Gaming is already picking up where it ended last year. Even in the early months of 2017 we have big releases like Resident Evil VII(review) out now and more coming this February. With my PlayStation 2017 Preview out last week, and a Nintendo Switch Preview coming soon, it’s time to focus on Microsoft and ask if the Xbox Scorpio release in 2017 is going to be enough to catch up to Sony?

Not possible you say? Well, let’s not forget the last generation. The Xbox 360 was way ahead of the PS3 a few years in. But by the end of the generation it was a very close market. Can they be the ones to catch the leader this time?

Much like the PlayStation 2017 preview I’ll be looking at what I think are the keys to success for Xbox this year. Plus the biggest games for them and my concerns for them this year. Having owned every Xbox to date, I’ll be offering a few strong thoughts and ideas.

But that’s just me, I’m more interested in you gamers out there. Leave me a Disqus Comment at the end with where you think Xbox needs to be this year. And what your hopes are.

1Key to Success

There are a few things to think about here since Microsoft have more work to do than PlayStation, who can just focus on one thing now: games. Xbox needs a big impact this year and it’s going to take more than one big announcement to do that.

Now, I say this once again. Please don’t read my articles expecting bias or “fanboy” type comments. I’m a gamer, I have a PS4, Xbox One (that sit together and play nicely) and will soon have a Nintendo Switch(more info). I want great games to play, great competition and to see the market full of options for everyone.

So, that being said, let’s look at how Xbox can make-up some more ground this year.

Scorpio Has to Launch 2017 & Be Impressive

Xbox made some big moves in the past year or so. They have steadied the ship, but it’s not in the race with PS4 at the moment however, the gap is too big. I’m sure they know that and are focusing on their fans and their new console.

Let’s face it, after the utter mess of its launch due to last minute changes, the Xbox One needed some time to be accepted. The “One S” being much smaller, neater and coming with 4K video was a big step forward. But the Xbox One is never going to make it on the current core build, with the standard PS4’s clear technical advantage. Plus the PS4 Pro is now on the market and performing well.

Enter project Scorpio to save the day.

I’m 100% convinced every development now going on at their first party studios are primarily focused on that technical specification. Yes the games will work on both, but all will be better on Scorpio, or whatever the final name is.

If that is the case, it needs to arrive this year, not right before Christmas either. It should be released as early as possible and bring impressive performance and games with it. More on the games next. But with a name like “Scorpio” you have to wonder if it’s a hint at the target release.

If so, let’s hope it’s closer to start of the zodiac sign Scorpio of October 24, than November 22!

This needs to hit hard, be arriving fast and be a true 4K ultra gaming machine to make us all go “wow”. They can do it, but they have to do it against some stiff competition this year. For it to work, they need some serious games to go with it…

Innovative, Original Games Designed for Scorpio

There is a danger that we are going to see a pattern occurring here. In true Brock Lesnar style I see this happening: eat, sleep, Forza, Halo, repeat. Now this is nothing against these games, I enjoy them, but it can’t be another year and console based around these two main franchises.

This is a new console, borderline a new generation in a way. Therefore we need to see something new, something unexpected and original from Microsoft once again. Something to really make me want to buy this console. I’ve never once bought a console for how many Teraflops it has, but I have bought a console for a game I had to own.

I’d also say that when they have been innovative they have made some wonderful games. Both Sunset Overdrive and the new Gears of War 4(review) are great exclusives. We need more like this, and no more Rise of the Tomb Raider(review) timed exclusive messing around. That really did not work and hurt a huge franchise in the process.

If they are going to bring Scorpio out this year (and it is expected to and needs to), it needs some new games to come with it and be something special. Be what Halo Combat Evolved was for the original or Gears was for the 360. Bring the innovation and make everyone forget about Scalebound and the strong competition this year.

But what games could really be important for Xbox? Let’s take a look in the next section.

2Biggest Games of 2017

A console can have all the power and capabilities in the world, but it’s the games are what are really going to sell it. And with PlayStation and Nintendo bringing some big titles this year, what do Xbox have to compete and which are most important?

Crackdown (3)

Whether it’s actually called 3 or not in the end, the latest Crackdown has been in development for a long time now. And it’s been very quiet for a long time too. It’s time it started making some noise and being the big Xbox One game to get excited about.

And it needs to be part of the Scorpio launch titles too, running in glorious 4K goodness.

The game itself is key too since it’s one of the more fun and unique Xbox franchises. A big open sandbox with destruction, upgradable powers and the action packed missions make it the perfect package to get something different out there. This could be a key game for Xbox this year if they get it right.

And they’ve certainly had enough time to get it right since the last update was over 18 months ago.

I’d really like to see this as one of a trio of games to really hit the market hard this year. I’m not sure I’d go with this one first, nor would I make it the big Christmas time game. An early October release would work nicely here and I’d be at the front of the queue for it.

