Microsoft Steals Sony's Thunder With Scorpio But Will it Pay Off?

Microsoft Steals Sony's Thunder With Scorpio But Will it Pay Off? - Article

by Dan Carreras , posted on 19 June 2016 / 8,842 Views

I love E3. It’s Christmas for gamers, and sets us all up for a great year of gaming. It’s also a fantastic drama piece - with the gaming industry now reportedly being worth more than film and music combined, every big manufacturer is vying for gamers hearts' and, of course, their hard earned cash. 

This back and forth between the big names in the industry really adds tension and excitement to an otherwise staid product showcase; so much so that many form clans around their respective preferred platform and debate who 'won' E3. I have fellow colleagues who disagree with the use of the 'F' word, but there’s a reason companies encourage it - we get excited, we're encouraged to spend more money, and we’re enthusiastic about doing so. Win over a person by offering the best content on your platform and you’ll have a devoted cash flow for years to come. 

Xbox One SThat’s why Microsoft potentially shot themselves in the foot at this year's E3 in a bid to be claimed the victor. Microsoft started off by offering the world a brand new, smaller Xbox One. All of the problems fans had with that massive black box had apparently been solved - with the Xbox One S it's now slimmer and more attractive, is 4K Blu-ray capable, and will be available at the same price as the current offering. This, of course, was fantastic news for a large number of Xbox One players, especially with 4K TV sales on the rise. In fact, with 4K Ultra-HD players costing over £300 by themselves, the Xbox One S could easily become the go-to device for 4K TV owners, in a similar way to the PlayStation 3 being a great value Blu-ray player when it first came out.

Then, right at the end of its showcase, Microsoft decided to reveal another console, currently titled 'Project Scorpio'. This new console won’t be released until the fall of 2017, but it will be capable of playing 4K native games and is very powerful (the processing power of the graphics card - 6 Teraflops - was thrown around a lot). It’s a shame, then, that the message most people are going to take from this conference is “there’s going to be a more powerful console next year!”.

Will this cost the Xbox One sales over the next year? Potentially. Whilst details are sketchy at best at the moment in regards to Project Scorpio, chances are most mainstream gamers (those who don’t go out of their way to read gaming news online) are only going to take-away that key headline - that a new, much more powerful Xbox console is coming next year - and this could delay their purchase for another 12 months. 

So why did Microsoft choose to reveal Project Scorpio so early if it may cost the firm sales? To control the message of mid-term console improvements. The PlayStation Neo is all but confirmed at this point, the whole industry is merely waiting for concrete details on how Sony is going to implement multi-year console upgrades. By Microsoft getting out there first it's able to monopolise headlines regarding console upgrades for the foreseeable future, ensuring that the notion is put out there that the current Xbox One and PlayStation 4 platforms are about to become outdated. 

Project Scorpio

And that's crucial - Microsoft wasn’t only thinking about the future sales performance of the Xbox One here, but also that of its rivals. Control of the message, as Microsoft found out to its detriment at the start of this generation, can be vital and have long-term effects. If Microsoft had just announced a slim version of the Xbox One that would potentially have given Sony a clear track to announce the PlayStation Neo, getting the company ahead of the curve once more and ensuring even more customers were sold on the PlayStation ecosystem. The more tied you become to an ecosystem, the harder it is to jump over to the competition.

A good example of this is how many Xbox 360 owners bought an Xbox One rather than a PlayStation 4 in large part because of their attachment to their Xbox Achievements. It's a tactic that's used often in the mobile phone market, with customers worrying about jumping from one platform to another because of the purchases they've made on their current platform. By putting this kind of dampener on Sony, Microsoft have a chance to gain back some of the market share it's lost over the first few years of this generation as we head into an entirely new phase.

Sony Playstation Neo

How will Sony respond? Well that’s the exciting part. None of us really know. Should Sony announce the console that’s been rumoured for quite a while (a 4 Teraflop machine with updated visuals to be released later this year), many gamers are going to be slightly underwhelmed now that Microsoft has teased a more powerful console for next year. Sony's Andrew House has admitted that the early announcement of the Project Scorpio caught them off-guard, so perhaps Sony will go back to the drawing board rather than potentially find itself backed into a corner following Microsoft's surprise announcement. 

No matter what happens, one thing's for certain about Project Scorpio and the PlayStation Neo - these mid-generation performance upgrades are brand new territory for the console industry, and I for one am excited to see how this is going to change things. Time will only tell how it all plays out, but after three years of being the underdog and playing catch-up, Microsoft may have finally found itself on the front foot. 


