It can’t be easy to develop games for consoles. Not only do you have to deal with expectations, hype and having to interact with the scum of the Earth known as the games industry press (Hi mom! Again! WHY WON’T YOU TALK TO ME MOM?), but there’s also a massive time limit on all of this. A time limit in the form of console hardware generations.
Just when you’ve gotten comfortable developing on a particular piece of machinery, comes a new generation of consoles out of nowhere like some sort of Microsoft or Nintendo-branded RKO. Microsoft does, however, want to change that with their modular device next year, currently codenamed Project Scorpio before the marketing team decides to brand it as something far worse.
It’s a device that Microsoft says will open the doors to a future where console generations are a thing of the past, at least in terms of performance. And overall, that should make life easier for developers. “You hear us talking about thinking beyond console generations. It’s not the idea that you don’t want to do consoles anymore or that there’s not going to be more performance [in the future with new systems],” Xbox director Albert Penello said on the latest Inner Circle podcast via GameSpot.
But if you go back and look at console generations, they’re always super exciting when something new comes out, but they’re super disruptive.
They’re really hard on developers, because they have to learn how to program on these new machines; they’re really hard on customers, which I think sometimes people forget. You have to give up a lot of stuff. The idea [for Scorpio and the future] is, can we smooth that out, can this be more about a family, can we think beyond, ‘We’re gonna do this one and then stop and then start all over again.
That makes some big sense. After all, look at the Xbox 360. On the market as a main event player for close to a decade, and the games that were being pumped out for it at the tailend of its lifespan were phenomenal visual showcases that pushed the graphics into bleeding edge ranges. If Project Scorpio can remain relevant for years upon years with a few minimal upgrade options, I think we’re going to see developers quickly become familiar enough with the device to crank out some special games.
Until the next big Xbox console, that is.