Microsoft is gearing up to release a new console later this year, codenamed Project Scorpio, and the company has come forward to explain the reason behind this new addition to the Xbox hardware family.
Speaking to Eurogamer, Mike Ybarra, Microsoft’s corporate VP of the Xbox and Windows gaming platform, said the company is striving to “win developers back” after it lost its place of dominance in the wake of PS4’s success, as it transitioned from Xbox 360 to Xbox One.
“With Xbox 360 we had the absolute best platform for developers, [with Xbox One] we sort of lost that in a two-year time-frame, so we said how do we win the mind-share of those developers back?” Ybarra explained. “We want the best games running on our box and there are tools, devkits and some arrows like that to win the developers back. So that was a big priority for us as we approached this product.”
Ybarra went on to reiterate Microsoft’s desire to “win the hearts and minds of developers,” noting they “have to have the right toolset that lets them bring out their games across the whole family of products and let them create the absolute best versions of those games.”
The Microsoft exec also highlighted how the industry has changed and how consumers are more accustomed to buying updated hardware on a more frequent basis, citing phones as a prime example. As such, the traditional console cycle doesn’t fit with consumers’ expectation to upgrade to the latest gaming technology at such a fast pace.
“When we see consumers tell us they want ‘the latest technology, the latest experience, the best experience more frequently’ to our traditional console business that doesn’t really align with that, you have to pause, you have to take some pretty big risks,” Ybarra said, adding that Microsoft is taking that risk with Scorpio to embrace the “business model of saying let’s change things up and let’s give consumers what they want, sooner.”
With regard to Scoprio’s audience Ybarra said it’s for the “premium customer, the gamer that expects the absolute best versions of the games,” echoing Head of Xbox Phil Spencer’s prior statement that Scorpio “will feel like it’s a premium product, a premium console.”
For more on the future of Microsoft’s gaming platform, check out the system’s recently revealed tech specs, and then take a look at our Xbox One Scorpio vs. PS4 Pro comparison chart. While you’re at it, read our thoughts on whether or not Xbox can strike back with Scorpio.