The predictions had it.
Microsoft is about to unveil its Xbox Project Scorpio specifications. The event will be in conjunction with Eurogamer’s tech wizards, Digital Foundry. Eurogamer has confirmed it will run an “exclusive Xbox Scorpio reveal” on Thursday 6th April at 2pm GMT/9AM ET, following speculation. Microsoft reportedly invited Digital Foundry to its campus recently to observe the internals of Project Scorpio and witness Forza Motorsport 7 running at 4K resolution.
A surprising move for many but most definitely not an unwelcome one. It’s big news and of course the Sparks – joined this week by James (@BigSheep) – chew over the prospect of what will be in store when the news drops.
There are a few questions to ask here, such as why have Microsoft decided to make their big reveal ahead of E3, why make the reveal through an external outlet such as Digital Foundry and just how much detail can we expect Team Xbox to reveal?
Well, firstly if we consider the timing of this reveal, close to E3 yet giving the announcement plenty of time for the messaging to sink in prior to the years biggest gaming event, there’s a lot of sense here. By making the reveal early on, not only will Microsoft satiate and hopefully excite the legions of press, fans and prospective consumers of their latest shiny tech, they will also clear the floors of their E3 conference allowing them to focus with laser accuracy on the most important thing – the games. The past years have proven that this is where the competitors win or lose on the E3 floor, it’s all about those games. Hardware is important of course and new powerful hardware that can do new and amazing things or just do old things much better is always welcome but as we all know, it’s the games that sell systems, so maybe there’s a conscious shift here, to talk about hardware elsewhere in order to leave those precious 90 minutes or so of the E3 conference free to concentrate on Games, Games, Games.
This may help with a more even and balanced delivery and with any luck, less chance for mixed or confusing messaging that can raise questions afterwards and distract from the main points being showcased.
There’s also the argument that an early reveal of the Scorpio could leave time for enthusiasm to dampen over the hiatus between reveal and E3 or, if the reveal doesn’t impress the community, it could lead to unwelcome rumblings that could dampen the anticipation or even raise questions that would need to be taken care of during the E3 keynote and thus take the focus away from those new shiny games. Some people will just enjoy the fact that the E3 conference is the traditional place to reveal a new console and enjoy that fusion of games and hardware together but it seems that a decision has been made, to some degree at least, to change this tradition.
Perhaps there is a precedent now set too, with Nintendo’s Switch reveal being isolated from any other announcements in January showing that there is wisdom in taking yourself away from the crowd and making your news stand out as there is less competition to fight through to get that press spotlight. Analysts have already acknowledged that Nintendo’s January reveal really boosted it’s prominence in the press for just these reasons and you have to ask yourself – doesn’t it make sense to just remove your big announcement away from E3 and have the spotlight for yourself for that time as opposed to jostling over what can be an overwhelming sea of news from our favourite gaming expo?
As for what we can expect from the reveal it could be hypothesised that the fact that Microsoft have teamed up with the guru’s over at Digital Foundry means that this reveal will be concentrating mainly on hardware and specifications and that taking into account DF’s expertise we could not be blamed for expecting a fair degree of technical breakdown into the components of Xbox’s new monster machine. The nature of Digital Foundry’s hardware analysis and expertise could also lend credence to Microsoft’s confidence in its new system as it would be counterproductive to make a reveal through DF unless they thought the tech here was anything less than stellar. So it could be fair to say that Microsoft are confident in what they are offering and want a clear and concise breakdown of their hardware given from an impartial party – hence the Digital Foundry at Eurogamer reveal.
So it looks like the pieces are in position, for better or worse, Wisdom or faux pas? As we often say, we shall see.
To hear more about this and the rest of the weeks news, tune in to episode 86 of the podcast and enjoy.
In ‘What We’ve Been Playing‘ The Sparks continue to the love-fest with Zelda: Breath of the Wild and now that Darren has joined the Switch owning population the gushing has increased, listen in as James accounts the final moments, Darren ventures into Hyrule and Antony continues to seek out Shrines and mushrooms!
Also this week, James has been playing ‘Plague Inc.’ a board game based on video game of the same name, listen in to his review of the board game that allows for great strategic thinking without resorting to the usual war tropes. A truly ‘infectious’ game and recommendation from the Sparks.
Also in the news this week, psychedelic horror game ‘We Happy Few’ is being adapted into a feature film. The movie will focus on a strange “alternate 1960s” England where everyone wears smiling masks and consumes government mandated pills to stay upbeat. Let’s hope that the movie will improve upon the interesting promise of ‘We Happy Few’.
Also during this announcement the production company, Gold Circle films also announced a ‘Life is Strange’ TV show and movie adaptations of Sleeping Dogs and Sonic.
In the ‘VR News Desk‘ the guys discuss Palmer Luckey’s last day, not only with Facebook but his last day with Oculus too, the company he founded. There is a degree of reverence in the air as the guys pay tribute to the man who pretty much single handedly re-launched VR and kick-started not only his own Rift but the VR industry re-growth that we are seeing today.
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