In a recent interview with Gamasutra, Microsoft’s Phil Spencer has revealed that Microsoft was originally planning an upgraded Xbox One model for release in 2016 in addition to the Xbox One S. “We thought 4K TVs would get to scale in the middle of this generation. So we designed a console for 2016, and a console for 2017,” Spencer revealed. “We were kind of working on both plans simultaneously. And at some point, we got to — let’s just call it greenlight. For what we would do in 2016, and we sat around a table not too dissimilar from this and said, I think we need to do more than what the silicon is that’s available in 2016 at a price point that a console customer would want to pay. So that’s when we stopped that effort.”
The console for 2017 that he’s referring to is the currently codenamed, Project Scorpio, which is due out later this year. This 2016 model would have likely fallen somewhere in between the original Xbox One console and Scorpio in power and price but was eventually abandoned in favor of offering something significantly more powerful in 2017.
Microsoft did of course release the Xbox One S in 2016 but this console didn’t offer much in the way of a performance boost for games despite its added HDR and 4K support. The console being discussed here is not the Xbox One S.
“I actually don’t remember what the codename was for that effort, but we stopped that effort and said okay, we’re going to put all of our weight and execution capability of the hardware team behind delivering a higher-powered console in 2017 that’s completely geared towards 4K,” Spencer explained. “And then as we watched how we built it, we realized we could actually build some benefits for the — I’ll call them the 1K customers as well. The 1080p customer. Because the capabilities of the box don’t dictate that somebody builds their game in 4K, or that you plug in a 4K TV. So if you’re running one of our games in 1K, we wanted to do better there as well.”
This added functionality that will improve the performance of existing Xbox 360 and Xbox One video games was something that was only recently revealed about Project Scorpio and has already become a major selling point for the console.
Do you think Microsoft should have released this extra Xbox One console in 2016 or were they right in waiting until 2017 with Project Scorpio? Let us know in the comments.