Seemingly overnight, the video game industry has entered a new and unprecedented era. Yes, console redesigns have become commonplace in the modern gaming world, but iterative mid-generation upgrades will take some getting used to for most console gamers. Last November, Sony took its first crack at 4K gaming with the PlayStation 4 Pro, and now it appears as though it will be Microsoft’s turn as they recently unveiled the hardware specs of their upcoming premium console, codenamed Project Scorpio.
Project Scorpio will sit alongside the Xbox One and the Xbox One S as Microsoft’s family of current generation home gaming consoles. As previously alluded to, this is largely uncharted territory for consumers and the industry at large, so some of the more minute details may be a bit confusing for those who are not following along on a nearly daily basis at this point. Luckily, we have constructed this list, a one stop shop for everything you need to know about Project Scorpio. That’s right, all of the major news, rumors, and leaks concerning this new console can be found just below.
Here is Every Update You Need to Know about Project Scorpio.
15. Native 4K Gaming
To call Project Scorpio technically impressive might be doing this gaming marvel a disservice. Even Microsoft’s haters (and there are more than a few out there) have to admit that the console’s specs could provide developers and consumers with intriguing gaming possibilities in the years to come. Sure, some of the technical jargon being thrown around lately – all of those teraflops, for example – can be a bit overwhelming for more casual audiences, but Microsoft’s assertion that Project Scorpio will be the most powerful gaming console to date is still enough to garner attention from some of those gamers who may have forgotten about Xbox in more recent years.
Since last year’s E3 announcement trailer, Microsoft’s marketing hook for Project Scorpio has been native 4K gaming. As 4K television sets become more affordable by the day, the world is finally taking major steps into the next generation of viewing technology; more and more media is being offered in the new standard resolution, and the gaming industry is right there, ready to ride this exciting new wave. Many industry insiders did not previously believe that native 4K gaming was possible (at least not affordably) for home gaming consoles in 2017, but Microsoft’s engineers have proven that they are masters at doing more with less. That being said, their less is still significantly more than their respective competition at the moment. With custom Jaguar cores, 12GB of GDDR5 memory, memory bandwidth of up to 326GB/s, and, of course, those aforementioned 6 teraflops of graphical performance, this hardware is certainly a powerhouse in its own right.
14. The Most Powerful Console Ever
As just previously mentioned, Microsoft’s engineers have successfully squeezed every last drop of performance from the Scorpio’s chipset in order to deliver gaming titles in true 4K resolution. And while the use of power within Project Scorpio is impressively economical, it should also be noted that the console’s specs will lead its competition in virtually every major category when it finally hits store shelves later this year.
Thanks to Digital Foundry‘s wealth of recently shared technical information concerning this upcoming piece of hardware, we can confirm that Microsoft has, in fact, successfully manufactured the world’s most powerful home gaming console. And before the internet could take a collective breath, comparisons between Project Scorpio and its formidable rival, the PlayStation 4 Pro, went viral.
To date, the sales of the Xbox One and its mid-generation upgrade, the Xbox One S, have sold anywhere in the ballpark from respectable to admirable depending on who you ask. It may be hard to arrive at that conclusion, however, if you are comparing numbers to the astronomical sales figures of the PlayStation 4 base, slim, and pro-models respectively. So while Scorpio’s lead in the categories of CPU, GPU, memory, and bandwidth might appear to be a major victory, the console will enter the market at a significant disadvantage in terms of units sold – a deficit that Microsoft hopes to erase with its upcoming luxury console.
13. More Than Just 4K
Okay, so native 4K gaming looks and sounds impressive, but for the millions of potential consumers that have yet to purchase a 4K-capable television, this fact alone may not necessarily be a compelling argument. Fortunately, even gamers with last-gen monitors may still find a reason or two to purchase the Scorpio, aside from future proofing their living rooms that is.
