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Xbox boss talks Scorpio, cross-play with PS4

Is Scorpio hurting Xbox One S sales? Will there ever be cross-play between Xbox One and PS4? Xbox boss responds to those questions.

In a new interview with MCV, Xbox marketing boss Aaron Greenberg sheds some new light on two of the more exciting and interesting gaming announcements in recent months: Xbox Scorpio and cross-play between Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

On the subject of Scorpio, which was announced at E3, Greenberg was asked if the console's reveal has affected Xbox One S sales. The thinking is that if people know a more powerful console is coming, they might hold out. In fact, GameStop recently said the announcement of Scorpio and Sony's Neo negatively affected console sales. Greenberg didn't exactly give an answer to this question, however, instead saying Microsoft's focus will be on being "very, very aggressive" when it comes to marketing the Xbox One S.

Microsoft will be "really focused on delivering on value with bundles and what you get for the price," he said.


Earlier this month, Xbox boss Phil Spencer said the Scorpio reveal did not "overshadow" Xbox One S. Some people believed Microsoft's announcement of Scorpio might affect Xbox S sales, but apparently that hasn't been the case. The Xbox One outsold the PS4 in the US during July (before the Xbox One S was released) and Microsoft is optimistic about how many consoles it can sell in August.

In the MCV interview, Greenberg again referred to Scorpio as the "most powerful console ever created," featuring a six-teraflop GPU. He also said the system represents the "next big leap forward in innovation for gaming" and something that has never been done before on console. What he's likely referring to is how Microsoft is, for the first time on console, treating Xbox as a family of devices.

The games and accessories you own for Xbox One or Xbox One S will work on Scorpio. For previous console transitions, like Xbox 360 to Xbox One, the games and controllers you had for the older machine were rendered basically useless on the new console. However, backward compatibility support on Xbox One helped with some of this. Scorpio goes even further and "wipes out" the idea of a console generation and eases the "disruptive" nature of moving to a new platform, according to Microsoft.

"We announced [Scorpio] early at E3 so that we can start working with developers and partners who we know will want to take advantage of that incredible amount of power and have a good year plus to be able to plan for it," Greenberg said.

Scorpio is slated to go on sale in holiday 2017, though pricing has not been announced. For its part, Sony is working on a souped-up PS4, code-named Neo, which could be officially revealed in September.

Also in the MCV interview, Greenberg was asked for a status update on when, if ever, there might be cross-play support between Xbox One and PS4. As has been the case for months, the ball remains in Sony's court, it seems. One of the first games that could support Xbox One-PS4 cross-play is Rocket League. Developer Psyonix has a technical solution for this, but it's still a matter of politics.

"In terms of connecting with gamers on the PlayStation Network, we fully support them to do that. And I believe they're talking to Sony about it, but I don't know the latest," Greenberg said.

Speaking generally about cross-play, Greenberg said for a game like Rocket League, it "makes sense to allow players on other platforms to compete in the same arenas. We think that is good (for) gamers."

"Our strategy is to put gamers at the center of everything we do, and that has led us to support things like that where a developer wants to connect people on Steam, for example," he added. "They're doing that today."

Go to MCV to read the full interview.