Xbox Boss Talks Scorpio, Cross-Play With PS4

Aaron Greenberg shares his thoughts on two hot topics.

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In a new interview with MCV, Xbox marketing boss Aaron Greenberg sheds some new light on two of the more exciting and interesting gaming announcements in recent months: Xbox Scorpio and cross-play between Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

On the subject of Scorpio, which was announced at E3, Greenberg was asked if the console's reveal has impacted Xbox One S sales. The thinking is that if people know a more powerful console is coming, they might hold out. In fact, GameStop recently said the announcement of Scorpio and Sony's Neo negatively impacted console sales. Greenberg didn't exactly give an answer to this question, however, instead saying Microsoft's focus will be on being "very, very aggressive" when it comes to marketing the Xbox One S.

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Microsoft will be "really focused on delivering on value with bundles and what you get for the price," he said.

Earlier this month, Xbox boss Phil Spencer said the Scorpio reveal did not "overshadow" Xbox One S. Some people believed Microsoft's announcement of Scorpio might impact Xbox S sales, but apparently that hasn't been the case. The Xbox One outsold the PS4 in the US during July (before the Xbox One S was released) and Microsoft is optimistic about how many consoles it can sell in August.

In the MCV interview, Greenberg again referred to Scorpio as the "most powerful console ever created," featuring a six-teraflop GPU. He also said the system represents the "next big leap forward in innovation for gaming" and something that has never been done before on console. What he's likely referring to is how Microsoft is, for the first time on console, treating Xbox as a family of devices.

The games and accessories you own for Xbox One or Xbox One S will work on Scorpio. For previous console transitions, like Xbox 360 to Xbox One, the games and controllers you had for the older machine were rendered basically useless on the new console. However, backwards compatibility support on Xbox One helped with some of this. Scorpio goes even further and "wipes out" the idea of a console generation and eases the "disruptive" nature of moving to a new platform, according to Microsoft.

"We announced [Scorpio] early at E3 so that we can start working with developers and partners who we know will want to take advantage of that incredible amount of power and have a good year plus to be able to plan for it," Greenberg said.

Scorpio is slated to go on sale in holiday 2017, though pricing has not been announced. For its part, Sony is working on a souped-up PS4, codenamed Neo, which could be officially revealed in September.

Also in the MCV interview, Greenberg was asked for a status update on when, if ever, there might be cross-play support between Xbox One and PS4. As has been the case for months, the ball remains in Sony's court, it seems. One of the first games that could support Xbox One-PS4 cross-play is Rocket League. Developer Psyonix has a technical solution for this, but it's still a matter of politics.

"In terms of connecting with gamers on the PlayStation Network, we fully support them to do that. And I believe they're talking to Sony about it, but I don't know the latest," Greenberg said.

Speaking generally about cross-play, Greenberg said for a game like Rocket League, it "makes sense to allow players on other platforms to compete in the same arenas. We think that is good gamers."

"Our strategy is to put gamers at the center of everything we do, and that has led us to support things like that where a developer wants to connect people on Steam, for example," he added. "They're doing that today."

Go to MCV to read the full interview.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Avatar image for bigbadcrawford
bigbadcrawford

Jeez can microsoft not take a hint, there silence and ignoring of articles tells you they don't want to. Time to stop flogging a dead horse. Crossplay won't happen

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Flyincloud1116

@bigbadcrawford: Yeah, if she doesn't call you back maybe you should get the hint. Sony's not going to do them any favors.

Avatar image for jerjef
jerjef

@flyincloud1116: But really is Sony's decision to not do this bad for MS or bad for gamers? It certainly doesn't look good for them.

Avatar image for joshrmeyer
JoshRMeyer

@jerjef: MS hasn't done cross play forever aside from like 2 games. I bought a ps4 to cross play ffxiv with friends on PC. MS wouldnt allow it. Now all of the sudden they are begging for it.

