gamers, but it would also put the Scorpio in the VR race for people who don't want to upgrade their PC or go through the trouble of making sure they have the right specs to use the headset.

But, of course, the price and specs of the Xbox Scorpio are all dependent on what Microsoft plans on using it for. Both Sony and Microsoft have had identity issues with their consoles this generation, focusing on a lot of other things aside from video games. With Nintendo putting a strong focus on hybrid multiplayer gaming with the Nintendo Switch, both Microsoft and Sony will need to hunker down and figure out what they want the identity of their platforms to be.

Microsoft gunning for the high-end consumer is a risky move, but it could pay off if they have the games to back it up. So far, neither Sony nor Microsoft have really "wowed" with a plentiful supply of first-party offerings to make the PS4 and Xbox One really stand out. So Microsoft would need some killer-apps to help sell the Xbox Scorpio if they really are going to target a premium, "high-end consumer" price-point.

Will Usher

Staff Writer at CinemaBlend.