The future state of consoles has reached an interesting place. Video game technology has plateaued when compared to the leaps and bounds of the last few decades. Instead of large generation advances every five years, we’re likely going to see incremental upgrades in half the time. Exhibit A is Sony’s PlayStation 4 Pro. Exhibit B is Microsoft’s upcoming “Project Scorpio.”
In an unprecedented reveal, Eurogamer’s Digital Foundry was invited to Microsoft’s Xbox headquarters in Redmond to show off their upcoming Xbox upgrade, still codenamed Project Scorpio. The upgraded Xbox One console isn’t expected to launch until later this year. But Microsoft was more than happy to share the full specs of this powerful 4K capable machine.
“The goal was that any 900p or better title would be able to easily run at frame-rate at 4K on Scorpio,” said Kevin Gammill, Program Director of Xbox. “That was our big stake in the ground, and so with that we began our work speccing out what the Scorpio Engine is. It’s not a process of calling up AMD and saying I’ll take this part, this part and this part. A lot of really specific custom work went into this.”
If talk of GPU horsepower, shader engines and memory bandwith excites you, the full article on Eurogamer has an excellent breakdown. But we’re all asking the most important question: what about the games?
Microsoft is claiming that every Xbox One game that plays in 900p or 1080p should be able to run at the new 4K resolution. For a demo, Microsoft showed Forza Motorsport running at 4K at 60 frames per second, using only about 66% of the the GPU’s power.
Kotaku reached out to Microsoft and received the following statement:
“All existing Xbox games (including Xbox One Backward Compatible titles) will run smoother, look better and load faster without requiring an update or any work from developers. All games running on Project Scorpio will achieve more consistent framerates, faster load times, improved anisotropic filtering, and will run at their peak resolution if the title implemented dynamic scaling. In addition, developers will also have the option to update existing titles to further take full advantage of Project Scorpio’s advanced capabilities including full 4K assets and 4K resolution.”
We should learn more about Project Scorpio, including name and price, in the coming months. E3 2017 could be a big win for Microsoft.