Microsoft Talks Xbox Scorpio and the End of Console Generations

"There appears to be a lot of demand and interest around Project Scorpio, and we think it's going to be a pretty big success."


Microsoft's Aaron Greenberg has shared some new insight into the company's upcoming Project Scorpio system, which it calls the "most powerful console ever made."

Asked by Engadget if this is the final console generation, Greenberg said, "I think it is." That's because, he said, Project Scorpio doesn't constitute a new generation per se because it is backwards compatible.

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Now Playing: Scorpio Announcement from Xbox Conference at E3 2016

"For us, we think the future is without console generations," he said. "We think that the ability to build a library, a community, to be able to iterate with the hardware--we're making a pretty big bet on that with Project Scorpio. We're basically saying, 'This isn't a new generation; everything you have continues forward and it works.' We think of this as a family of devices."

At the same time, however, it sounds like Microsoft is not completely set in its ways as it relates to there being no more traditional console generations after this one.

"But we'll see," Greenberg said. "We're going to learn from this, we're going to see how that goes. So far I'd say, based on the reaction, there appears to be a lot of demand and interest around Project Scorpio, and we think it's going to be a pretty big success. If the games and the content deliver, which I think they will do, I think it will change the way we think about the future of console gaming."

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Historically, when new hardware comes out, games and accessories for the older machine do not work on the new one. This won't be the case with Project Scorpio--and it's part of the selling point.

"So we're saying, if you bought games and accessories for your Xbox One, or you buy an Xbox One S, those games and those accessories are going to work on Project Scorpio," Greenberg said. "When you think about backwards compatibility and our games lineup, we want gamers to know that when they're ready to upgrade to Scorpio, that content will go with them. That's our promise and commitment around compatibility."

Scorpio won't have any exclusive games, except for virtual reality titles, Greenberg also confirmed in the interview. You can read the full Engadget interview here.

Xbox head of operations Dave McCarthy previously talked about the strides Microsoft is making in the console space with the Scorpio device.

"I think the really important thing for people to understand is the nut we've tried to crack here is ensuring we hit hardware innovation at the same time we ensure compatibility," he explained in June about Scorpio. "That term of an upgrade is gone. We are wiping out those generational boundaries. As a gamer, it's pretty cool. Because then I know the games I buy and play today and the controllers I use today are going to work on that machine of tomorrow. And that's the real major step-change."

As for why Microsoft is releasing Scorpio next year, McCarthy explained that 2017 is a "really natural" time to release a system that takes advantage of 4K TV sets, which are growing in popularity and dropping in price. Another Xbox executive, Phil Spencer, said at E3 that Microsoft considered releasing Scorpio this year, but decided against it.

Project Scorpio, or whatever Microsoft ends up calling it, is slated to arrive in holiday 2017. Microsoft isn't the only platform-holder working on new hardware, as Sony's PlayStation Neo is also on the way and could be formally announced during an event in New York City next month. Nintendo's NX, which is also only a codename, will come out in March 2017; it supposedly runs on "industry-leading" technology.

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