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Speculation has run rampant about the details, specs, and price of the upcoming Project Scorpio from Microsoft. The new Xbox machine is set to take the world by storm during the Microsoft E3 press conference, but not before the price was slipped out to the general public... a price of $499.99.
The host of the E3 Coliseum seemed to let slip on Twitter that the Xbox Scorpio would be $499.99. This was the price that was floating around since Microsoft originally announced the Scorpio.
Given that a big pitch during the announcement was about the Scorpio being able to play games at a native 4K resolution and 60 frames per second, a bunch of people scoffed at the idea that a console would aim for those specs, and others buried their heads in their hands worried over the price of the machine.
Some numbers initially flew off the handle, saying it would be pretty high after head honcho Phil Spencer mentioned that the Xbox Scorpio would be a premium machine. This instantly led a lot of people toward the $499 or $599 price point, since that was what it cost to get your hands on the PlayStation 3 when it launched back in 2006 for a similar price.
At the time the PS3 was pushing for Blu-ray and touting the power of the "Cell". The Cell certainly was a truly powerful piece of technology, but many considered it (even to this day) to be a piece of "alien" technology.
Microsoft wants to go in the opposite direction of the PS3, having super-powerful hardware that's easy to design for. In fact, the Scorpio is already being touted as being fully backward compatible with Xbox One features right out of the box.
The backward compatibility isn't the only thing it's capable of, though. The Scorpio has the ability to auto-upscale Xbox One games. So games that previously ran piss-poor on the Xbox One will run smooth as butter on the Scorpio. Games that had poor resolution or choppy frame-rate problems on the Xbox One will have smooth on the Scorpio and have higher resolution (where applicable).
Of course, the real sell for the Xbox Scorpio will be with its software library. While backward compatibility is definitely a welcomed feature, spending $499 on a new machine means that it needs high-quality software there to justify the price. Microsoft learned early on that the $499 price point for the original Xbox One wasn't sustainable due to a lack of compelling software and less than spectacular hardware under the hood. This time around they definitely managed to get the hardware right.
Hopefully Microsoft will have a line-up of games available throughout the first quarter of the Xbox Scorpio's release to ensure that gamers will have plenty of software to use to flex the GPU muscles of Microsoft's newest $499 gaming console.