Without Console Exclusive Games, Is Xbox’s Project Scorpio Even Worth Buying?

Unless you’ve been under a rock for the past few months, you have seen both Nintendo and PlayStation flourish while the Xbox has been playing catch up since the 2016 holiday season.

Nintendo released the Switch earlier this month and it has already broke old Nintendo console records for a launch weekend, beating the Wii and N64. PlayStation in recent months has released the PS4 Pro in November and the PSVR in October and both have been incredibly successful. In the fourth quarter of 2016, Sony‘s sales went through the roof and was pretty much carried by the PlayStation 4’s sales and as the company itself wasn’t doing too hot.

Microsoft is on the down slide and it doesn’t look like the Xbox is going to be relevant until Project Scorpio is finally released in late 2017.

Xbox has tried to get fans of the console excited with introducing ideas like the Game Pass which is basically like Netflix but with video games. Game Pass has over 100 titles ready to be downloaded like Halo 5: Guardians and Payday 2 and only cost about $10 per month. It’s not a bad idea but instead of streaming games, you have to download the entire file to your console and you only get to play for about a month or so. This means a lot of installing and uninstalling that could be a pain in the you know what. Here’s the thing I have to ask myself as an avid Xbox fan since the beginning…

Is Project Scorpio even going to be worth the money?

Let’s look at the features that the “most powerful console ever created” as said by Monolith’s studio head Kevin Stephens. Just recently announced, Scorpio will support VR. No word as to what kind of headset it will support (Microsoft brand only or third party headsets) but Microsoft has come out with their own headset which will more than likely be compatible with the console.

In short, the graphics core will be more than capable of going head-to-head with top-end graphics card; the brand-new Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 has 6.5TFLOPs of performance. By the time Scorpio launches, it will be the equivalent of a mid-range PC in 2017, which is how most consoles tend to launch. It will also run at natural 4k and will have at least a 1TB HD. On paper, the console to end all consoles (sarcasm) sounds pretty great, but it’s lacking something.

WHERE THE HELL ARE THE EXCLUSIVES!?

Exclusives, Exclusives, Exclusives drive sales in this business and the Xbox not only had a flop with Halo Wars 2, but they even cancelled Scalebound, and action RPG that was being talked about as a rival to PlayStation’s JRPG exclusives. There was uproar from fans and developers alike because now if you get hired by Microsoft to created a new game, you are nervous because you don’t know if your game will even hit the shelves. And it’s almost a slap to the face of the fans who now primarily play multiplayer titles that are available on multiple platforms.

When asked about exclusives for Project Scorpio, a senior Microsoft spokesperson said it was “up to developers” to decide if they want to develop games exclusively for Project Scorpio. “I don’t know about that. We’ll see. It’s up to the game development community; what do they want to do,” said Shannon Loftis, GM of Game Publishing at Microsoft.

Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, posted on the official Xbox website a few weeks ago to tease “an Epic Xbox 2017 Games Lineup” and listed Crackdown 3, State of Decay 2, Cuphead, Below, and Sea of Thieves, among a few other lower-profile releases. At a glance, there aren’t high expectations here unless Sea of Thieves really lives up to its potential and it’s hard to get excited for a followup to the disappointing Crackdown 2 until more of the third installment is showcased.

It’s hard to see anyone paying $100-$200 more for a better running version of their current system. I’m sure some will upgrade but unless you really hate how slow the Xbox is, I wouldn’t recommend buying Scorpio at release.

 

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PlayStation 4.5 Update Now Available

This week, Sony put out the PlayStation 4.5 system update that brings a good amount of new features to the console.

As of yesterday, you’ll now be able to connect an external hard drive to the system and expand the storage. This is good news for anyone with a 500GB HD version of the console. And if you’re looking for a bit of customisation, you can now add in-game screenshots as wallpapers to the PS4’s menu.

If you’re playing a game in PS VR and you return to the PS4 home screen, you may notice that the resolution looks a bit lower than normal on the TV Social Screen. With this update, the resolution of the system screen displayed on your TV is significantly better when you’re out of VR mode. The resolution of cinematic mode on PSVR will improve and if your PS VR screen size is set to Small or Medium, the frame rate of content viewed in Cinematic Mode goes up from 90Hz to 120Hz with this update.

Sony is adding voice chat when using remote play on a Windows PC, Mac or a mobile device. You can now switch your mic on and off via the microphone icon on the tool bar of the remote play app.

The PS4 Pro gets a new feature in this update called Boost Mode. This feature has been designed to provide better performance for select games that have not been patched to the PS4 Pro’s faster CPU and its faster and double-sized GPU. Boost Mode provides a noticeable frame rate boost to some games with variable frame rates, and can provide frame rate stability for games that are programmed to run at 30 Hz or 60 Hz. Depending on the game, the increased CPU speed may also result in shorter load times. Of course, not all games will be compatible with the new mode

 

 

More PlayStation VR Bundles coming soon

For those of you that still haven’t gotten your hands on a PlayStation VR headset, you time will soon come as Sony is releasing two VR bundle options, one of which is brand-new.

Sony announced that the PlayStation VR is back with the original “Launch Bundle” that was available for preorder before the headset dropped back in October. It will include the headset itself and a PlayStation camera, as well as two PlayStation Move controllers, PlayStation VR Worlds (which is a collection of smaller VR games), and a VR demo disc. The bundle will be in stores next week and look to be priced at $500.

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If that wasn’t enough good news for the PlayStation faithful, Sony will soon offer a bundle that will include Until Dawn: Rush of Blood, which is the the on-rails shooter spinoff of Until Dawn. This is basically the same bundle as the launch one, you’re just swapping in Rush of Blood in place of VR Worlds. It’ll be available at GameStop and EB Games exclusively later this month and it will also be $500.

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PSVR headsets are know to sell quick and are in high demand so get one as soon as you can before they’re gone!