Imagine that you're standing at any game store between two rows of games. On your left you have Sony's exclusive PlayStation 4 library. On your right, you have Microsoft's library of Xbox One exclusives. In the center between the two is a Project Scorpio and a PlayStation 4 Pro. You are given the option to pick one console for free. Just one.
Glancing across the shelves of games, you admire the choices on offer. Both brands boast very distinct franchises that fans know well. Among these games, you notice the box of download-only games; each of these cases provides a unique download code for each console.
The downside is evident when it comes to Microsoft. There are very few games on offer. Even with the few downloadable ones, only a handful have drawn a significant following, with games such as Halo 5, Killer Instinct and Gears of War 4 incredibly hyped but never managing to bring a dedicated fanbase. As someone who owns an #Xbox1, the evidence before me is quite painful to realize: There just aren't any games. The exclusives have long worn out their welcome.
Long story short? Project Scorpio is riding in on a ship that has already sank. The Xbox One has already failed in the eyes of many Xbox fans, myself included. We have turned away from the extensive backward compatible titles that have also overstayed their welcome. While many of us enjoy going back to games such as Lost Odyssey, there is only so much that nostalgia can make up for, and even #Sony has learned you can't reuse a one-trick pony.
Let's Blame The Lack Of Exclusives
Even before launch, one of the biggest problems #ProjectScorpio has faced is its lack of an exclusive library. Sony has done an astounding job at providing returning IP sequels, while also giving new IPs a chance to flourish. Just look at the love Horizon Zero Dawn has received. The reviews for this RPG were outstanding, which is something Microsoft has been struggling with since the Xbox One launched, with numerous games canceled, ranging from Fable Legends to the highly anticipated Scalebound.
You don't hear fans talking about such lackluster titles as Ryse: Son of Rome, Quantum Break or even Sunset Overdrive, which tried and failed to offer something new and memorable in their respective genres. Action-adventure third-person shooter Quantum Break attempted to bridge the gap between TV and games, with its DLC series that was influenced by the players' decisions. Sunset Overdrive tried to blend the enjoyability of rail grinding with the outstanding mechanics that made games such as Jak and Daxter such an instant classic. Ryse even attempted to bring back the desire for a 300-style adventure, yet fell flat at the first hurdle. Sure, it was fun, but not returning for a four-hour campaign kind of fun.
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In many ways, #Microsoft is struggling to grab the attention of fans the way titles like Halo: Combat Evolved and Gears of War did when they first launched. They were strong titles whose dynamic creativity allowed the community to flourish around them. Nostalgia isn't always something to ride on the coattail of. It's time for all-new IPs and that is something Project Scorpio has a chance to deliver on in a bid to reinvigorate Microsoft's vision. Project Scorpio has a chance to bridge the gap between PC and console gaming. It has a chance to bring PC games to consoles in ways never before seen.
Project Scorpio could reboot franchises such as Phantom Dust, Advent Rising and Black. Microsoft has a major chance at a doover with Project Scorpio in order for them to pull ahead of Sony.
Cost Must Compete With PlayStation 4 Pro
The biggest concern next to an uninspired library is the cost of the console. With Project Scorpio marketed as a home premium gaming console, Microsoft will surely struggle if it goes over the $500 price point of the original Xbox One. And what of the cost to upgrade the console should Microsoft decide to go down the interchangeable parts route?
That alone will be enough to kill the console before it ever leaves the factories. Sony's price point of $399.99 for the PlayStation 4 Pro has been digestible for consumers who have chosen it because it's a price they're comfortable with. The PS console has shown that it's a step forward for Sony, but it also shows that Sony wants to be around for a while and is comfortable not making the jump to a new generation of consoles.
Microsoft will need to take note of what Sony is doing. It will need to take note of what Nintendo is doing. Microsoft will need to think outside the (console) box. It will need to bring a competitive edge when the console releases around the holidays, toward the end of 2017. Most importantly, Microsoft will need to deliver a massive E3 that will include major hit titles that will launch side by side with Project Scorpio.