Microsoft has built its latest console to suit the current landscape of games rather than having publishers design their titles around the gaming hardware itself. Now, this may sound like an arbitrary distinction, but it is actually significant. Microsoft’s decision to retool its current iteration of gaming hardware, rather than designing a brand new box from the ground up, has granted them the ability to improve past titles we already know and love. Sure, future games will look and play even better on Project Scorpio but so will fan-favorite titles such as Halo 5, Forza Motorsport 6, and the recently released Mass Effect: Andromeda. Older titles at lower resolutions will be bumped to 1080p, framerates will be improved, and look for load times to significantly decrease in the future as well.
12. Family of Consoles
It is important to note that Project Scorpio is not ushering in a whole new generation of console gaming, but rather serving as a mid-cycle upgrade, albeit somewhat of an unprecedented refresh at that. Microsoft would rather consumers look at the Scorpio as an addition to an already established family of consoles rather than the Xbox Two, Four, 720, 1080, or some other numerical moniker. No, this new console should more simply be thought of as the luxury edition of the Xbox One lineup, not unlike how the PlayStation 4 Pro serves as the premium system in Sony’s current generation of gaming hardware.
Coming only four years after the release of the Xbox One, Microsoft does not wish for any of its customers to feel slighted due to Project Scorpio; the tech giant simply wishes to offer the consumer more options and help bridge the gap between console and PC gaming. At this point, it is difficult to say whether or not these types of mid-generation hardware upgrades will become commonplace in the coming years, but with the landscape of technology rapidly changing, the gaming industry feels the need to evolve alongside it.
Few, if any, purchase a console based solely on how the unit looks, but let’s face it, the Xbox One base model is a bit obtrusive, visually speaking. While the system’s controllers are arguably the best in the market in terms of aesthetic and ergonomic design, the console itself has been criticized for being bulky and rather unattractive. Still, despite this minor flaw, it has served as a fantastic platform to play both Xbox exclusives as well as third party titles. Not to mention, the hardware’s mid-generation redesign, the Xbox One S, has been widely hailed by fans and critics alike as a sleek and sexy piece of hardware.
Xbox head Phil Spencer has fielded numerous Scorpio-related questions in the past months, but he has specifically gone out of his way to praise the design of the premium console. Interestingly enough, Digital Foundry‘s recent spec reveal gave no insight into the look of Project Scorpio as this is likely a detail saved for a future press conference, such as E3 perhaps. Additionally, Spencer has gone on record stating that the Scorpio will bear a family resemblance to the other current generation Microsoft consoles – most notably, the Xbox One S.
10. Holiday 2017 Release Date
Virtually every gaming YouTube channel and blog across the internet has some sort of prediction as to the precise release date of Project Scorpio, but the truth is, at this moment, no one outside of Microsoft really knows when it will launch. We do, however, know the season, and that is quarter four of 2017 – more commonly referred to as the holiday shopping season. Historically speaking, a November release date makes seems likely, but again, this is still speculation at this point. Conventional wisdom points to Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2017 as the period of time (mid-June) in which we will discover the exact release date for the console, but it is still possible that Microsoft will opt for a Scorpio-specific press conference and focus strictly on games at the industry’s biggest trade show.
Coming nearly a year after its aforementioned rival, the PlayStation 4 Pro, Project Scorpio has a lot of ground to make up for Microsoft and company. However, beating Sony is not necessarily the end all be all. Sure, Microsoft would love to command the market and leave their respective competition in the dust, but Xbox boss Phil Spencer has been adamant about creating a healthy and vibrant ecosystem for the console’s millions of players both online as well as off. Still, competition is still a relevant discussion in the industry as online play continues to grow and grow. Simply put, gamers want to play games with their friends online, and if all of their friends are aligned with a certain console, that is where they will likely want to play.
Price is yet another big question mark for Microsoft’s touted Project Scorpio. However, while we at least know the season in which the Scorpio will be released, no ballpark in terms of price has yet to be offered by the tech giant. Phil Spencer has been quoted, asserting that consumers should expect a “premium” price point, and while that may sound a bit vague (and it is), it does tell us that Scorpio will be more expensive than both the Xbox One S as well as the original iteration of the Xbox One. Sure, this is a fairly basic observation, but it does offer speculators a starting point.
