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Gamasutra reacts to the Project Scorpio dev kit

Now that the dust has cleared, what does the Gamasutra team think about Microsoft's Project Scorpio? We opined at length over on Twitch.

Thanks to editor Alex Wawro, we’ve now learned a lot more about Microsoft’s Project Scorpio, which is meant to be the latest addition to the Xbox One “family.” With that, and Phil Spencer’s big pitch to developers about why they should be making games compatible with Project Scorpio, we now have a lot more information on what it means to have a mid-generation “console refresh” from Microsoft as well as Sony. 

So what did we think? Well we still need a price (and a final name) for the dang thing, but we hopped on the Gamasutra Twitch Channel this morning to analyze Alex’s reporting and talk about how developers might react to Project Scorpio, especially after the release of the PS4 Pro. 

You should watch the full video above for our entire conversation, but here are a few key notes…

Project Scorpio is built on developer feedback

It’s obviously in Microsoft’s best interests to sound like it’s listening to game developers, but amidst some of the marketing points there are clear instances in our reporting where Microsoft engineers worked with developers to make quality-of-life improvements to working with an Xbox dev kit. These range from internal hardware changes to eliminating the need for Lego shelving units, and it’s clear there’s a mantra from the Xbox team saying “please come work with us, we want to accommodate you.” 

The Xbox is dancing closer and closer to becoming a PC

Xbox chief Phil Spencer made multiple mentions of how the goal of Project Scorpio is to bring console game development a bit more in line with PC game development, but with the Windows ecosystem trying to rope Xbox games into the Windows store, there’s a fading line in the difference between what an Xbox console is and what a personal computer with Xbox branding might look like. Spencer insisted in our interview that consoles are consoles, and PCs are PCs, but it’s impossible to look at some of the changes introduced in Scorpio and ignore a future where the Xbox “device” works less like an NES as opposed to an Alienware laptop. 

Microsoft hasn’t quite made the argument for why developers should be on its platform first or exclusively

Though it’s a much larger conversation about what the “game identity” of Xbox One ultimately is, it’s hard to look at the recent announcements about Project Scorpio and imagine what kind of games might be introduced to the Xbox that aren’t there already, either as ports or just multi-platform releases. It’s entirely possible that Microsoft is pushing off that conversation until E3 this year, but it’s also hard to ignore that with Halo, Gears of War, and Forza losing some luster, Microsoft has lacked whatever incentives (beyond exclusivity purchases) are necessary to bring unique games to its console. 

For more analysis of Project Scorpio, be sure to watch the full video above and stay tuned to Gamasutra And if you found this analysis helpful, be sure to follow the Gamasutra Twitch channel for more developer interviews, editor roundtables, and gameplay commentary. 

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