There's less than a month left before Microsoft officially unveils Project Scorpio, so here's everything we know so far.
This year's E3 is going to be a big one for Microsoft, with the company set to reveal all the nitty-gritty details of its latest console, Project Scorpio. Rather than wait until June 14th, we've collected everything we know so far about the semi-sequel to the Xbox One right here.
What is Project Scorpio?
Project Scorpio is the codename for Microsoft's next Xbox console. Unlike traditional console releases, Scorpio is not a complete departure from Microsoft's current Xbox One platform, but simply a more powerful version of it. All current and future Xbox One games will work on Project Scorpio, and for the time being, Microsoft has promised that no new games can be made exclusively for Scorpio. Everything will need to run on both Xbox One and Scorpio hardware. In other words, current Xbox One owners don't need to worry about missing out on new games for the foreseeable future.
If you do pick up Project Scorpio when it is released, Microsoft has promised that you'll experience the world's most powerful console along with the best version of all current and upcoming console games. Of course, best version can mean a number of different things, from higher frame rates and smoother performance to 4K resolutions and fancier graphical effects.
How any particular game takes advantage of Scorpio's extra power is ultimately up to the game's developer. That may mean some games ignore the additional graphical muscle altogether since Microsoft is not insisting developers support Scorpio in the same way Sony requires developers to support PS4 Pro. This could potentially lead to a dearth of games taking full advantage of Scorpio, so keep that in mind if you're considering upgrading to the new console.
The 4K push
One of Project Scorpio's biggest selling points is its support for 4K resolutions. 4K is a smidge less than 4 times the size of regular 1080p HD resolution, which effectively translates to a higher level of detail in images and video. For comparison, the base level Xbox One and PS4 consoles are limited to 1080p, and sometimes games run lower than that at 900p and 720p. In the worst cases, this can result in games looking slightly blurry.
Project Scorpio can support resolutions all the way up to 4K. However, rendering games in 4K requires a whole lot of power and, although Eurogamer has already reported seeing a tech demo of Forza holding a steady 60fps at 4K, some Scorpio games may run at lower resolutions and use techniques like half-resolution and sparse rendering to achieve a sort of pseudo 4K that may or may not look quite as good. We'll have to wait until the games start coming out to determine whether the difference between full-blown 4K and pseudo 4K is noticeable.
What if I don't have a 4K TV?
While Project Scorpio is geared towards 4K, 1080p TV owners needn't fret. Scorpio offers a better gaming experience even if you don't own a 4K TV to connect it to. For starters, any boost to frame rate Scorpio enjoys over the Xbox One will be apparent regardless of what TV you own. Additionally, Scorpio can use a technique known as super-sampling to improve image quality on 1080p TVs. This basically amounts to Scorpio rendering a game in 4K, then scaling it down to 1080p while still retaining a lot of the extra graphical detail. For an idea of what this looks like in practice, check out Windows Central's comprehensive image comparison.
What are the specs?
|CPU||8 custom x86 cores running at 2.3GHz|
|GPU||6 teraflops with 40 customised compute units running at 1172MHz|
|Memory||12GB of GDDR5 RAM|
|Optical Drive||4K UHD Blu-ray/DVD drive|
How much will it cost?
Microsoft has not announced an official price for Project Scorpio, but Xbox chief Phil Spencer provided some clues in an interview with the Guardian.
"I actually feel with Scorpio we’ve been able to hit a really nice price/performance ratio," Spencer said. "It is a premium product, there’s no doubt, but I think relative to the PC that you could go buy at this spec, you’re gonna feel really good.”
This is in tune with the general consensus in the games industry of a price somewhere in the AUD$599-$699 range.
When is it coming out?
No firm release date has been set for Project Scorpio, but Microsoft has confirmed it will arrive before the end of the year.
What games have been announced?
So far, no games have been officially confirmed to take advantage of Project Scorpio. Earlier this year, Windows Central reported an unofficial list of Project Scorpio games it had received. They are as follows:
- Forza Motorsport 7
- Crackdown 3
- State of Decay 2
- Call of Duty (likely the recently unveiled Call of Duty: WWII)
- Red Dead Redemption 2
- Star Wars Battlefront 2