Dan

A graduate in Computing which was centered around Gaming, Dan is a games developer and writer. His first game, Twixel, was released for iOS, Android, PC and Mac in 2015, with a second game in the pipeline. A lover of all things games, Dan has been writing for VGChartz.com for over 2 years, attending conferences and interviewing developers to get the best content for VGChartz readers. His favourite games include Asura's Wrath, S.T.A.L.K.E.R and the Halo Series. Dan can be followed on Twitter at: @Caesoose

 



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20 Comments

Sixteenvolt420 (on 19 June 2016)

I don't think they stole any thunder from Sony, until the sales numbers start showing so. MS still needs to figure out a way to get people outside of the USA, to buy their product.


Robert_Downey_Jr. (on 19 June 2016)

yeah the chatter is very much about Sony's conference and all the games now. Unlike 2013 where it was all about the policies of MS and Sony's price and all


  • +7
Mr Puggsly (on 19 June 2016)

Outside the US people love Windows. And thats a good reason why MS should put a focus on PC gaming.


  • 0
Sixteenvolt420 (on 19 June 2016)

It's kinda a weird situation, imo. People in the USA seem to hate Windows, but love Xbox. People outside of the USA seem to love Windows and hate Xbox.


  • -2
Angelv577 (on 19 June 2016)

I couldn't care less. Will keep my original ps4 until dies


TheTruthHurts! (on 19 June 2016)

I wouldn't say that MS really stole Sony's thunder. Games make the biggest impact, just look at what Zelda did with new released footage. MS and Sony showed great games and hardware announcements are just an added bonus. I am excited for the potential from all three makers but we need more info.


Stoneysilence (on 19 June 2016)

If Games was all that mattered the Wii U would have sold more than what it has. The Wii U probably has the best games out there imo and nobody owns one. All the hype for Zelda is just from very boisterous Zelda fan base, not the average consumer.


  • -3
jcmmnx (on 19 June 2016)

The gamers that care about having a 6 teraflop graphics card probably already have a gaming PC, and those gamers will be able to play all of Microsoft's games without buying a Scorpio. I don't know what fan base they're going after here. Casual gamers and gamers that only game on consoles either won't drop 500+ on a more powerful console or will stick with Sony.


Stoneysilence (on 19 June 2016)

Personally I think VR. Neither the X1 or PS4 is going to handle VR well and the Scorpio and Neo are supposed to fill in that gap in the meantime.


  • -2
Angelv577 (on 19 June 2016)

I couldn't care less. Will keep my original ps4 until dies


aLkaLiNE (on 19 June 2016)

The power aspect is largely a western philosophy, so these mid gen consoles are more relative to such an audience than ROW. With that in mind, the only place that Ms really competes is the US and the U.K. Could Scorpio away sales in its favor? Possibly. That effect won't trickle down on a global scale though, and by offering multiple different SKUs that don't have functional parity, they're segregating their user base which is never a good thing. I think price will ultimately be another nail in the coffin as well - Scorpio will either cost $600, or it will under deliver on its promises. For these reasons I don't see Sony upping the power last minute, whatever they already had in mind will be what we see as a finished product.


Azuren (on 19 June 2016)

I wish more places would talk about the boat bomb Microsoft dropped at E3:"We don't have exclusives anymore, you can buy everything on PC."


Mr Puggsly (on 19 June 2016)

PC is only an option if youre willing to use Windows 10 and buy games on Windows Store.


  • +1
Azuren (on 19 June 2016)

Let's face it; if you're not willing to do either, you're probably not in Camp Microsoft, anyway.


  • -2
Ganoncrotch (on 20 June 2016)

Phil also said that they were planning to bring their games to Steam during E3, the windows store is dead in the water already, good titles are just lost in a see of apps and flappy bird clones.


  • +2
Azzanation (on 20 June 2016)

Exclusive or not. There still MS IPs that Xbox Devision will be making money on. If MS thought PC was a bad idea for Xbox they wouldn't be bringing there games to PC while releasing newer hardware.


  • 0
Ruler (on 19 June 2016)

We dont even know how it looks like or the real name and 1 year is a lot of time. Isnt the ecosystem theory eaxactley why Sony should release their neo this year? The scorpio wont matter in the end


MARCUSDJACKSON (on 19 June 2016)

Stole thunder lol, get that suit outta here.


