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Project Scorpio should be called the Xbox One Pro

Chris Stead 2 December 2016

xbox-one-pro

As we cast our eyes towards 2017, one of the biggest mysteries surrounds the details of Microsoft’s new console, Project Scorpio. Including its official name…

Project Scorpio was announced at E3 in June 2016, and is due for release in late 2017. It’s not the Xbox 4, apparently. Despite the fact that the company has declared it will be the most powerful console ever made, built to handle the demands of 4K resolution and virtual reality, it will remain part of the Xbox One family. Much as Sony has done with the recently released PlayStation 4 Pro (read our review), Project Scorpio will add in performance benefits for the titles that support it, for gamers willing to pay for it.

The specifications just announced by Microsoft will easily place Project Scorpio as the most powerful console on the market. Its eight-core, 2.3Ghz x86 CPU is joined by a six teraflop GPU clocked at 1172MHz GPU, 12GB GDDR5 ram, support for the new Dolby Atmos standard and a UHD 4K Blu-ray player. This edges edges out the PS4 Pro at every post and the Switch by a country mile. While we don't know the price yet, and have only one game hinted at for its launch - a new Forza Motorsport title - there's no doubt Scorpio will be a beast. It's clearly aimed at gamers who have or intend to buy a 4K TV. These tip-of-the-spear tech aficionados revel in having the best of the best and they know what they need to get it.

But for most general consumers, words like “bandwidth” and “APU” and “teraflops” hold no real meaning. Or at least, no relative meaning. As a result, Project Scorpio threatens to confuse the landscape just as a PS4, a PS4 Slim and a PS4 Pro have. Or the litany of 3DS/2DS models. Or the way some games have special editions, then enhanced editions, then director’s cuts.

If the industry is going to persist with mid-generation console iterations – and it would certainly appear that business model isn’t going anywhere – then introducing a standard nomenclature through which consumers can quickly and easily assess their options and understand the differences is important. Even better, it’s common sense. Sometimes it is better to side with the consumers, than it is to be different for the sake of it.

Project Scorpio will work with all existing Xbox One games and peripherals. It will scale games conditioned for the Scorpio, like Halo 5: Guardians, to better resolutions while maintaining great framerates. It will maximise the latest evolution in TVs, and ensure developers aren’t bottlenecked by the hardware when creating experiences in virtual reality and (presumably) for the HoloLens. But it’s still an Xbox One – it’s just a turbocharged Xbox One.

The PlayStation 4 Pro is still a PlayStation 4, it’s just a turbocharged one. Sony got out to market first, and Xbox should cop that on the chin, do what is right by the consumers and the marketplace at large, and name the Project Scorpio accordingly. There will be no confusion around an Xbox One Pro – everyone will know exactly what is it and what it does, without even having to look up “teraflop”.

After all, you know almost every review of the Project Scorpio will start with “It’s like the PlayStation 4 Pro, only for Xbox One” anyway.

For more, read our 13 top talking points for gaming in 2017.

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