Today at E3, Microsoft unveiled a new line of consoles to join the Xbox One. The Xbox One S and the codenamed Project Scorpio will broaden Microsoft’s lineup of game consoles in the coming year. The different variants, customization options, and the fact that both consoles were unveiled just three years after the Xbox One demonstrates a noticeable shift in the video game console market.
Today’s Microsoft conference was the first indication that console makers are speeding up their upgrade timelines to more resemble the turnover rates of laptops and smartphones. Both of those consumer devices update almost annually, while consoles often take much longer to introduce hardware upgrades. It took eight years for Microsoft to upgrade the Xbox 360 to the Xbox One. Now, it’s only three years between the shift from the Xbox One to the Xbox One S and “Project Scorpio.”
While there have always been slimmer variants within every console lifetime, they’ve never really included any noticeable hardware improvements. The Xbox One S by contrast showed off 4K capabilities, a larger 2TB hard drive, and customized controllers for consumers. Not only are these notable improvements over the Xbox One, but the new S variant will be marketed alongside the existing Xbox One console. Likewise, “Project Scorpio” is promising even more improvements, beefing up nearly every technical and graphical aspect of the current Xbox One to the point that the two are completely different consoles.
This is the beginning of a huge shift in video game consoles, one which markets a broader line-up of consoles to meet the needs of a diverse set of consumers. Much like the smartphone approach of offering different storage options, screen variants, and price points, Microsoft is bending the console market to better compete with the rapid rates in which smartphones and laptops release. Starting this year, consumers should begin expecting a more diverse range of consoles, updating every 3-4 years, much like the other electronic, consumer devices currently out there.