Today, something incredible in the world of video games happened. Microsoft unveiled its latest console via the good folks at Digital Foundry. The system boasts improved efficiency, more power and a gaming experience at native 4K.
Eurogamer posted a comprehensive piece on what is under the console’s hood (see image below) boasting a variety of improvements on its predecessor, the XBox One. Project Scorpio comes packed with some impressive hardware including 12GB DDR5 RAM, a memory bandwidth of 326GB/s, a GPU running at 1+K MHz and a revolutionary cooling system on console hardware. But what does all this mean, in simple terms?
Basically, in the very simplest of terms, it means that Scorpio will bring 4K gaming experiences to players. What this entails is not just Ultra-High Definition resolution but the assets used in the games themselves will be 4K. The world around you from weapons, cars, textured grasslands, tarmac and all, will be built from the ground up with 4K in mind. That is kind of cool when you think about it. And it doesn’t end there either. Current Xbox One games will be upscaled to 4K on Scorpio.
Next is memory. 8GB will be reserved for game developers to work with, while 4GB will be used for console specific functions. For the average person, that means that switching through apps as you use the system will be a much faster and smoother experience. A specific example here is streaming. You will be able to stream your content much faster… in 4K.
‘What about the CPU and GPU nonsense, Mexen?’ I hear you say. Well, 4K assets tend to be larger and render slowly, requiring great computing power. This extra clock-speed coupled with the available memory means a much more smoother experience during demanding sequences such as gun fights filled with multiple enemies or racing scenarios with lots of car collisions. The goal is to avoid dips in frame rates so that game-play is as seamless as possible.
I mentioned earlier that Xbox One games will be upscaled to 4K. There is more! Microsoft has considered both the Xbox One and Xbox 360 and designed Scorpio to work with their respective games. You can watch the video below to get the full gist. All in all, this is good news for Xbox fans, I imagine.
My initial reaction when I saw the videos and read the articles was one of awe in what Microsoft has done here. Granted, Project Scorpio is not significantly a powerhouse that blows all existing tech out of the water, but it does just enough to establish itself as the goto console for power enthusiasts. Don’t believe me? Hear it from the expert.
I especially am impressed by the lengths Microsoft has taken to design this system as progressive, forward-pushing console tech, while providing various forms of back and forwards compatibility. The engineering done here is excellent and the parts fitting together have been carefully designed and well crafted. This is a system I will be very much be interested in following to see its effect on the future of console gaming.
More details such as price and games (besides the demoed Forza) will be unveiled in future, and I will be giving my thoughts on the relevant pieces that come out. E3 2017 has the potential of seeing great things from Microsoft if they play their cards right. So far, I would say Project Scorpio is heading in a good direction.
Here’s to hoping that the system actually gets a good lineup of games to match. I will leave you with a quote from Leadbetter.
If we take Microsoft’s statements at face value, there’s no reason why all titles that run at 1080p on Xbox One shouldn’t run at native 4K – and the Forza Motorsport demo I saw presents some compelling evidence to support this.
Further reading – Rich Leadbetter’s Project Scorpio Analysis (must read).