Microsoft announced Project Scorpio at E3 2016. With a GPU packing six teraflops, Microsoft intends for Project Scorpio to be a true 4K gaming powerhouse. Yesterday, Microsoft announced via the official Xbox Twitter account that the Xbox E3 briefing will take place one day earlier than usual. Instead of having their E3 keynote on a Monday, this year’s presentation is scheduled for Sunday, June 11, 2017. In the tweet, Project Scorpio is of primary focus.
Does this mean that Microsoft will be dedicating E3 2017 to revealing details about their next machine? If that is the case, it would be a horrifically bad idea.
I spoke previously about the precarious state of the exclusive lineup for Xbox One this year. Microsoft desperately needs to wow Xbox fans with amazing experiences to bolster their 2017 lineup. As it stands now, Xbox gamers have Halo Wars 2 coming tomorrow for players that pre-ordered the Ultimate Edition. Other anticipated 2017 console exclusives include Sea of Thieves, Cuphead, perhaps Crackdown 3, and…not much else. Chances are very good we’ll see Forza Motorsport 7 this year, but that doesn’t change the fact that the Xbox lineup for 2017 is quite barren. If not for strong third-party relations, this would be a Wii U-esque year for Microsoft’s console.
It was my hope, then, that Microsoft would have used E3 2017 wisely. The event could have served as an opportunity for them to drop proverbial bombs, and reveal some killer games. Historically, Microsoft’s E3 press conferences (including last year’s) are roughly 90 minutes in length. If Scorpio is to be the main topic of the conference, it places a lesser focus on what should be most important: games.
There are several unanswered questions regarding Project Scorpio. How much will it cost? When does it release? What are its exact technical specifications? Can it actually do real 4K? What other features will it have, and will it provide any other additional advantages? Will all games need to be patched to take advantage of Scorpio enhancements? Lastly, and perhaps most critically in my opinion, what games will take advantage of which features/enhancements?
By the time Phil Spencer and team adequately address these questions, they will have likely spent a sizable chunk of time just talking about hardware. If there’s one thing Xbox needs in 2017 with Scorpio’s launch upcoming, it’s killer games to take advantage of the killer new hardware. If Microsoft spends, say, 45 minutes of a 90 minute keynote talking Scorpio, that leaves little time left to talk games. This leads one to believe that maybe Microsoft may not have much to discuss in this regard, which is concerning.
Provided that Microsoft does have several games to show, one option would be for Microsoft to simply extend the length of their press conference to two hours. However, this could backfire for a couple of reasons. For one, it can be difficult to keep an audience’s attention for the entirety of two hours (I know this all too well via my teaching job!). Secondly, bombarding consumers with information about Scorpio and showing a lot of games could be overwhelming.
My suggestion would be for Microsoft to have a Scorpio briefing prior to E3 2017. In this way, Phil Spencer and the Xbox team could address the more pressing questions about Scorpio. E3 could be used to reinforce the experience that Scorpio will provide for Xbox gamers, while placing the main focus on showcasing games that take advantage of the hardware in meaningful ways.
Of course, this is purely speculation. Much is still unknown about Scorpio, including when Microsoft will give us more concrete information about the console. As an Xbox gamer, I hope fans get some answers and clarity, sooner rather than later.
What do you think, readers? Is saving Project Scorpio for E3 a good idea, or should Microsoft try a different approach? Let us know in the comments.