Vertigo-X (on 19 June 2016)

Not particularly. Both the Neo and the Scorpio are a ways off, so stealing buzz at E3 when both have at least a year before we see them is kinda pointless.


Johnw1104 (on 19 June 2016)

Yeah, I used those two specifically because they were pre and post HD. Really, just plug in a ps3 and ps4 and set the resolution to the same settings and there's still a world of difference.


  • 0
V-r0cK (on 20 June 2016)

If anybody stole the show it was that awesome orchestra at Sony's conference.


Ariakon (on 20 June 2016)

It's kind of silly to say any company has stolen anyone's "thunder" in regards to these systems, as we still don't know factors such as price, pr messaging and how significant the difference actually ends up being, especially for the huge majority of the market that owns 1080p tvs. The Xbox One had a number of factors that ended up hurting it, particularly the double whammy of MS' unveiling of it as a DRM-machine that couldn't play used games at a much higher price than its competitor. Who knows? Maybe MS or Sony will have another PR disaster along the lines of the One's unveiling or a $599 price tag, in which case all the power in the world won't help either of them.


Mr Puggsly (on 19 June 2016)

Well it was definitely surprising to hear the X1 has a significant power edge. It puts Sony and its fans to now argue power doesent matter, after boasting about power for years. I'm curious to see if the Neo can achieve 4K with graphics like Uncharted 4. If so, Scorpio games are gonna look amazing.


Ruler (on 19 June 2016)

Well it will still matter because not every game will take advantage of both powerfull console, a lot of older titles still will run better on ps4


  • 0
Mr Puggsly (on 19 June 2016)

True, but for years Scorpio should have the perfomance and graphics edge on Neo. PS4 will no longer be the place where the best ports are and there was a lot of boasting on that.

PS4 had a good performance edge with about .6 teraflop difference. Scorpio's teraflop advantage is significantly bigger than that. Its gonna be interesting to see what developers do with that.


  • +2
iron_megalith (on 19 June 2016)

Sony fans have to argue about power, but Xbox gets a huge idenity crisis.

E3 2016 wasn't about Xbox One. It's WinBox 10 since a PC is already an Xbox by itself. :P


  • +8
Swordmasterman (on 19 June 2016)

The difference should not be measured with how much Teraflops of difference but the difference between PS4 Neo and Scorpio, If PS4 Neo have 4 Teraflops so the PS4 would have the same difference from Neo to Scorpio as there have from Xbox One to PS4.

Developers will not take advantage from Neo or Scorpio because they will have NX, PS4, Xbox One, to support.


  • +5
Stoneysilence (on 19 June 2016)

@Swordmasterman The difference between the X1 and PS4 was about 0.5 teraflops. The rumored PS4 Neo is at 4 Teraflops while the Scorpio is 6 Teraflops. 0.5 isn't worth putting much effort into, maybe a slightly higher res, some extra shadows, etc... But 2 Teraflops difference is more than what either the PS4 or X1 does on its own. Devs will take advantage of that power. Personally I think most of that power will go toward VR and 4K gaming (which even at 6TF would be hard pressed to do).


  • +1
Barkley (on 20 June 2016)

@Stoneysilence he's referring to the difference in percentages. The ps4 had roughly 41% more TFLOPS than the XBO, as the 6 tflops of the scorpio has roughly 41% more TFLOPS than the rumoured 4.2 of the Neo. Relatively the difference between the Neo and Scorpio is almost identical to the difference between the Xbo and Ps4.


  • +4
NinjaFox (on 20 June 2016)

Alternatively, Microsoft just laid out a blueprint for Sony to go back and decide what they need to do to match or beat and a 1.5 year window to get there.


  • 0
Stoneysilence (on 20 June 2016)

@Barkley Perhaps. But in this case percentages don't tell the whole story. 2TF difference is HUGE in a era where the original consoles don't even do 2TF.

@Ninjafox If the rumors are true and more are coming out every day, I think Sony is beyond the point of no return. They may be able to overclock it a slight bit like MS did to the X1 to try to close the gap. But at this point, they are probably stuck with what they have.


  • 0
Swordmasterman (on 20 June 2016)

Stoney, if the different isn't big so the Developers will not aim to make better looking games for Scorpio than Neo, they would rather ensure the frame rate and other things and would add a little more than the Neo's version.

The difference between Neo and Scorpio will not be the same than between PS1 and PS4 (it would be if we follow your logic).