Again, Sony gives us a good idea of how a more diverse ecosystem like this could work. PlayStation 4, as well as its slim redesign, are priced lower than Sony’s premium model. And since Project Scorpio is more technically impressive than its competitor, it is generally believed that Xbox’s next endeavor might be even more expensive than the PlayStation 4 Pro which currently has an MSRP or $399.99.
8. 4K Blu-ray Disc Drive
When the Xbox One S launched in late summer 2016, it somewhat quietly served as one of the most affordable 4K Blu-ray players on the market (and still does today). So, when the PlayStation 4 Pro – previously referred to by fans and gaming news outlets as the PlayStation 4K before its announcement press conference – arrived months later, fans and insiders were baffled to learn that it would not feature a 4K Blu-ray disc drive. Ultra-high definition (UHD) streaming via Netflix and other online services were (and continue to be) supported by the Pro, but 4K discs have been inexplicably ignored by PlayStation, which has generally been seen as one of the more technically progressive platforms over the years.
The inclusion of a 4K Blu-ray disc drive within the Scorpio is certainly an obvious move that has almost become an afterthought, but after the fan and media uproar that surrounding the 4K Blu-ray disc drive omission on the PlayStation 4 Pro, it is a notable addition for Microsoft and Project Scorpio that has not gone unnoticed by the community.
7. VR Ready
Virtual Reality (VR) has been a buzzword in gaming for a couple years now. Originally touted as the next big thing, VR has since fizzled out a bit in terms of public perception. Yes, PlayStation VR has been hitting its sales projections – albeit, relatively low projections – but still, the technology has failed to remain planted firmly within the public consciousness as of late. VR is certainly not dead by any stretch of the imagination, but it is perhaps in desperate need of a killer app or title that will draw in the average consumer. Fallout VR anyone?
Microsoft and Oculus have been linked for some time now as the Xbox One controller comes bundled with the Rift headset. This, in part, has led to many industry insiders predicting that Project Scorpio will be Oculus Rift compatible and potentially exclusive, marking the beginning of a more serious relationship between the two tech companies. Whether or not Microsoft and Oculus will be going steady by homecoming next year remains to be seen, but either way, it has been confirmed that the Scorpio will indeed be VR ready.
6. 3rd Party Developers on Board
One of the major concerns moving forward is that developers might not want to create titles for a base model console as well as a premium powerhouse. This is an issue that PC game creators have been dealing with for years, but it is uncharted territory for home console gamers. That said, if last year’s E3 announcement trailer is any indication, it would appear as though third party developers are actually excited about Project Scorpio.
Bethesda Game Studios director and executive Todd Howard is seen as somewhat of a consumer’s champion within the gaming industry, so needless to say, it was a major coup getting the personality to speak in favor of the new console. In fact, Howard proclaimed excitement about the idea of having a console powerful enough to run a game like Fallout 4 – one of 2015’s best reviewed and highest grossing games – in full VR. Yeah, we are pretty excited about that too, Todd.
5. Impressive Forza Demo
You can almost set your watch by it. Every two years since 2005, like clockwork, a brand new Forza Motorsport game has arrived on store shelves. Therefore, we can conclude that Forza Motorsport 7 will likely release this fall. Interestingly enough, however, it was a port of Forza 6 that Digital Foundry witnessed in full display when they were invited to the first technical unveiling of Project Scorpio. The Forza franchise is famous for its realistic gameplay, but it is equally (if not more so) regarded as one of the most consistently attractive game series in the modern era.
As aesthetically stunning as the series has been since its inception across various platforms, Microsoft used the most recent Forza title as an example of how Scorpio will improve upon the graphical fidelity of both previous and future games. Rather ingeniously, Microsoft not only illustrated what this new hardware will do for the future of gaming but also, the tech giant explains how Project Scorpio will improve gamers’ already established library of games.
