Xbox Scorpio was first revealed to the world at E3 2016, shown off by Microsoft as the company attempted to gain a foothold in the modern race for native 4K gaming. The reveal happened before the release of Sony's PlayStation 4 Pro, a machine which provides a combination of native and upscaled 4K gaming. In this article we’ll have a look at what Xbox Scorpio is set to deliver to the gaming world and speculate (perhaps wildly) about the successes it may or may not have. We'll also regularly update this page to make sure it's up to date with the latest information on Xbox Scorpio, including Xbox Scorpio release date and Xbox Scorpio Price.
Update: Phil Spencer and Cliff Bleszinski Comment on Xbox Scorpio
As E3 2017 approaches we're starting to get more and more murmurs out of games execs. The latest come from Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer and Gears of War creator Cliff Bleszinski.
Spencer took to Twitter to talk to Xbox fans, replying to a question about if games like Destiny 2 and CoD will look better on Scorpio. He replied to say he's "very confident," and that he's "hearing, Scorpio will be the very best console version of games this year".
@XtremeGaming22 I'm very confident, from what we are seeing and hearing, Scorpio will be the very best console version of games this year..— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) May 23, 2017
Given the power gap between the Xbox Scorpio and the PS4 Pro, this isn't really unexpected, but it remains to be seen if the average consumer will be able to notice any significant differences. Gamers also have to think about which platform will offer the most complete version of a game, with Sony locking down exclusive content for Destiny 2 and timed exclusive content for CoD WW2.
He also teased the Xbox E3 2017 conference, confirming that he'd run through the entire presentation and that is should be "a great day".
First end to end run through of our E3 show today on our full rehearsal stage. Room is full, should be a great day.— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) May 23, 2017
Gears of War creator Cliff Bleszinski, now working on multiplayer FPS Lawbreakers at his studio Boss Key Productions, briefly mentioned Xbox Scorpio during a Reddit AMA.
"MS is getting their sh** together. They're putting it in a backpack or in a shit museum and getting it alllll together," Bleszinski said. "Scorpio is promising. MS bet on Kinect too hard last round. Don't rule out an Xbox version [of LawBreakers], btw."
Who knows? Maybe we'll see Lawbreakers revealed for Xbox One and Xbox Scorpio during E3.
Xbox Scorpio Release Date and Price are Hugely Important to the Console's Success
At the time of the reveal at E3 2016, Microsoft stated that the Xbox Scorpio release date was Holiday 2017. Since we haven't heard any further information from Microsoft since this announcement to contradict this initial release window, we will continue to assume that Scorpio will be released near the end of 2017.
There has been some speculation that Xbox Scorpio will release at the end of the summer, but this would be a huge surprise given that the console won't get its full reveal until E3 in June. At E3 2017 we expect to get the official release date announcement where the safe money is on a release around November 2017. If Microsoft wants to (and is in a position to do so) surprise everyone it could launch earlier, perhaps in time to capitalize on the release of Destiny 2 in September.
Microsoft is yet to reveal the Xbox Scorpio price, but it has made hints that suggest it might be on the high end of console pricing. Despite this, Phil Spencer has stated that he very much sees the Scorpio as "aiming for a console price point" when speaking to AusGamers, and that the Scorpio won't aim to compete with higher-end PC models in terms of raw computing power.
In their visit to Microsoft's Redmond campus to see the Xbox Scorpio running, Digital Foundry offered an educated guess that, due to the nature of the technology involved in bringing the Scorpio together to run games at native 4K, a price point of $499 might be likely. In an ideal world that price would see the console come with a fancy Elite Controller, with the standard version of the console releasing at $450, but it all depends on the impact Microsoft intends the Xbox Scorpio to make. Again, we expect Xbox Scorpio to get an official price announcement at E3 in June.
Xbox Scorpio Spec Makes it the Most Powerful Console of all Time
In an article published on April 6 Digital Foundry had the full scoop on the tech specs of the upcoming Xbox Scorpio console, obtained during a visit to Microsoft's headquarters in Redmond.
Xbox Scorpio Final Spec:
- CPU has eight custom x86 cores clocked at 2.3GHz
- GPU has 40 customised compute units clocked at 1172GHz
- A total of 12GB of GGDR5 RAM
- 1TB 2.5 inch hard drive as standard (50 percent faster than the Xbox One)
In a report by Windows Central we were given a glimpse at how Xbox One games will look running on Xbox Scorpio. The article shows the differences between Xbox One games running at 1080p and the same game running in 4K (or downsampled from 4K to 1080p). The tech demo also highlighted the kind of visual changes we might see thanks to the extra power available to developers. A shot showing a rendered ladybug demonstrated better textures and additional geometry.
