Why Microsoft Announced Two New Xbox Consoles at E3

"I wanted to give customers a view into what we were doing."


Microsoft announced two new Xbox devices at E3 this week. The Xbox One S launches in August, while the more powerful Project Scorpio comes out during holiday 2017. Some might have wondered why Microsoft elected to announce the further-out system now, more than a year before its release. There is also the thinking that, if consumers know a better Xbox console is coming, why buy an Xbox One or Xbox One S now?

Now, Microsoft's gaming boss Phil Spencer has provided an answer. Speaking on GameSpot sister site Giant Bomb's E3 livestream today, Spencer said he wanted to be as transparent as possible with consumers and developers alike.

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"The reason we announced when we did--one is I wanted to give customers a view into what we were doing," Spencer said. "If they say I have an Xbox One now, I'm thinking about an Xbox One S, I want to be as transparent as I can be so they know they're buying with as much information as I can give them. I can't always give them all the information, but I want to give them this information.

"I want to talk about Scorpio so customers can feel like they have a view into what we were doing so they could make the decision that is right for them."

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The Scorpio system is the most powerful console Microsoft has ever made, boasting six teraflops of performance. This comes out to four and half times as powerful as the existing Xbox One, Spencer said. Scorpio won't replace the Xbox One, or the Xbox One S, however, as games and peripherals for those systems will work on all Xbox devices.

Also in the interview, Spencer mentioned that it's not uncommon in the PC gaming world for a company to offer systems with different specs, something Microsoft appears to be following with its new console efforts.

"There's a logical question of, 'Hey, Phil, why would you ever announce two consoles at one show?' Why didn't you wait [and announce Scorpio later]? Clearly, other people made a decision to wait," he said, referencing Sony's decision not to show PlayStation Neo at E3. "Supporting multiple spec is something that the PC world has done for a long time; you've got minimum spec, recommended spec, unbounded spec."

Also in the interview, Spencer said Microsoft briefed developers on Scorpio "months and months ago." The existence of the system leaked, and Microsoft decided it would be better to talk openly about the console instead of refusing to acknowledge the existence of the system.

You can watch the full Giant Bomb E3 interview with Spencer here.

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