Microsoft had a busy E3 a couple of weeks ago, announcing the soon to launch Xbox One S and confirming the existence of the Xbox One 4K capable Project Scorpio. However, this has led to criticism that Microsoft is forcing gamers into upgrading too early in the cycle of the Xbox One, but the company may have an answer for that.
UK-based tabloid, The Daily Star, has reported that Microsoft is making the upgrade choice a little easier by making backward compatibility a simpler process.
Through a normal console upgrade, gamers would want the newer hardware (better performance, graphics, and so on) and would have to buy new games for that hardware. For example, the GTA V title for the Xbox One is different from the version for the Xbox 360 as it is optimized for the improved hardware of the Xbox One.
Scorpio is landing very early in the Xbox One cycle, so Microsoft risks pissing off plenty of gamers by making them upgrade games as well as hardware. So, to ease these concerns, the company says it is creating an upgrade system where gamers can use their existing libraries on the Scorpio.
Redmond confirmed previously that gamers could use Xbox One titles across all three versions of the console once the One S and Scorpio are released. The company says developers can create their games to scale accordingly across all tiers of the Xbox One range.
In an interview with Daily Star UK, Dave McCarthy, general manager at Xbox Services, said:
“Some of our retail partners today do trade-in programs and that's definitely going to be partnerships we continue to move going forward. We want to make that transition as smooth as possible. The compatibility thing is a big deal because you feeling you have to give up your games isn't a good feeling, so we take that angst out of the equation. We'll try partnerships with our retail partners to smooth it even more with trade-in programs and things like that.
We are making a meaningful step with Project Scorpio in supporting 4K gaming. But you don't have to worry about that as a gamer because the games you already own on Xbox One, the ones you're going to buy this year and in the future will work across the family of devices (Xbox One, Xbox One S and Scorpio). We haven't always been able to do that at these generational bumps. That's a big shift for us.”
Whether Microsoft is over-fragmenting the Xbox One brand is a debate still worth having, but at least games will work across all versions. The company wants consumers to think of the Xbox One as a three-tier product, the base level Xbox One, the beefier Xbox One S (mid-range), and the high-end Project Scorpio, which will be for hardcore gamers and early adopters.