While most new consoles on the market take the crown for being the ‘most powerful’, it’s significant for Microsoft as it’s been playing second fiddle to Sony’s PS4 for some time. The Xbox brand has suffered in recent years for a number of reasons, but the Xbox One being substantially weaker than the PS4 in terms of processing power has been a major factor.
Xbox Scorpio vs PlayStation 4 Pro - The Battle is About to Begin
Xbox Scorpio is said to pack in 6 teraflops of computing power compared to the PS4 Pro's 4.2 Teraflops.
PS4 Pro comes with a standard Blu-ray drive, meaning it can't play Ultra HD Blu-ray movies. Since the Xbox One S comes with an Ultra HD Blu-ray drive as standard, it's expected that the Xbox Scorpio will also feature the more modern drive needed to play 4K Blu-rays. While the adoption of 4K Blu-rays hasn’t been rapid, with standard Blu-ray being by far the market leader for HD content, the Scorpio’s ability to play these discs will be a plus point in its battle against PS4 Pro.
The exclusive deep dive from Digital Foundry on the tech specs of the Xbox Scorpio doesn’t give us much more of an insight into how the Scorpio will compete with the PS4 Pro in the games we’ll be playing later this year and beyond, but we do know that like the PS4 Pro, the Scorpio will be able to make use checkerboarding. This will be used to boost the resolution of games that fall beneath 900p on Xbox One. Xbox One games that currently render at 1080p should be able to be converted to run at native 4k without too much trouble - demonstrated by Microsoft showing Digital Foundry Forza 6 running on Scorpio at 4K.
It remains to be seen how much of a difference there will be between third-party games running on PS4 Pro and Xbox Scorpio. While Scorpio offers more brute power, a PS4 Pro game running at checkerboard 4K will likely look very similar to an Xbox Scorpio game running at native 4K. It’s possible that developers will choose to render their games using the checkerboard technique in order to reach the 4K output, then use the spare processing power to add more visual effects - we’ll just have to wait and see how each dev chooses to use the console’s power.
Xbox Scorpio Games are Just as Important as the Hardware, if not More so
Although the Xbox Scorpio is many times more powerful than the current Xbox One, Head of Xbox Phil Spencer has stated that the Scorpio will have no exclusive games, meaning that any games that are made with the Scorpio in mind must also be made for the inferior computing power of the Xbox One.
In addition to this, the Xbox Scorpio will be fully backwards compatible with the Xbox 360, meaning that any current and future titles that Microsoft incorporate into the backwards compatibility scheme will be added to the library of games featured on the Xbox Scorpio.
In the months following the initial reveal of the Xbox Scorpio, Microsoft announced that the Scorpio would be sharing a user interface with the current Xbox One, meaning apps, Cortana, and background music will all be arriving on the new console when it eventually launches.
We won't see existing Xbox One games running at capped 30 frames per second jumping to 60 frames on the Scorpio, but we will see a greater number of games stabilising in their frame rates at their limit without drops. Digital Foundry also revealed that the Scorpio will use dynamic resolution scaling on existing Xbox One titles, meaning that games will hit their target of 1080p without dropping res (as seen in titles such as Halo 5 and The Wticher 3). Loading times will also be cut, thanks to a faster hard drive in Scorpio.
A key part of Microsoft’s E3 presentation for Xbox Scorpio will be games. While the company has done well to build hype for the console through tech specs, when it comes down to it the success of the console will rest on the games available for it. Although all games will also run on Xbox One and One S, a groupe of ‘launch titles’ for that have been built to show off what is possible on the new console would be a great idea. Sony has been able to consistently show off exclusive games with better visuals than what has been available for Xbox One, so a reverse of this would do the Xbox Scorpio wonders. Given this year the PS4 and PS4 Pro got the stunning Horizon Zero Dawn, this task for Microsoft is easier said than done.
Xbox Scorpio Virtual Reality
All mention of virtual reality was recently removed entirely from the official Project Scorpio website, although Microsoft did state in a recent interview with GameSpot that the possibility or virtual reality is still very much on the roadmap for the console. VR isn’t quite the hot topic it was 12 months ago, but confirmation of support of an existing headset would be well received, should such an announcement be made at E3 in June.
Be sure to keep checking back on this page, as we'll keep updating it with any new, relevant bits of information to do with Microsoft's Project Scorpio.
This article may contain links to online retail stores. If you click on one and buy the product we may receive a small commission. For more information, go here.