At E3 last night, Microsoft wrapped up its Xbox conference with a quick introduction to Project Scorpio, an upgraded console that aims to offer native 4K gaming when it launches at the end of next year. However, there is only so much time in a press conference, so Phil Spencer has gone into a little more detail on what to expect from Scorpio and why it exists during interviews following the main event.
Speaking with Wired, Phil Spencer, head of Xbox explained that while “Microsoft may be speeding up the console cycle”, the company is also “making it okay to upgrade in your own time” by continuing to support the original Xbox One and introducing the Xbox One S for those who only need or want a slight upgrade this year with 4K Blu-Ray and HDR support.
Ultra-HD TVs are being adopted fairly quickly and Microsoft wants to jump on that by offering the first 4K-capable console: “When we started looking at Scorpio we asked the partners, ‘in order to build a true high-fidelity 4K game, what capabilities do you need?’ That’s what we designed Scorpio around. It’s kind of like a GTX 980 card on the PC. I get the capability that I need as a developer to deliver a high-fidelity 4K game.”
Native 4K support isn’t the only focus though, while Microsoft doesn’t have a Virtual Reality headset of its own, it does want to ensure that its next Xbox is capable of handling the resolution and frame rates required: “When we went out and talked to VR developers the capability and the hardware spec that they need to deliver a console-like experience to VR was a requirement of 6 teraflops, which clearly, today’s consoles—PlayStation 4 and Xbox One—don’t have. The truth is, a console that can run a 2-D version of Doom or Fallout today, which a PS4 and Xbox One can, is not going to be able to do a stereoscopic, high-framerate version of those games”.
Spencer went on to explain that he doesn’t want consoles to force VR developers into some sort of middle-ground, where they need to heavily compromise on the scope of their games to get them running.
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KitGuru Says: While console makers don’t typically come out with more powerful hardware so quickly, it is clear that things needed to speed up at least a bit to keep up with new technology. That said, Microsoft isn’t forcing this on anyone, if you are happy with the current level of performance then you can probably pick up an Xbox One fairly cheap right now and still play all future games, but if you want more and are willing to pay for it, then you now have that option.