Xbox Exec: Scorpio "Wipes Out" Generational Boundaries

"That term of an upgrade is gone."


All of your Xbox One games and controllers will work on the new Scorpio system when it comes out in 2017. For previous hardware upgrade cycles, the games and controllers you bought were, in most cases, rendered useless on new hardware. It's this point that Xbox head of operations Dave McCarthy is particularly excited to talk about when we met for an interview at E3 this week.

"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. "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."

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Now Playing: Scorpio Announcement from Xbox Conference at E3 2016

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 earlier this week that Microsoft considered releasing Scorpio this year, but decided against it.

"We heard consistently from our development partners that if we wanted to deliver true 4K gaming, and high fidelity VR, you needed six teraflops of power," he said. "We know that's what's required to offer those experiences. And at the same time ensure it's a seamless experience for our customers today and they can choose when they want to upgrade that device."

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We also quizzed McCarthy on how confident he was that Microsoft would launch the system next year. It sounds like a sure thing it won't be delayed.

"We wouldn't have talked about it [at E3] if we didn't feel good about it," he said with a laugh.

As part of Microsoft's Scorpio unveiling this week, the company aired a trailer featuring developers such as Bethesda's Todd Howard and EA's Patrick Soderlund praising Microsoft's effots, but we didn't see the device itself. McCarthy wasn't willing to give away any specifics on what the Scorpio will look like, but he did tell GameSpot that the slimmed-down Xbox One S may include some clues.

"With Xbox One S you see our commitment to beautiful hardware design," he said. "You see some of the themes here; 40 percent smaller, full compatibility [with existing games and peripherals] right out of the box; those principles will remain consistent when we move to Project Scorpio."

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