Sea of Thieves

This was an interesting game and, again something a bit different too. With the Rare team behind it you can expect a quality experience here, so it’s one I’m really looking forward to seeing more of.

But once again it’s been very quiet and only recently did we see some new gameplay revealed.

The game itself is all about working with friends in an open world MMO. Details on the kind of things you will be doing are thin on the ground, but it all seems quite fun. The gameplay we’ve seen so far has shown the main focus of this title: the enjoyment of freedom on the seas. Do what you like and make friends/enemies of other players as you see fit.

I for one would like to see more. It’s not so much my thing as much as Crackdown is, but I like the fact this is something we’ve not really seen before and looks a really cool concept. For me, this is the perfect game to launch in September or… One of those “You can play this TODAY!” moments at E3.

A New, RPG Style Game That Has Wow Factor

One game genre that the Xbox has really let slip is quality RPGs. Fable was amazing, a game series I loved and it made me become a fan of the Xbox as much as any other title did.

I want something from them that brings back that feeling. The wonder of a Jade Empire or excitement of Mass Effect (the original was exclusive for a time). This is the genre I would like to see Microsoft be announcing for Xbox One and Scorpio this year. They have missed a huge market and it’s time to bring it back.

Now, they could instead mix it up and do what they tried with Tomb Raider and make a direct story driven, action-adventure. One to rival Naughty Dog’s work, but that is a huge ask. Action could also be an idea and really flesh out the work done on something like Ryse Son Of Rome. A bland game that could have been a lot more if the good ideas were taken forward.

The point I’m making is we need something outside the box. Something new that is exciting and different to shooters and racers. The reason I say RPG, or more likely Action-RPG, is because it’s their weakest genre and it directly replaces the cancelled Scalebound.

I do get that people were on the fence about Scalebound but I for one, and I know many others, were sad to see it get binned. Especially so late in it’s development. This isn’t great news and I doubt we’ll see Platinum and Xbox teaming again any time soon as a result.

Time to show they didn’t really need it anyway with something better coming up.

3Concerns for 2017

For me this year is a key year for Xbox and, to be honest, they are worrying me right now. They are being very quiet and it’s very much feeling like a lot of eggs are in a Scorpio shaped basket. Let’s hope it works out and the machine is great but, they are letting a lot of time pass with very little going on.

Let’s have a look at my biggest Xbox concerns of 2017.

Scorpio Being Too Expensive and Lacking Quality New Games

Say what you want about the Nintendo Switch, it’s launch price is more than acceptable and it’s coming in with 2 awesome games. One at launch in Zelda Breath of The Wild and later in the year Super Mario Odyssey. Yes the machine is not as powerful as Scorpio, maybe not even the PS4, but they will not stop Zelda going to the game of the year awards if it’s as good as it looks.

Scorpio can’t come in at a really high price point one year after PlayStation released a 4K console. And their rivals are not stupid either, the PS4 and PS4 Pro will take a timely price cut just before the Scorpio’s release. I’d bet a Twix on that right now!

Any takers, leave me a comment!

And I also get the feeling they’ll try to launch a big exclusive near it too. This is not based on fact here, but it’s what I’d do if I was in the lead.

The console needs to be impressive, really have the features Xbox gamers want. Plus be reasonable in price and come with a couple of new games that have people desperate to get it.

Sounds a really, really big ask for me but if anyone can do it, Microsoft can. It’s just a big concern to see them waiting so long after the PS4 Pro and such a lot of big games out this year.

Delays and More Cancellations

While I said this on the PlayStation side, this has huge significance for Xbox too. We simply can’t see any slip or Sony have more time to get in the lead and people will be more likely to spend their big cash on a Switch.

Xbox Scorpio Release in 2017 5It’s very straightforward, Xbox can’t delay anymore and there can be no more cancellations so deep into development.

They need to hit this year with a really organised plan, one where dates are there only to organise what had been ready for some time. The machine, the games and everything else around it needs to be ready and get us pre-ordering as soon as its announced.

And finally…

I hope to see Xbox arrive with some impressive reveals and games this year. But in there also lies my key word: hope.

Right now I don’t really expect it.

While I do expect Scorpio to be impressive – technically it’ll be an a amazing console and right up alongside some PC’s in a number of ways (I can foresee some angry PC gamer comments about to drop after that one!). But the games are where I’m most worried. I want them to hit me with gameplay, dates and quality rather than CGI teasers and more of the same games.

Do this and we could see them really bring the market closer this year. A couple of great titles coming this year on the most powerful console ever released should see them back in the console race.

But what do you think? Am I being harsh here, am I being too nice? Will Scorpio indeed be the big turning point back to Xbox and see the PlayStation 4 looking like a last generation machine?

Drop me a Disqus or Facebook Comment below and let me know what you think. I read them all and get back to the best ones. Keep MGL in your favourites and come back for more as our previews continue with Nintendo Switch. And don’t miss the PlayStation 2017 preview right now.

Until next time gamers, game on.

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