  • +3
NeoMahi (on 23 June 2016)

I wouldn't agree that Microsoft stole Sonys thunder with this announcement. Sony went on to put on a great E3 Press Conference that many say topped Microsofts show including IGN--which is one of the biggest online game sites, even though Zelda won best of show. A lot of online journalist sites would agree. Secondly, when Sony announced the PS4, out of gate first ahead of Microsoft, Sony announced the console but only revealed the Dualshock 4. I want to say it was Larry Hyrb that made this statement but he said something to the effect of "When we reveal a console, we feel it necessary to actually reveal the console" with which he meant actually show the hardware. You can say what you want but, Microsoft announced Scorpio, and how did they back their claim against Sony? Where was the hardware Microsoft during your Press Conference. Which finally brings me to this. Did Microsoft really steal Sonys show? I say they did not. Look at the install base for PlayStation at this moment. Are people really ready for new hardware this early coming off a ten year life cycle from PS3 and the Xbox 360? Sony basically pushed that idea and Microsoft thought it would be fun to rude that wave, and then what? Sony made the community happy with the PS4 and what did Microsoft do? Microsoft lied and their fanbase scorned. Consumers really don't trust Microsoft right now, and that's going to hurt them for quite some time. Don Mattrick cut open a pretty serious wound that I don't think Microsoft has any conception of what they've done. They say Project Scorpio is the band-aid to heal the wounds between developers and give them what they want. Well, Microsoft really is that naive then. It's indie developers, you could say the rising generation Microsoft scorned and their fanbase. When Microsoft said they had a video for developers and Scorpio, we'll, that video was an old Sony trick. Those "developers" were Microsoft executives talking about the hardware, not developers of third party studios, with the exception of Bethesda, that was it. Smoke and mirrors. Microsoft need to repair the damages with the fanbase they essentially slapped in the face, and they tried to deceive them with a parlor trick in the form a video marketed and pleasing developers but filmed Microsofts own executives. No, Microsoft didn't. Consumers don't want complicated hardware. Console consumers want straight forward hardware. If they wanted calibration options, they'd buy a PC. This is Microsoft, again, alienating their audience, and even Microsofts own former audience are still bitter, and have found a new home in Sonys camp. Sonys E3 was Sony flexing their muscle and experience in the console business by showcasing just how strong their first-party studios are, and that was without Naughty Dog, or Naughty Dogs Sony rival, and biggest fan of Naughty Dog's Sucker Punch (also owned by Sony), and creative genius ' Media Molecule. Nope, sorry Microsoft, maybe next year. I'm just being real here.


DrBuckaroo (on 20 June 2016)

IMO, Sony exhibited a stroke of genius by "not" unveiling Neo at E3. There has been tons of negativity about MS announcing Scorpio a year and a half before launch and many unanswered questions about why we need a midcycle upgrade, why no exclusives, conflict with XB1 S, how will games be better if developers are forced to design to XB1 standards, etc... These are all great questions that apply to both MS and Sony, but by holding back, Sony has the advantage to fine-tune their answers to these questions. Whereas MS appeared very unprepared, stumbled on answering these questions, contradicted each other, had really nothing to show about Scorpio, and stole the steam from XB1 S. Very poor planning from MS part and time from Sony to learn from MS mistakes and give a more polished and prepared presentation.


NeoMahi (on 23 June 2016)

This is a good point as well, though, sadly, Sony will announce Neo soon enough


  • 0
NinjaFox (on 20 June 2016)

I just keep thinking that it was 7 years between PS3 launch and PS4 launch, 8 years between 360 and One. In late 2017, we'll see Scorpio and likely Neo, both 4 years into this cycle. Will it be 3-4 years for PS5 and XBox One's successor (I like to imagine it being the XBox One +1). Are we going to expect a "new" console every 4 years instead of 7 or 8 now? Because the Scorpio's jump over XB1 is pretty noticeable, I'm surprised it's a half step and not a new console. I kind of wonder if it's worth getting Scorpio/Neo vs waiting for the next true generation step or if it's going to be wiser to wait for the generational half steps as the jumping on point now.


Stoneysilence (on 20 June 2016)

I think the idea of generations is over. All future consoles will be BC with the past ones and you upgrade when you feel like it. Eventually after a few console releases games will come out that won't support your older machine but by then my guess is that it would be 4-6 years old by then before either Sony or MS lets them drop support of it.


