Scav3nger’s Thoughts: E32016

I was hesitant to post this for the fear it would become one of those old “Scav3nger’s Rants” posts where I just complain about things that I don’t like, but let’s see what happens.

When it comes to this time of the year, every year, I’m often found questioning what crazy announcements will be made in attempt to be determined as having “won E3” any particular year. When ultimately it seems the winner is often the one who does the least shit. In most recent times it was probably when Xbox One was revealed and Sony managed to win that year by being less shit than Xbox (probably mostly because of the always online fiasco).

This year however, things have changed. Apparently. Xbox are moving “Beyond Generations” with announcement of Project Scorpio, a refresh on the Xbox One. Not a new console by name as it’s still apparently part of the Xbox One family (with Scorpio obviously being a placeholder, likely to avoid use of “Xbox One Plus” or similar), but pretty much everything on the inside is going to be new.

This annoys me more than it should. With it still being part of the Xbox One family it sounds a lot to me like they’re confirming they got it wrong the first time and now they’re going back to try and have another crack at it.They didn’t reveal much, 8 core CPU, 6 terraflop GPU, pure pixels, and the fact that it will be capable of 4K gaming. It’s likely they didn’t want to reveal too much because Sony haven’t spoken about PS4 “Neo” other than to admit that it is a thing they are working on. I just… I don’t know, I’m not buying into the hype on this one. Or the Slim for that matter, though that is probably because I already have a regular One and the size of it isn’t really that big a deal for me.I think on a personal level the reason I’m not buying into it, nor am I particularly interested in getting it (Scorpio this is) is because I have a perfectly good gaming PC.

With the new push to make all titles Xbox One AND Windows 10 exclusive the incentive to own an Xbox console just isn’t there any more. If Halo 6 were revealed to also be a Windows 10 UWP supported game it is actually highly likely I would consider getting rid of the Xbox One entirely, as Halo and Forza were pretty much the only reason for owning the Xbox. Now that Forza is already confirmed to be cross-buy/cross-play into the future I have one less reason to own a console from a list that was already very short.I take nothing away from the fact that this is probably going to be a great console for people who want to have great graphics but don’t want to deal with driver issues and hardware compatibility as you generally find on a PC. However, I question how they’re going to manage 4K gaming when their initial Xbox One struggled to maintain 1080p (ignoring FPS for the moment), even if they said they were focusing on nailing 1080p or even 2K/1440p there would be that old saying in the back of my mind “Do it once, do it right”. The numbers sound close, but I can’t help but imagine it’s going to fall agonisingly short of 4K to the point where developers would need to make a choice betw…

Actually that brings up another good point that was raised. Phil Spencer confirmed that there would be no Scorpio exclusives. Games released on the Scorpio would be available on the Xbox One, and vice versa. How is that going to work? Are games going to be forced into adopting adaptive resolution like Halo 5 so they can adapt to work smoothly on both consoles? Or be available with adjustable graphics settings? Or be released with “Scorpio Ready” versions that tack on extra stuff for the more powerful hardware? There are a lot of questions about this particular aspect that a lot of people are no doubt keen to hear the answers. For such a large performance jump it’s not hard to imagine third party developers being keen to drop support for the original One eventually to take full advantage of the Scorpio, and not potentially have to hamstring their games due to needing to support the original One.The next 12-18 months promise to be interesting in this space. For both the Xbox and Playstation camps. While we don’t know anything solid about Neo yet it does seem that both are taking the same route to push refreshed versions of the consoles with upgraded hardware.

So I’ll be watching this particular space from my desk chair in front of my gaming PC, keyboard primed and ready to spam out another one these silly posts when something else comes up that I don’t agree with, because that’s we’re supposed to do on the internet, right?

On the actual games front, Forza Horizon 3 being based in Australia is awesome, the map looks cool even if a bit skewif (why are the apostles and Great Ocean Road above Byron Bay?!) and the locations themselves look great so it may be the first Horizon game I actually buy (I’m a Motorsport elitist). Of course the ability to buy it once and play it across my Xbox One and PC is icing on the cake!

Halo Wars 2 was… okay? Though we didn’t really see much. I haven’t had a chance to download the beta yet, but I should get some game time in over the weekend. I thought the idea was to get a Halo game every year now but HW2 is now coming out early next year instead of later this year. I also wonder if the Scorpio news means we won’t see Halo 6 (and possibly Forza 7) until Scorpio is ready, we’ll see on that front.

EA’s show was, well, it happened. It didn’t leave much to be desired beyond Battlefield 1. Lots of developer diaries, and about as much news on Mass Effect Andromeda as we already knew. Not really sure what the point was for EA to go off doing their own thing. Ubisoft also happened. There were some announcements, but personally there’s no Ubisoft games that interest me so I’m just going to move right along. Bethesda I also missed, but the Quake Championship announcement was a bit surprising. Bethesda bringing back all the old FPS’s, first Doom, now Quake. What’s next? Wolfenstei… oh wait.

I’m not disappointed by the fact that I missed the PC Gaming Show seems like it’s not anything special, AMD spoke briefly about some stuff. Polaris and Zen. We really need to hear about this stuff though, Intel are being allowed to walk it in at the moment, they need competition from AMD so hopefully Polaris and Zen can bring something to the table to bring a level of competition back into it.Overall I’d give E32016 a solid 5/7. Would watch again next year.

Maybe I’d sleep before Xbox conference next time though. I was a train wreck on Tuesday, though being up at 4am on Monday for the Canadian GP probably didn’t help. Ah the things we do.

Anyway, I’m out, thanks for reading, see you next time. KTHXBAI

– Scav

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