Avatar image for Mirimon78
Mirimon78

@jerjef: bad for ms, good for gamers. If ms ever drops the "under xbl control) part out of their current cross-play policy then we may have something.

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buginthesystem

@Mirimon78: can you show where in the policy Microsoft has a "under xbl control"??

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Mirimon78

@buginthesystem: yeah, go to msft.com/xbox

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buginthesystem

@Mirimon78: clearly you don't have a glue and just going on hearsay, clearly you have no evidence, no proof but are just talking pure bull and spreading fud.

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Mirimon78

@buginthesystem: said the kid who thinks humans rode dinosaurs and that Trump is who he should vote for when he gets older.

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buginthesystem

@Mirimon78: yeah go ahead, your silly tactic is to change the subject at hand in a frivolous attempt to take attention away from the fact that all this time you have been talking out your asss.

also if i'm a kid then I wonder what it must feel like for you to get set straight by a kid, huh? must be pretty mortifying on your end.

Avatar image for runstalker
runstalker

@jerjefLook at the motivations for the corporate entity first.:

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nintendians

so won't they just cross play ever system that has been released.

Avatar image for sladakrobot
sladakrobot

Thanks for the link Eddie...gonna read the full article

Avatar image for jerjef
jerjef

@sladakrobot: LOL!

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suicidesn0wman

So Eddie, will part 2 of this article be about Greenberg playing Pokemon Go?

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wtf_666

Only 16 more months of hype!!! meh

Avatar image for sladakrobot
sladakrobot

@wtf_666: December 2017 is 13 months away

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JoshRMeyer

@sladakrobot: I count 16... sept, oct, nov, Dec plus 12 months.

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sladakrobot

@joshrmeyer: I will silently delete my post above lol

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smokerob79

@sladakrobot: whats up with you??? your spot on most of the time......

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sladakrobot

@smokerob79: forgive me

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smokerob79

@sladakrobot: chit happens....

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SecretPolice

Get off the dime with cross-play Phony, we want to play together. :P

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phoenix1289

Scropio won't hurt sales that much of the Xbox one s because they really aren't aimed at the same market. The S is targeted at the general gamer who doesn't own an Xbox one yet but is interested in getting in on a version with a couple extra bells and whistles. Scorpio is a high end product aimed at the niche audience who is willing to pay extra for high end performance.

Avatar image for Tegorian
Tegorian

@phoenix1289: I agree bigger issue is how many people own a TV to take advantage of the One S?? I for one can't wait for the Scorpio on my OLED.

Avatar image for runstalker
runstalker

@Tegorian: If you really believe developers will use every ounce of the Scorpio's power simply to output at 4K, you're nuts. Most will very quickly realize that players don't actually want native 4K games running in medium quality presets at a barely 30fps, and instead they'll opt for a "2K+" solution with excellent image quality and frame rate, alongside robust upscaling.

This is why it didn't take long for MS to backtrack on their early statements and clarify that developers would be allowed to take a more flexible approach in how they elect to use the additional horsepower. That's the best possible decision.

Avatar image for sladey
sladey

@runstalker: Microsoft haven't stated it'll only run in 4k. They have said a few times that it isn't madatory to build games in a 4k resolution, devs could make it 1080p with all its bells and whistles if they wanted to. I'd personally take that option that dumb it down to run in 4k/60fps tbh.

Avatar image for sladakrobot
sladakrobot

@runstalker: "This is why it didn't take long for MS to backtrack on their early statements and clarify that developers would be allowed to take a more flexible approach"
Backtrack?
You mean the fact that MS NEVER forced any dev to any resolution or fps in the OG Xbox era,X360 era and now with the X1?
Unlike Sony who tried to force 1080p on devs

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JoshRMeyer

@sladakrobot: If Sony forced 1080p on developers, why isn't every game 1080p?

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sladakrobot

@joshrmeyer: I said tried(many games are 1080p but suffer framerate probs) untill he devs chose not to care and Sony couldnt do anything about it.

