Back at E3, Microsoft announced it was working on a new, powerful console, codenamed Project Scorpio. At that time, the company clearly stated that there would be no Project Scorpio exclusives, so those opting for the original Xbox One, or the recently released Xbox One S had nothing to worry about. Now, Microsoft is playing semantics and somewhat backtracking on that promise.
Soon after the E3 event, Phil Spencer, the head of Xbox, reiterated those original thoughts and went a bit more in-depth on why there wouldn’t be any Project Scorpio exclusive titles. He said:
That fact that when you buy an Xbox One and start creating your game library and when you buy Scorpio those games and accessories and everything are going to run, make it feel like part of the Xbox One family to me. That's why we communicate it that way. That was also part of the design point of the box.
Crucially, he went on to say that no developer would target Scorpio exclusively because of the existing user base of Xbox One and One S gamers. Finally, he explained, if push came to shove, Microsoft would throw its clout around and force developers to support its older consoles as well.
Now, in an interview with Engadget, Aaron Greenberg, Microsoft’s head of Xbox games marketing, qualified those earlier announcements and essentially backtracked on some of them. When asked how content specifically built to utilize Scorpio’s power - for example, demanding VR games - could be brought back to the Xbox One S and Xbox One, Greenberg said “we don’t think of that [high-fidelity VR] as console gaming”. Here’s Greenberg’s full quote:
The idea was, first, how can we innovate with hardware without sacrificing compatibility? [...] The next thing was "Are you going to make games exclusively to Project Scorpio?" And we said we're not going to have console-exclusive games for Project Scorpio. It's one ecosystem -- whether you have an Xbox One S or Project Scorpio, we don't want anyone to be left behind, Now, with the power and capabilities we have, we'll be able to do high-fidelity VR. Now, that space, we don't think of that as console gaming, we think of that as high-fidelity VR, and so with the VR experiences those will be new things that you will get on Project Scorpio.
As you can see the company is playing semantics. Evidently, Scorpio will have exclusives, whether that’s VR experiences or content that simply relies on Scorpio’s extra power. And of course, bringing VR content back to old hardware that’s not powerful enough to run it is impossible, but Microsoft could have easily said that from the start instead of insisting on the “no exclusives” line.
The Xbox Scorpio is expected to be fully unveiled next year, and only then will we finally get to find out what the console’s true capabilities are and what users can get exclusively on the new platform.