4. No Scorpio Exclusives
Again, another concern for consumers concerning this unprecedented era in gaming is that Microsoft and game developers will soon forget about the base Xbox One model altogether. Fortunately, Microsoft has been adamant about the fact that there will absolutely no Scorpio exclusive titles. Every game that is playable on the Scorpio will also be playable on both the Xbox One S as well as the original model and vice versa.
As previously discussed, Project Scorpio will fit together with the other current generation Xbox consoles, existing alongside these other consoles as a family of sorts. Scorpio will serve as the luxury or premium version of the Xbox One, but it will not usher in a brand new console generation. Now, this may sound like insincere PR chatter that gamers have heard before, but it should be noted that Sony has maintained the same stance with the PlayStation 4 Pro and has so far stood by that very promise.
3. Backwards Compatible
Microsoft may never phrase it this way, but it seems as though whatever the Xbox One can do, Project Scorpio can do better – and apparently, that includes the console’s ever-growing list of backward compatible titles. Smoother textures and an overall, improved graphical fidelity is something that gamers can look forward to, even from Xbox 360 titles.
Microsoft has amassed a rather impressive catalog of games, both previous and current-gen, so it would be a shame, and a bit of a head scratcher, if all of these titles were not available on the company’s luxury console. But not only is Project Scorpio backward compatible like its other respective family members, but the games will simply perform better on the improved hardware. Backward compatibility may not be a system seller per say, but it is certainly a coup within the gaming community. Not only is classic 360 titles a plus for nostalgic Xbox fans, but it also serves as a good opportunity to play some of those classic titles – Portal: Still Alive, The Witcher 2, and Fallout 3 for example – that you may have missed out on.
2. No More News Until E3?
This is certainly not a confirmation by any stretch, but certain comments coming out of the full spec reveal of Project Scorpio leads us and many others to believe that this is the last we will hear about the upcoming console until mid-June when Microsoft gives their E3 press conference. And with each passing day, an E3 reveal seems more and more likely.
When Microsoft finally does decide to detail this highly anticipated piece of gaming hardware, look for them to likely share price and release date along with a slew of new titles. Question marks surrounding the price point of this premium console have only heightened since the technical reveal, and the longer they wait to divulge this information, the more it appears they are trying to hide it from consumers. We would also expect that Phil Spencer will finally get the opportunity to show off this sexy piece of hardware at their full reveal conference as well. As excited as the Xbox boss sounds about it, it is only a matter of time before the company shares this design with the rest of the gaming world.
1. Future Titles
Sure, Project Scorpio will be the most powerful console of all time, and as impressive as that may sound, that fact alone will not Microsoft to the top of the sales charts. Since the ’90s, it has been proven time and time again that power alone does not a console war win. Yes, it is important to have comparable specs, but often times, it is the more innovative, or the better-branded hardware that sells the most units.
The Nintendo Wii was the clear cut winner (in terms of sales) of its generation, but it was easily the weakest in terms of specs. The two generations before that were won by the original PlayStation and PS2 respectively, neither of which were the most technically brilliant of their era. So, as you can see, Project Scorpio likely has to prove that it is much more than a powerhouse in order to move as many units as it would surely like to; frankly speaking, it will have to show off some exciting new games.
The known list of upcoming Xbox exclusives is pretty sparse at this moment, but that could all change in one E3 press conference. Fans of the console are hoping that the company is holding their cards close to the chest, and it is certainly likely that we will be treated to a handful of surprises this June. As exciting as Crackdown 3, Cuphead, Sea of Thieves, and State of Decay 2 are, for a number of gamers, none of these are the console selling franchises that Microsoft perhaps needs right now. In order to climb back into the sales lead, this generation (if that is even possible), Xbox will likely have to show up with a major IP as well as prove why the Scorpio is the best place to play third party titles.
Are you excited to get your hands on Microsoft’s brand new premium console? Make sure to let us know why, or why not in the comments section.
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