03/4/2017 | Category: Technology

Xbox Project Scorpio: The Scoop on Microsoft’s Killer 4K Console

With Project Scorpio, Xbox is evolving in a big way. Due out holiday 2017, this impressive new take on Microsoft’s console promises high-end components that can power the types of 4K gaming and virtual reality experiences that you’d typically need a tricked-out PC for. The arrival of a new console so early into the Xbox One’s life cycle may seem confusing or alarming, but fret not — we’re here to break down everything you need to know about what Microsoft is calling “the most powerful console ever.”

What is Project Scorpio?

Project Scorpio

Project Scorpio is a robust new Xbox console slated to launch late in 2017 for an undisclosed price. It’ll probably have a cooler name when it releases, like Xbox Two (just kidding). According to Microsoft, Scorpio will work with all of your existing Xbox One games and accessories, but will also allow for cool new stuff like 4K and VR gaming.

Latest Rumors: April Reveal and E3 Game Lineup

While Microsoft is expected to highlight Project Scorpio at E3 2017 in June, Windows Central reports that a “major gaming outlet” will officially unveil the console as soon as this week (April 3). Microsoft is expected to utilize the upcoming Forza Motorsport 7 to show off Scorpio’s power, which makes sense — Forza games have always been graphical showpieces for Microsoft consoles, and we’ve already seen how good the series can look in 4K with Forza Horizon 3 for PC.

Rockstar's Red Dead Redemption 2
Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption 2

Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption 2

Microsoft is also rumored to show off such titles as Read Dead Redemption 2, Crackdown 3, State of Decay 2, and Star Wars Battlefront 2, all running in 4K on the new console. It remains to be seen whether we’ll have to wait until E3 for this lineup, or if we’ll see the games sooner.

What’s inside of Project Scorpio?

Scorpio boasts some pretty beastly specs, including 6 teraflops of graphics power, 8 CPU cores, and a memory bandwidth of 320GB per second. If that all sounds like a second language to you, just know that all of these components are designed to work together to provide true 4K gaming and high-fidelity virtual reality experiences.

Digital Foundry‘s recent analysis of a Project Scorpio whitepaper from Microsoft’s developer portal seems to match these specs, and also notes that the console will ditch the ESRAM technology that powers the Xbox One and Xbox One S. This will apparently allow for more total RAM for Project Scorpio.

You can probably say goodbye to annoying power bricks — according to Windows Central, Project Scorpio will have an internal power supply like that of the Xbox One S. The system is also expected to support 4K video capture, providing an easy way for Xbox fans to make slick 4K gameplay videos without any external hardware.

According to a massive breakdown from the folks at Digital Foundry, it appears that only some Scorpio games will run at true, native 4K, while others will be upscaled from 1080p, as is the case with some games on Sony’s 4K-ready PS4 Pro. Still, the report says that it’s too early to make a final call on specs, and that Project Scorpio will still be a “highly capable 4K contender.”

Will Scorpio support virtual reality headsets?

While Scorpio is clearly designed to handle high-end VR, Microsoft hasn’t confirmed compatibility with any existing headsets such as the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive. While the Scorpio website no longer mentions VR specifically, Microsoft recently confirmed with GameSpot that virtual reality is still on the console’s roadmap.