Microsoft had planned to launch high-spec new Xbox in 2016

What will later this year be released as Xbox Scorpio might have instead arrived in a different form last year, Microsoft has admitted.

Around this time last year rumours were flying about mid-generation upgrades to both the PS4 and Xbox One. Sony went on to release the PS4 Pro but Microsoft launched only the redesigned Xbox One S. And while Scorpio rapidly approaches, things could have been very different.

We saw 4K TVs coming, and we made a prediction that 4K TVs were going to be a thing during this generation,” Xbox boss Phil Spencer told Gamasutra. So we designed a console for 2016, and a console for 2017.

We were kind of working on both plans simultaneously. And at some point, we got to – let’s just call it greenlight – and said, I think we need to do more than what the silicon is that’s available in 2016 at a price point that a console customer would want to pay.

I actually don’t remember what the codename was for that effort, but we stopped that effort and said okay, we’re going to put all of our weight and execution capability of the hardware team behind delivering a higher-powered console in 2017 that’s completely geared towards 4K.”

Spencer also confirmed that Microsoft has in its time loosely investigated the long-rumoured and much discussed portable Xbox.

Let me say that the amount of times we’ve designed, roughly designed, an Xbox handheld, or a cheap Xbox kind of stick that you could plug in and stream from an Xbox in the home, or play low-powered games….we are always thinking and brainstorming on different scenarios of where the console could go,” Spencer said.

I still believe in the power of a television in the home. Now some people don’t, right. I happen to have two daughters, they’re younger, they don’t watch TV—they watch things on their laptop, right. This big screen on the wall that’s a communal viewing service is something of my age demographic, and not theirs.”

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