The Xbox Project Scorpio is set to shake up gaming later this year, with a spec list that is simply the most powerful in the history of console gaming. The Microsoft machine is already being linked with some outstanding features, and will undoubtedly have a massive impact on the marketplace if it delivers what is being promised.
Undoubtedly the most eye-catching prospect of the Xbox Project Scorpio is that the console will deliver 6 tflops of computing power, if early rumors are to be believed. This would hand the console a 1.8 tflop advantage over Sony’s PS4 Pro, and would even put the Project Scorpio on par with some gaming PCs.
While this is exciting news for fans of the Xbox range, it must also be taken with a liberal sprinkling of salt. To deliver a gaming console with such power will be a serious undertaking, not merely in practical terms but also with regard to delivering an affordable price point.
Thus, there is already speculation regarding what the Xbox Project Scorpio will cost when it is released, and there has been a relatively broad scale of opinions on the subject. The estimated price in the United States has ranged from $399 to $550, but surely Microsoft will need to deliver a console at the lower end of that price range in order to be competitive.
The PS4 Pro will have a one-year head start over the Microsoft machine, and is already retailing at $399. Sony will then have the option of aggressively reducing the price of the PS4 Pro when the Xbox Project Scorpio hits the market, meaning that there will be an even greater pressure on the Microsoft strategy.
Microsoft has pretty much already confirmed the release date for the Xbox Project Scorpio, with Xbox head Phil Spencer having commented on the matter. The executive states that it that it will arrive before Christmas this year, explaining that the company felt it was essential to keep gamers in the loop with regard to this machine.
“It’s crazy to announce something this early, but when I put myself in the shoes of our customer, I want to be able to make a choice on what console I want to buy with as much information as possible. We want to give you the information to make that decision. We also want to go talk to the developers that are out there today, that are building games for next holiday, and say here’s what you’re going to have at your disposal on the console side,” Spencer commented
However, it is not certain that the console will be unveiled at E3 in June, with Spencer having stated that although he is aware that fans would love to get a glimpse of the Xbox Project Scorpio at E3, it cannot be guaranteed at this juncture.
Features and specs
Aside from the 6 Tflop figure, it is also known that AMD chips will be powering the Scorpio. AMD has already commented on the relationship with Microsoft, and the ability of its technology to deliver HDR, 4K and high fidelity VR.
Sony undoubtedly has a big advantage in the virtual reality niche, having released its own PlayStation VR system last year. This could provide the Japanese corporation with over a year’s head start on Microsoft, depending on the release date of the Project Scorpio.
Furthermore, it is generally believed that Microsoft will not develop a proprietary virtual reality system for the Scorpio. The aforementioned Spencer has made reference to such systems as the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, and it is far more likely that there will be some sort of compatibility tie-in with such technology. Nothing is confirmed at this stage, but considering the Windows-leaning nature of the contemporary Microsoft console, it wouldn’t be surprising if Oculus Rift was favoured.
While the PS4 Pro has the ability to deliver native 4K gaming, and has generally impressed thus far, the Xbox Project Scorpio should be able to step this up considerably. The Scorpio should deliver superior 4K gaming, with Microsoft claiming that the console will be able to render graphics at 60Hz. Whether this will be applicable to 4K resolution gaming remains to be seen, but clearly that is the aim of the machine.
Spencer has also claimed that the Scorpio will not suffer from any frame rate drops, with the Xbox excessive stating that “when a game runs at 60fps on Scorpio it’s going to run at maximum resolution the whole time”. This is an attractive concept, but once again it will be difficult for Microsoft to deliver this reality, and also manufacture an affordable unit.
Windows 10 Game Mode
Another interesting aspect of the Xbox Project Scorpio will be its strong ties with Windows 10, and the inclusion of a Game Mode to benefit gaming on the console. This has been constructed for usage with the Universal Windows Platform, and ensures that games made for the PC will be able to transition to the Xbox Project Scorpio with minimal effort.
Reports on the subject have suggest that 4K texturing utilized in PC versions of games will be able to be unpacked with relative ease on the Scorpio, meaning that the promises being made by the Microsoft hierarchy could indeed be delivered.
Finally, it is likely that Microsoft has learned from its mistakes with the Xbox One, and will deliver a console with disc-based options. The Xbox Project Scorpio will also include 4K Blu-ray, setting the machine apart from the Sony PS4 Pro. It is possible that Microsoft could consider releasing a model of the Scorpio without a disc drive, though, as consume choice becomes ever more important in consumer electronics.
Regardless of this, streaming will also be an important part of the Scorpio armory, with a particular emphasis on the likes of Netflix. In truth, 4K Blu-ray is set to be a pretty marginal market, as consumers move towards digital copies of media.