The recent revelation of Project Scorpio
's specs represents a big advancement in gaming, thanks in large part to the sheer amount of horsepower under that hood. But there's something else underneath this concept that's got people wondering if maybe this is the end--my only friend, the end--of the console wars for good, replaced by fairly routine numbers of hardware upgrades.
The early word about the Scorpio can only be described as good: the hardware involved makes the PS4 Pro look like a sick old woman by comparison, and suggest that 4K resolution
at high-end frame rates is not only possible, but likely.
Naturally the price is a concern: the early word suggests this is a $500 package ready to go, and that's higher than the PS4 Pro's $400 sticker. Additionally, there's the question of whether or not the games will be able to run at that resolution. There were some impressive early demos, particularly the Forza demo that ran in full 4K and looked breathtaking, but it's clear that one demo alone in isolation isn't going to do the job of convincing people to buy a whole new system when about the only thing exclusive to the system is the virtual reality elements.
That's the biggest thing on this one; most reports right now suggest that any games released for Project Scorpio will, with the exception of the VR
titles, also be running on the Xbox One. This is going to leave gamers and game makers in a bit of a quandary. Why would game makers produce games for a system where the only real edge is "they look better"? That's a lot of extra development money for a system that may not get a whole lot of leg room in the market; after all, who will buy a system that doesn't come with serious games with deeper, more immersive gameplay, games that only just "look better"? As gamers expect content to be continually backward compatible--a development which will really only work so well for so long--there will have to be a cutoff point eventually; what happens around 2021 when Project Scorpio 2: Scorp Harder or whatever they call it emerges?
Some gamers will, of course; gamers with older displays may do well to pick up an HDR television--the prices have really come down lately--to run with the 4K resolution device, which can also handle Blu-rays and serve as a complete home theater mechanism.
It's a noteworthy idea in the market, but with consumer confidence only now gaining and a still sluggish overall economy, selling multiple systems in the same space is likely to be rough. Only time will tell just how it all goes down, but we could be looking at a whole new era of game production here.