So there we have it, Xbox's rumoured Project Scorpio is real – or it exists as a concept at least. Ever since the rumours regarding an upgraded Xbox One leaked, we've been discussing among ourselves how Microsoft would present it, and we wanted to wait and see before putting pen to paper. Our assumption, however, was that Microsoft would gamble and try to make Sony's upgraded model sound inferior before it's even properly been revealed. Mission accomplished?
Yes and no: there are a few points of discussion we'd like to touch upon if you'll indulge us for a few paragraphs. For starters, we distinctly got the impression that Project Scorpio is a concept right now and little more; Microsoft discussed specifications, but it also made wishy-washy statements about things like virtual reality – almost as if it hasn't determined how it's going to realise them yet. We're sure that it has a roadmap in mind, but it's clearly not ready to share that yet.
Which doesn't make it all that surprising that the system is an incredible 18 months away. The Redmond firm made it sound like it's announcing it now so that developers can talk freely about it, and we're sure that there's some truth to that – but we think that there's also an element of the manufacturer playing PlayStation at its own game. Sony, of course, famously crushed the Dreamcast by simply uttering the PlayStation 2's name; Microsoft may be hoping that the mere existence of Scorpio pulls people away from the PS4K.
But with Sony's upgrade rumoured to release this year, this could end up being a battle of the intangible against the tangible. Microsoft's talking about virtual reality, Sony has PlayStation VR ready to go in a matter of months; Microsoft's sharing new hardware specifications with developers, but Sony's got development kits in the hands of studios now. It's almost like the PlayStation maker's ahead of the curve, and its competitor's just trying to catch up.
And the first-mover advantage is always important with things like this. Project Scorpio may well end up the most powerful machine ever created, but if it doesn't have a commanding install base, how many developers are really going to leverage that? And if PS4K is a year ahead of schedule, who's to say Sony's box won't be better established and cheaper when Holiday 2017 eventually rolls around?
With the generation developing as it is, Microsoft's done the right thing by turning its attention to the future. But there's no guarantee that the gamble will pay off when Sony seems to be setting the pace.
Do you think that the announcement of Project Scorpio will detract from the eventual announcement of the PS4K? What do you make of the industry's shift to iterative hardware models? And do you think that Sony should stick with its current roadmap, or go back to the drawing board? Pull off a pincer move in the comments section below.