When Microsoft first announced Project Scorpio most gamers were intrigued, maybe even excited, by the prospect of a more powerful current-gen console. With current consoles struggling to match PCs in terms of power, fidelity, and frame rate, Scorpio promised to bridge that gap and, in turn, deliver impressive gameplay to the console space.
But soon after that initial enthusiasm wore away, many gamers began to consider Project Scorpio not as a console but as an expense. Considering how powerful the machine was looking to be, most figured that it would carry a premium price tag. And today Xbox head Phil Spencer confirmed those assumptions.
“Scorpio will be a premium console. It will cost more than S, obviously, that’s how we are building it. We have not announced the pricing yet, but I want to make sure that the investment we are putting into the product of Scorpio meets the demands of the higher-end consumer and that will be a higher price.”
That being said, Project Scorpio is still a closed system and therefore doesn’t carry one of the key benefits of PC gaming: upgrading. Unless Microsoft goes completely rogue with their console design, the Scorpio console will still be locked at a certain performance level and gamers will be unable to upgrade if they so choose. PC Gamers, on the other hand, have the freedom to upgrade at their bank account’s discretion.
So, assuming Project Scorpio will be a closed console system the question then becomes: how much will it cost? Based on what Phil Spencer is saying, a $500 price point seems like the bare minimum, and we wouldn’t be surprised if the console was even more expensive. Delivering the types of gaming experiences that Microsoft is touting typically costs a $1000 PC at least, but a device that expensive is unlikely to get much interest.
If Microsoft wants the Project Scorpio to sell it will need to find a price point that justifies the manufacturing expenses but is not so high that gamers will simply go off and buy a PC. What exactly that price point may be is unclear, but chances are the folks at Microsoft are debating that right now.