Microsoft’s new Xbox One systems may kill the console market

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Image via Microsoft

I miss the good ol’ days when companies like Nintendo, Sony, and Sega gave their systems a life cycle of almost 6+ years, without needing to buy a new version, since they worked exaclty the same with small changes, usually size and power usage. Users had plenty of time to enjoy their systems and their large library of games. But all that has changed in the last few years.

When news broke about Microsoft’s new Xbox One S and Project Scorpio during E3, it felt like a way to try to catch up to the PlayStation 4, which is the more powerful of the two systems. Project Scorpio is an upgrade that wants to blow away the competition. The problem is it comes at the expense of its customers.

The S isn’t as bad. It has a few upgrades and is 40% smaller which is somewhat expected since the Xbox One has been around for a few years now. It even adds 4K support, but it’s just not something the average consumer will care about until a few years down the road. Price wise it’s around the same as the PlayStation 4, $299 for the 500GB version, $349 for the 1TB and $399 for the 2TB. (I’m not counting bigger hard drives or special editions as a new system.)

However, Project Scorpio is a slap in the face to every current Xbox One owners who spent plenty of cash on the original system hoping to enjoy it for a long time. It’s a huge upgrade and Microsoft gave a bit of information of what’s under the hood. The main point is the 6 TeraFLOPs of computing power (compared to the 1.23 of the current Xbox One), eight CPU cores, and up to 320 GB/s of memory bandwidth. It’s a lot of big words that most consumers won’t fully understand, but in simple terms, it will be able to run games at a constant 60fps at 1080p. In reality, all you are buying is the equivalent of a PC upgrade four years after buying your first pre-made system, without being able to upgrade individual pieces.

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This may not seem like a big deal but it may just be. Developers can now make better games on the Scorpio, but with them having to develop a game that will run on both systems, this could lead to issues in the future, somewhat similar to the “New” Nintendo 3DS XL. This may lead to games that only work on the new model of the Xbox One.

Did you notice how Microsoft said it would be “backwards compatible” with the current Xbox One. It seems odd for it to use those words.

It will come down to the developers in the end, as they will have to develop the game with both versions in mind. We’ve seen this happen before when companies develop a game for the more powerful system first and then go back and make it work for the others. It’s nothing more than Microsoft taking the PC route, something that may drastically change how things are done in the future. Think about how they are focusing on the “Play Anywhere Games” program. In the end, it seems that Microsoft is trying to gradually move users over to the PC market with Windows 10 as they eventually step out of the console market, with the Xbox One becoming nothing more than a Steam Machine.

Of course, there is still so much more that’s still unknown about Scorpio in terms of specs. We can compare Scorpio’s 6 TeraFLOPs to Nvidia’s recently released GeForce GTX 1070 graphics card which features a 6.5 TeraFLOPs GPU (around $380). It’s going to be interesting to see how expensive this upgraded system will be.

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