After today's reveal of Project Scorpio's hardware specifications, speculation surrounding the Xbox One follow-up's pricing is falling around $499. That number comes from Digital Foundry's Rich Leadbetter, who was given an exclusive look at Project Scorpio. It should be noted that an official price point for the console has not been announced by Microsoft and the $499 USD speculation is just that. The official price point will be revealed at E3 this June.
Here's Rich's statement on why he believes $499 USD is the likely price of Project Scorpio when it launches later this year:
"PS4 Pro launched at £349/$399. Scorpio has a larger processor (the most expensive single part of any console), 4GB more memory, a faster hard drive, a UHD Blu-ray drive and a state-of-the-art cooling solution. All of these add cumulatively to the bill of materials and if I had to guess - and I'll stress that this isn't based on anything I might have heard on my visit - Project Scorpio is going to cost in the region of $499."
Note that Rich's price analysis doesn't exactly break down the pricing into an itemized list. It's at best an educated guess, which implies that the official pricing could vary widely from the $499 USD mark.
The $499 price point, coming from a strictly hardware perspective does make some sense. After all, like Rich said, if Project Scorpio has more powerful components than the PlayStation 4 Pro (and the PlayStation 4 Pro is $399), then of course Project Scorpio has to be higher than that. But how much sense does $499 make from the perspective of Microsoft trying to regain ground on Sony's PlayStation 4 dominance in the current generation?
It must be taken into account that Microsoft's Xbox One is way behind the PlayStation 4 in overall console sales. If Microsoft is serious about pulling ahead of the PlayStation 4, it must believe it has a strategic advantage launching Project Scorpio in late 2017, a year after the PlayStation 4 Pro was released at $399. Obviously, Project Scorpio will be the most powerful console available when it launches, and will remain so until Sony hits back with a new console of its own. That's a huge advantage. Yet, it's questionable how much that would favor Microsoft in a test of whether consumers would buy a $399 PlayStation 4 Pro that, while less powerful than Project Scorpio still provides 4K, over a $499 Project Scorpio.
If Microsoft wanted to renew the fight for this generation of consoles, a $399 price point for Project Scorpio would make it competitive in an entirely new way. If Rich is right about hardware costs, however, that would mean Microsoft would have to eat that $100 difference. Of course, Microsoft may just be so confident in Project Scorpio that they believe it will still sell extremely well at $499 – or maybe even higher.
Project Scorpio, Microsoft's follow-up console to the Xbox One, is planned for release this holiday season. A specific release date and a price will be revealed during Microsoft E3 keynote this June.