Microsoft has shaken up the video games world by announcing not one, but two new video games consoles. The Xbox Project Scorpio is expected to be a massively powerful sequel to the existing Xbox One next year, while the Xbox One S is a slimmer and slightly souped up performer. What all fans of Microsoft gaming will want to know is…is it worth their while upgrading from the existing Xbox One?
The first thing to note about the two new machines is that there will be a significant gap in the calendar between their release dates. The Xbox One S is tipped for an August release, with the console already listed on the world’s largest retailer Amazon’s website. The precise release date for the Xbox Project Scorpio is not known at present, but Microsoft has indicated that it is likely to be towards the end of 2017. So those wishing to get their hands on this powerful new Microsoft console have to wait around 18 months.
Xbox Project Scorpio vs Xbox One S vs Xbox One – Pricing
The pricing for the Xbox One S is already in the public domain, and thus it is known that consumers can pick up the most affordable version of the console for $299.99. Those wanting the full storage quantity of 2TB will need to pay an extra $100, but it is clear that Microsoft is launching this new console at a competitive price point.
This is only marginally more expensive than the standard Xbox One, although the existing console does tend to be bundled with a free game. At the time of writing it is not clear whether Microsoft will offer such a deal with the Xbox One S, nor whether it will consider reducing the price point of the Xbox One in the meantime.
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It is far too early for the price of the Xbox Project Scorpio to be known, but it is reasonable to assume that it will retail at a similar price tag to the existing Xbox One. However, considering the outstanding specs being linked with this next generation console, it will surely be impossible to deliver it at exactly the same price point as the bargain basement machine. One can perhaps expect to pay a premium in the region of $100, although this certainly hasn’t been confirmed by Microsoft as of yet.
Comparing the Xbox Project Scorpio with either of the other consoles requires a degree of speculation, as the specs for this machine remain secret. Indeed, despite media speculation on the matter, Microsoft may not even have settled these specifications internally. But what can be said is that the Xbox Project Scorpio will be a massive improvement over the existing Xbox One, not least because if it is not then it would render the project completely pointless.
The Xbox Project Scorpio has been linked with 6 teraflops of processing, which would make the device approximately 450 percent more powerful than its Xbox One forerunner. It is easy to be a little sceptical about this figure, as this would mean that the Xbox Project Scorpio would be over 150 percent more powerful than the PlayStation Neo, and even as powerful as some PC desktops. How Microsoft could hope to manufacture this console and price it competitively is certainly open to debate, but this could help to explain the 2017 release date of the machine.
This extra power is mooted to enable the Xbox Project Scorpio to deliver true 4K gaming. At the very least, it will mean that the console can run 1080p 60fps games without any difficulty, and indeed this frame rate should be possible at higher resolutions than this. Other features linked with the Xbox Project Scorpio include a greater emphasis on streaming.
Those wanting the most state of the art Xbox gaming experience will unquestionably opt for the Xbox Project Scorpio in 2017, but there are downsides to doing so, most notably the weight of 18 months, the potential price of the console, and question marks over whether or not it will be a commercial success.
Current gen face-off
In terms of the machines that will be available in 2016, there are quite a few differences between the two consoles. Firstly, it is already known that the Xbox One S is 40 percent smaller than the original Xbox One, and the machine now also features a built-in power supply. This is undoubtedly a massive plus point for the new machine.
The Xbox One S supports 4K video playback from streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon, while it also has a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray incorporated. Xbox fans who have a 4K TV would thus be recommended to switch to the new console, although plenty of people are content with 1080p resolution.
However, although the Xbox One S will not have the power to support 4K gaming, the slight boost in processing which it is rumored to embrace should mean that 1080p titles are now ubiquitous on the system. But the consoles will have the capability to upscale games to 4K resolution, meaning that Xbox games will never have looked better than on the new Xbox One S system.
It has been suggested that the HDMI version in the Microsoft Xbox One S will be updated to 2.0 from the 1.4 provision provided in the original Xbox One console. This would enable color rendering to be improved, with users upgrading to the new console benefiting from more natural colors, deeper blacks, and brighter whites from an HDR image. Whether this is reason enough in itself to upgrade is debatable, but it is a useful string to the bow of the Xbox One S nonetheless.
According to Coalition, the developer behind Gears of War 4, additional GPU and CPU power included in the Xbox One S has enabled the team to run the game in full 1080p. While the increase in processing in the Xbox One S is expected to be rather mild, it will still mean slicker, smoother and sometimes more detailed versions of Xbox One titles. Considering the rather small price difference between the two consoles, this will probably attract many upgraders.
Microsoft has removed the dedicated Kinect support in the Xbox One S, which is hardly a surprise considering making this an omnipresent part of the original Xbox One was something of a design blunder.
It is now possible to store the Xbox One S console upright via a new stand which costs $20. Microsoft has also included an IR blaster meaning that the Xbox One S console can be utilized to turn on other devices such as television sets and cable boxes. And the new controller included with the console introduces Bluetooth to the Microsoft range. It also encompasses a new textured grip, exchangeable colour covers and an extended play range.
The Xbox Project Scorpio could be the biggest news in console gaming for many years if Microsoft is able to deliver the mooted specifications. Many gamers will be licking their lips ahead of this release, but the fact that it is not coming for 18 months may mean that many Microsoft gamers choose to upgrade now. The Xbox One does have several significant improvements over the existing Xbox One console, and this does make it a valid upgrading option considering the relatively small price gap between the two machines.