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Console Transitions Can Be "Super Disruptive," Xbox Scorpio Aims to Fix That

Historically, console transitions are exciting but also hard on gamers and developers alike, but this is changing for the better, according to Microsoft.


The Xbox Scorpio device will usher in a new wave of thinking as it relates to console generations.

On the latest Inner Circle podcast, Xbox director Albert Penello spoke about how the new Scorpio device, which launches in 2017, is Microsoft's attempt at "thinking beyond console generations." While previous transitions, like the one from Xbox 360 to Xbox One, have been "disruptive"--for developers and gamers alike--the move to Scorpio will be different. The device introduces the idea that Xbox consoles exist in the same family, with the games and peripherals you own able to move forward with you.

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Now Playing: Project Scorpio Reactions at E3 2016

"You hear us talking about thinking beyond console generations. It's not the idea that you don't want to do consoles anymore or that there's not going to be more performance [in the future with new systems]," Penello said. "But if you go back and look at console generations, they're always super exciting when something new comes out, but they're super disruptive.

"They're really hard on developers, because they have to learn how to program on these new machines; they're really hard on customers, which I think sometimes people forget," he added. "You have to give up a lot of stuff. The idea [for Scorpio and the future] is, can we smooth that out, can this be more about a family, can we think beyond, 'We're gonna do this one and then stop and then start all over again.'"

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When the Xbox Scorpio, or whatever it ends up being called, is released, it will live alongside the Xbox One and Xbox One S. Xbox Scorpio will be "the most powerful console ever made," and the entire idea of offering systems with different specs--which is not uncommon on PC--is to give consumers more choice. Not everyone buys a game console for the same reason, Penello said.

"It's really easy for people to think there's just one customer for consoles and they're reason for buying is identical across the millions of people. But there isn't; it's just not true," he said.

Going forward, people will be able to buy a console based on what's most important to them, be that price, performance, or other factors, the developer said. Whatever the case, "you can't go wrong," Penello said, because all the games and accessories will work across devices.

Also during the podcast--which is great and you should listen to the whole thing here--Penello talks about supporting all manner of "Xbox Family" devices. Will the Xbox One be supported indefinitely? It's too soon to say, Penello said, and nothing has been decided, but the director said you can look to the PC market for an example of what could happen. There, older systems are still supported years and years after release, though if you want the best experience, upgrading is the way to go. The same could be true for the console market.

This is truly an interesting time in the console space and it will be interesting to see how this plays out. It's also worth mentioning that Sony's PlayStation Neo will also be backwards compatible with PlayStation 4.

As for what come next after Scorpio, Xbox boss Phil Spencer said this week that Microsoft already has "ideas."

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