Video game consoles have officially entered their awkward phase. Launches were predictable. The major players in the space would release new hardware with new capabilities and graphics. You’d pick one of these new systems and be good for another five years. Microsoft and Sony even spent time bragging about the Xbox 360 and PS3’s protracted 10-year life span. And here we find ourselves talking about Xbox Scorpio. The Xbox One launched in 2013.
Xbox Scorpio is the second in a new breed of consoles to be announced by a major player in the gaming space. After talking up the successes of the Xbox 360 and PS3, Microsoft and Sony have decided to transition to new ways of launching consoles and managing the expectations of gamers that want more power. The Xbox One S is a classic console upgrade. The hardware inside mostly matches what’s available in the 2013 edition of the Xbox One.
This Xbox Scorpio console won’t have the same internal hardware. Crammed into its chassis will be 8 processing cores. Why do this? Microsoft says that developers will have enough power to create games that offer “true 4K.”
We’re in uncharted territory. Microsoft revealed that it was working on Xbox Scorpio roughly a year before it’s expected on store shelves. That puts gamers in an awkward position. Do you wait for Xbox Scorpio? Do you go ahead and purchase the Xbox One S?
There are reasons that go in both directions.
Don’t Wait for Xbox Scorpio: The Games Will Be the Same
The very fact that Microsoft is making a more powerful Xbox One is a testament to how many people now feel that they need the very best visuals possible. It’s something we’re not used to in the console space. It is the norm on Windows PCs. What happens in the PC space because of this focus on visuals could have happened to Xbox. Developers, eager to make their games look as stunning as possible, raise the minimum requirements for their titles. Such a situation might have resulted in the Xbox Scorpio getting games that Xbox One S and Xbox One users would then miss out on.
Microsoft thought about this though. Game developers can improve their titles for Xbox Scorpio, but they can’t create Xbox games specifically for it. This isn’t like a generational leap between consoles. You’ll always have access to the latest games, they just won’t look as good as they do on Xbox Scorpio.
Do Wait for Xbox Scorpio: Your Setup Demands 4K
This holiday shopping season brought with it the lowest prices we’ve ever seen for televisions equipped with 4K support and High-Dynamic Contrast. If you already spent the money on one of those televisions, it’s better for you to wait for Xbox Scorpio.
Xbox One S offers 4K video, but not gaming. The console doesn’t have enough power inside to natively support 4K. Instead, it upscales from lower resolutions to 4K.
Don’t Wait for Xbox Scorpio: It’s Going to Cost You
Because updated versions of existing consoles have more refined designs and include the same internals, they usually cost less. The Xbox One S starts at $299.99. Compare that to the $399.99 an Xbox One cost in 2014 without a Kinect sensor.
Microsoft has said that Xbox Scorpio and the Xbox One S will coexist. All that added processing capability means new internals. New internals cost money. We don’t know how much the Xbox Scorpio will cost, but we’re as certain as we can be that Microsoft won’t lower the price of the Xbox One S to make room for it. It’s described the coming console as being a “premium” device, hinting at a cost significantly higher than Xbox One S.
You can pay $299.99 and game today, or you can wait for Xbox Scorpio.
Do Wait for Xbox Scorpio: Virtual Reality
PC owners have their choice of Oculus RIFT VR or HTC Vive. PS4 owners can pick up a PlayStation VR and get their virtual reality fix too. Almost every major Android phone maker has their own VR headset. New phones come with support for Google DayDream VR. The Xbox ecosystem doesn’t offer anything in this space – yet.
Microsoft is keeping quiet about its plans for virtual reality. The company’s Windows 10 Team is working with hardware manufacturers to bring VR headsets to notebooks and desktop PCs. Meanwhile, video game developer Bethesda is on record declaring that Fallout 4 is getting some kind of virtual reality experience and Xbox Scorpio has enough power to make that happen. That’s according to GamesRadar.
Read: Xbox Scorpio Confirmed
In the end, it’s up to you to decide whether waiting for Xbox Scorpio is the right move. Take potential pricing into consideration. Ask yourself if better graphics and support for virtual reality headsets really are worth the console’s confirmed “premium” cost. If those things aren’t a priority for you, buy an Xbox One S. If you think that you might be interested in either, wait until this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo to make your final decision. E3 kicks off in June.