How much would you be prepared to pay for the Xbox Two? Prior to the launch of the Xbox One, many a source put forward the idea that this new console, currently known as Project Scorpio, could be the first to top the $1,000 barrier.
Could the next console from Microsoft be the one that reaches four figures? Would that put you off completely? We don’t know much about the Xbox Two yet, but we know enough about Project Scorpio's specs to make an educated guess.
Xbox Historical Pricing
First things first let’s take a look at the history of the cost of Microsoft consoles:
|Xbox Original||$299 - Nov 2001|
|Xbox 360||$299 -$399 - Nov 2005|
|Xbox One||$499 - Nov 2013|
|Xbox One S||$399 - 2016|
|XBox 2||$599 - $699? 2017 Release Date|
Looking at the pattern simplistically, each console has seen a $100 increase, with the Xbox at $299, the Xbox 360 at $399 and the Xbox One at $499. Would that make a guess of $599 for the Xbox Two a reasonable assumption? Perhaps, though there are other factors to consider.
For one, the Xbox 360 was a console that varied dramatically in price over the years, with higher and lower specification versions released periodically to suit the demands of gamers. With the Xbox One however, Microsoft has gone back to basics with just one price to include everything, including the motion sensing technology, Kinect. It’s possible that future versions or releases of the Xbox One will come with variable price tags, in which case there is a chance that a version of the Xbox Two with less memory or less functionality could come complete with a slightly lower price tag.
How much will the XBox 2 cost?
Considering Microsoft’s historical pricing strategies, the cost of new technologies and the rate of inflation over the next few years, we think it’s unlikely that the Xbox Two in a basic form would launch for anything less than $699. We’re happy to be proven wrong, but we expect the console to fall within the $699 – 799 price range.
In an interview with NZ Gamer, Phil Spencer spoke about the potential price of the Xbox Two (Project Scorpio). In this interview, he talked about how they designed the price of the Xbox One S in parallel to Xbox 2.
In doing this, he wanted to create a consistent price flow that made sense. In his words:
"So I think you will feel like it's a premium product, a premium console. And not something, anything more than that. So I wouldn't get people worried that this thing is going to be unlike any console price you've ever seen. We didn't design it that way"
So, the concept is a high-end console, but they wanted it to work in tandem with the pricing and layout of the Xbox One S. In other words, they will probably go with a similar pricing concept as Sony as sell it for $499 like the original price of the Xbox One with Kinect.
If Microsoft does push forward with the concept of a cloud-based system, then this price would be lower. Somewhere between $500 and $600 depending on how they plan to market, sell, and regulate the games people play. They may opt for a subscription model or a la carte. Only time will tell, but the price will be dependent on which path Microsoft takes.
Then of course, we have to consider the inevitable VR bundle. Assuming Oculus decides to partner up with Microsoft, this bundle would easily break $1,000. If they throw in all new accessories, unlike the basic option that just gives you the box, we could be looking at something upwards of $1,500 altogether.
Project Scorpio Changes the Game
The Xbox 2 was announced sooner than we anticipated. At E3 2016, Microsoft's own Phil Spencer took the stage and announced what he promised to be "the most powerful console ever built"
Those bold words came with a release date of Holiday 2017. A few small tidbits of information were dropped as well during the announcement. Beyond the release date, we were told this new console will support both 4K gaming and VR, though we don't know which headset it will use.
Phil Spencer also mentioned on the Giant Bomb E3 show that the console will be "four and a half times more powerful than Xbox One."
What does this tell us about the console's ultimate price? Well, we should expect something as expensive or more so than the Xbox One's launch price. The price of a PC these days that can play games in 4K runs about $1,300 or more for something basic, according to PC Gamer.
That price of course is assuming that you're upgrading basic PC parts and your monitor. Building an entire 4K PC from scratch is even more expensive. Taking this into account, we have to also recall that Phil Spencer promised VR compatibility.
Rumors have stated that Microsoft is seeking a partnership with Oculus Rift, which could mean the $600 headset will work with Project Scorpio. Oculus Rift themselves offer a PC/headset bundle starting at a cool $1,500 if you want a computer powerful enough to use it.
Boiling this all down, what are we looking at for the cost of Xbox 2/Project Scorpio? Well, Microsoft has to make something that can be mass produced, while also keeping costs down so they make a profit.
During the announcement of Project Scorpio, Phil Spencer that the new console is "part of the Xbox family." He made it clear that the no gamers would be left behind. Project Scorpio will no doubt offer new accessories and games, but it will also be backwards compatible with all the previous games and accessories for Xbox One.
By offering this kind of savings, Microsoft could offer a very basic, very core version of the Xbox 2 that will use all your current accessories. This could be paired with a more premium offering that has all new pieces and perhaps a VR headset bundled in as well.
Another factor that could dramatically alter how much the Xbox Two launches for is that of the technologies contained within it. Perhaps one of the most influential reasons that the Xbox One’s launch price was higher than that of its rival, the PlayStation 4, is due to the inclusion of the Kinect technology with the sale of every console. Adding in a new technology to the sale is bound to increase the cost per unit, and the same could be true of the Xbox Two.
Since Project Scorpio is confirmed to be VR compatible, we now have a few options as to what it could be bundled with:
- The Oculus Rift (Priced at $600)
- The HTC Vive (Priced at $800)
- An unannounced Microsoft-made headset (not the HoloLens
The reason why we've ruled out the HoloLens is twofold: for starters that headset is augmented reality, not virtual reality. The second piece of evidence is that Microsoft indefinitely delayed the HoloLens earlier in 2016.
Rumors are point more towards the Oculus Rift than the other choices, but with the Rift bundled in, the price will go up significantly.
We mentioned inflation in passing but it is a very real consideration when thinking about the cost of future games consoles. Take a walk around a supermarket one week to another and it’s easy to spot that in general the cost of living is increasing. In general this isn’t too much of a problem, as salaries tend to rise with the cost of living. In 1990 for example, the average salary in the US was just $438 a year, compared to around $50,000 today.
There is a very real chance that these increasing figures could impact the cost of the next Xbox games console, especially considering the unpredictable financial world in which we find ourselves living. Even with a low inflation rate of just 2% for the next ten years would see an item that did cost $499, now cost $599.
Signs of Rain: The Possibility of a Cloud-Based System
These assumptions are based on a physical system stuffed full of futuristic technology, but what if the Xbox Two didn't take that route? What if instead the system chose to not only rely on the cloud, but depend on it? As a quick recap, the cloud is a remote location where servers can store data or run games. Similar to Netflix, games can already be streamed, so what's the need for the box?
We already know that Microsoft intended on using the cloud to offload some of the work from the actual Xbox console and free it up to do more things with its games. While this didn't become a reality, the possibility of a cloud-based successor is still there and becoming more likely as time goes on. If this were to be the path that Microsoft decides to take, then we wouldn't even need a full box. We most likely use a receiver, perhaps the HoloLens augmented reality headset?
If all you had to buy was just the receiver and maybe a controller, the costs would certainly be cut down. Even so, Microsoft wants to make money on accessories, so I imagine something like Xbox Live Gold would be required for most, if not all of the services to make up the lost gap. Microsoft may not be keen on taking such a large leap of faith though after the original features of the Xbox One got them in hot water with the gaming public.
Still, it would fulfill Microsoft's desire to be the "lords of the living room" as it were. It would make it easier to play games and it would make the price low enough to bring in more gamers. Still, the idea of an all digital system is something that many people do not like.
What do you think? Have we underestimated? Overestimated? How much would you be prepared to pay for the Xbox Two?