Project Scorpio isn’t going to mark the beginning of a new console cycle for Xbox. The new console is a mid-generation upgrade to Xbox One, which will enter its fourth year on the market this November. While Scorpio won’t mean the start of a new generation, Microsoft and its publishing partners will be treating it as one.
I get the general sense from publishers and developers that Project Scorpio will receive quite a bit more fanfare than what the PS4 Pro received. Sony’s “push” to get the word out about PS4 Pro was minor, if not underwhelming. Microsoft is already positioning itself for a major marketing push for Project Scorpio.
Many in the industry are expecting a Project Scorpio briefing to take place prior to E3 this June. This makes sense for a number of reasons, but all of that is for another day. Microsoft’s relationships with its third party partners will be essential to Project Scorpio’s initial success this year.
Sure, first party titles like Forza Motorsport 7, Sea of Thieves, Crackdown 3 and State of Decay 2 will be important. However, the type of support Microsoft brings in from third parties could help push those who were on the fence about purchasing a Scorpio over to the buying side.
One particular game and publisher I feel will market alongside Project Scorpio is Assassin’s Creed Empire and Ubisoft. The publisher is always present when a new console launches. Whether it is through an console-exclusive title or some other type of exclusive content, Ubisoft supports new technology early and often.
I fully expect Assassin’s Creed Empire to be a showcase title for Project Scorpio. The franchise is coming off of a year hiatus, having not seen a new iteration since 2015. Ubisoft appeased fans who wanted the brand to take a year off and have been working on the new game in the series ever since. I presume there will be plenty of momentum for Empire once it’s revealed, and why wouldn’t Microsoft want that hype to be based off of gameplay from Scorpio?
Assassin’s Creed Empire will likely be Ubisoft’s marquee title for the holiday season this year. The look of its worlds have always been stunning and Empire should be no different. It seems like a marketing no-brainer to have Empire stand up as a visual showcase for Project Scorpio. Even if the new game doesn’t appear at a Project Scorpio pre-E3 event, I believe it’ll be shown off during Microsoft’s E3 2017 press briefing.
Another note worth mentioning is this year could be when Ubisoft celebrates the 10 year anniversary of Assassin’s Creed. The first iteration made its debut back in 2007 and man, how the series has grown. I’m sure Ubisoft will be using that as a marketing ploy for Empire, and it just adds to the intrigue of what is coming next from Assassin’s Creed.
We’ve already seen Middle-earth: Shadow of War come forward as a game that’ll market as a Project Scorpio title. Even though it is a multi-platform release, Microsoft and Warner Bros. are going to push it alongside Project Scorpio. There are surely plenty of other publishers ready to hop on Scorpio’s marketing bandwagon.
While things like price, release date and backwards compatibility are all important, ultimately it’s the games that sell consoles. If Microsoft can put on a strong display of launch games together for Project Scorpio, that’ll go a long way in convincing prospective Scorpio buyers. Stick around here at We Write Things for more on Assassin’s Creed.