  • 0
joeorc (on 19 June 2016)

here is the big problem, with this take, starting AUG the current xbox one wil be phased out, thus the xbox one S slim will be the only Console they will be produced for the retail chain until, the xbox scorpio also gets released. vs' Sony will have the PS3 the PS4 Maybe the PS4 Neo in retail channel. top it off, Andrew House made a very key point to say that they are going to leverage the advantages of Playstation Vue, and streaming Music. and added value of DVR functions also dded to every playstation3/4/Neo the point being even the PS3 can act now also as a streaming Live over the internet Cable TV cord cutter service box. that includes the PS4 and any Playstation system series they produce going forward. Sony was now able to make a play for the very thing Microsoft tried to market the xbox one when it first launch to merge with your TV. But Sony has done such without taking away from the game console 1st priority. all the while Microsoft discontinued production of xbox360 and phased out xbox one systems. No wonder Sony feels they are in a good position. their Playstation systems have viability of purpose even when a nw more robust hardware system gets released. a cable box+ great game console to boot. i think Sony is not really that edgy over the more powerful xbox one system being released now. i mean they are not taking it lightly, but on the same token they may feel their position of strength moving forward is far stronger.


DirtyP2002 (on 19 June 2016)

If rumors are to believed and neo releases this year (or early next), there is no way Sony can go back to the drawing board. They probably signed hundreds of contracts to get something like 3 million consoles built this year. Suppliers are ramping up production of the ordered components already. It is not like Sony can walk to AMD like "ehm, regarding that 2 million GPUs we ordered, forget it. We need something different."


iron_megalith (on 19 June 2016)

Stole Sony's thunder? Fuck both of them. I think this gen screwed up so bad on so many aspects. The consoles seem to have less longevity and was performing way under their target. Now 4k gaming is their target? Just stop. Everything is just fractured now. Just get a stable 30/60fps 1080p performance with decent amounts of effects then we can survive with that. I would've commended Sony with their initial statement of 1080p gaming only and a 4k for movies/bluray. But no, they wanna go toe to toe with MS' dumb fucking move. I hope both fails miserably.


Barkley (on 20 June 2016)

Your post gets downvoted to hell so you post the exact same thing 3 hours later, WOW.


  • +3
iron_megalith (on 20 June 2016)

Don't blame me if VGC still has a shitty coding for comments and if I refresh a page or go back it resends the information. Oh and downvotes. Shit I'm gonna die! Not.


  • 0

Comments below voting threshold

Bandorr (on 19 June 2016)

Not really sure they stole anyone's thunder. The mixed messaging about the Scorpio has if anything - stolen the thunder from Microsoft. It does require a tv, it doesn't. It can support other than 4k, it cant. It will be able to do native 4k, it won't.


  • -16
DirtyP2002 (on 19 June 2016)

Everybody with half a brain knows the answers to these questions.

"Can I play in 4k on a 1080p screen?"
"No."

--> "You need a 4k TV for Scorpio! Let's write articles and forum posts about it!!!"


  • 0
Ganoncrotch (on 19 June 2016)

it's more based on the fact that Phil Spensor Said that it would do nothing for you if you didn't have a 4k TV, but that means that all the titles running at 720p/900p or who's frame rate stutters on the current X1 model won't get anything from the 6teraflops of power.
That message is the real mix up, no one is asking can you make a 1080p turn into a 4k tv, but you know that surely?


  • +7
Johnw1104 (on 19 June 2016)

Phil only said that to help sales in the interim. The notion that a console with hardware improvements like that has nothing to offer outside of a resolution boost is just silly.


  • +2
Johnw1104 (on 19 June 2016)

Let me provide an example: Go plug your PS4 and PS2 into a non-hd television. Are you telling me there's no difference in visuals or gameplay? Chances are he was pressured to say this so as to not completely sink the sales of the xbox slim.


  • +1
Ganoncrotch (on 19 June 2016)

You would need something between the PS4 and the non HD tv to connect it, but you're right of course Johnw, it's the same as always for Phil too many voices in his head means what comes out of his mouth doesn't make sense.


  • +5
iron_megalith (on 19 June 2016)

Too hot on this comment. Dem downvotes.

It's true though that Xbox has one hell of a mixed bag statements. It also doesn't help when most of their games are being pushed for Windows 10. Now their products are competing against one another.


  • +1
iron_megalith (on 19 June 2016)

Too hot on this comment. Dem downvotes.

It's true though that Xbox has one hell of a mixed bag statements. It also doesn't help when most of their games are being pushed for Windows 10. Now their products are competing against one another.


  • +1