Xbox’s Project Scorpio and the high price dilemma

Whether you liked the way Xbox revealed Project Scorpio back at E3 2016, you can’t deny it got people talking all over the Xbox and PlayStation camps. People are still discussing prices, exclusive content, 4K
, power, and everything else related to Microsoft’s newest iteration of the Xbox One. With a Holiday 2017 release window and many things that are still unknown to the general public, there’s a lot of speculation regarding its price. Xbox CEO Phil Spencer has said multiple times that Scorpio will be a “premium console” and it’s a fact that the specs shown for it are absolutely incredible, especially for console standards, but what does that mean when it comes to the price? Will Xbox sell it at a loss and go for a $300-450 price tag, or will they go for a smaller userbase by going after a $500-600 price tag?. It’s a difficult choice and there’s definitely arguments for each possibility.

Project Scorpio’s reveal back in E3 2016.

On the one hand, if Project Scorpio releases at $400, it would be an adequate price for the general public considering many consoles before it launched at a similar price point and were successful, like the PlayStation 4 and the original Xbox. If the graphics and performance are truly spectacular then I’m sure that a $400 price would make it sell rather well, but there are certain concerns for Microsoft and for gamers as well. What would happen if Sony waits for Scorpio to release in order to drop the PlayStation 4 Pro’s price? My guess is that it would have a big impact on Scorpio sales figures. Also, a lower price could mean that the Scorpio’s system specifications would be lowered in order to reach that $400 price without selling it at a loss, which would render the whole point of making the Scorpio moot, because what would be the point of its existence if it ends up being not that much powerful compared to the PlayStation 4 Pro?.

The PS4 Pro, Scorpio’s direct competition.

On the other hand, a $500 release would almost definitely separate Project Scorpio from the regular console market, if the PlayStation 3 couldn’t launch at $500 even with the massive install base the Playstation 2 had and its world dominance, why would the Scorpio be better received in terms of general consumers? A $500 or higher price point would stray the console away from the casual buyer and would instead target the more dedicated gamers, and a question for that possibility is: if a gamer wants a powerful machine, why would he (or she) buy the Scorpio when they could buy a PC that is stronger and more useful with only a slightly increased investment? Targeting a different public sounds beneficial on principle, but it could be tougher than just releasing a good product. It would still be the beast of a console we know it to be, but I can’t help but wonder if that’s enough.

To summarize, a cheaper Scorpio would have a market advantage with the problem of possible spec reduction or the fact that it would probably be selling at a loss. While a more expensive Scorpio would be really powerful and it would target almost a completely different market, the problems that option faces is how much of the market it’s targeting would be interested in the product. Only time will tell on which is the path that Microsoft decides to pursue with Project Scorpio.