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JoshRMeyer

@sladakrobot: Oops didn't see the "tried" part. Whether that's true or not idk, but prob is.

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Creepywelps

@sladakrobot: Diablo 3 says hi.

Avatar image for sladakrobot
sladakrobot

@creepywelps: Didnt MS helped Blizzard to achieve that as they couldnt figure it out?

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Creepywelps

@sladakrobot: no they didn't help at all. They demanded it from blizzard. Phil Spencer tried playing damage control in the aftermath but blizzard stuck to their guns that they forced it. This is why d3 has huge frame drops on x1.

Avatar image for sladakrobot
sladakrobot

@creepywelps:

Speaking to Digital Foundry, Blizzard’s Production Director John Hight revealed that the decision to go with 900p initially because they were struggling to have consistent enough performance at 1080p on the Xbox One. Then Microsoft stepped in:

We did find it challenging early on to get it to 1080p. That’s why we made the decision to drop to 900. That’s what we demoed and were showing around E3 time. And Microsoft was just like, ‘This is unacceptable. You need to figure out a way to get a better resolution.’ So we worked with them directly, they gave us a code update to let us get to full 1080p.

Avatar image for runstalker
runstalker

@sladakrobot: You know damn well which message I'm talking about, circa E3 this year, when they were advising that people without 4K displays wouldn't be able to take advantage/see a difference. They changed their tune on that message shortly after. A wise choice on their part to clarify matters, as we had legions of people saying it would be pointless if you didn't own a 4K display.

Avatar image for sladakrobot
sladakrobot

@runstalker: The statement is still correct.
If devs chose to have 2k with better textures and fps,you will see that only on TVs with higher res than 1080p,right?

Avatar image for runstalker
runstalker

@sladakrobotLook what you've just written.

You'll only see better textures and a higher frame rate on TVs with a higher resolution than 1080p?

Huh?

Avatar image for sladakrobot
sladakrobot

@runstalker:
"If devs chose to have 2k with better textures and fps,you will see that only on TVs with higher res than 1080p,right?

Avatar image for runstalker
runstalker

@sladakrobotBut that's precisely the point.

By not trying to hit 4K, along with all the inherent sacrifices to image quality in order to achieve a playable frame rate (which is likely to be 30, and inconsistent) at that native res, developers may instead choose a middle ground in the range of 2K - providing a clean upscale for the 4K display owners and image quality/frame rate enhancements that 1080p players will also benefit from, without breaking the bank in terms of horsepower.

When MS backtracked from initial comments about native 4K gaming and/or needing a 4K display to benefit from Scorpio, and said they would let developers make use of the additional power as they see fit, it was a good and wise message correction.

Why such resistance to this well-documented E3-era sequence of communications from Spencer and Greenberg?:

Avatar image for sladakrobot
sladakrobot

@runstalker: MS never said or claimed all games must run 4k before they explained later that devs can use whatever res they want .

Have a link?

Avatar image for runstalker
runstalker

@sladakrobotYou're right, nowhere did they say it would be mandatory, before message clarification or otherwise. And nowhere did I claim they said it would be mandatory. The sequence of events in Microsoft's Scorpio messaging at E3 2016 has been thoroughly chronicled.

There's obviously a reason they felt the need to clarify the message, right? They didn't do it for shits 'n giggles. It had a purpose. Considering the thousands of confused comments at the time regarding native 4K gaming, it was a good idea to clear up the message and put it out there. :

Avatar image for buginthesystem
buginthesystem

@runstalker: from what I understood is that they had to clear up the confusion that was going because people were taking their message out of context, some said all games would be 4k, some said Microsoft will make 4k mandatory and a whole slew of other things. so I believe it was in theirs and their customers best interest in clarifying the message. however, it proved to be a 2 edged sword as now some people are taking it as "Microsoft backtracked" or "Microsoft did a 180".

also I think you should wait and see what the console can do first before you make your judgement on what it's hardware can do.