With great power…
At E3 2016, Microsoft announced Project Scorpio. Very little details were given about the new console aside for the fact that it would be an evolution of the Xbox One and would be the most powerful console ever released.
Microsoft has been trailing behind Sony ever since the PS4 and Xbox One launched a week apart, but the Scorpio could help close this gap. This console generation has been heavily focused on the power of the boxes that play our games. The jump from Xbox 360 to Xbox One wasn’t nearly as large as the shift from SD to HD. The graphics did improve but everything was still in HD. It then became an issue of which box had the highest resolution, and the Xbox One was often the loser. It was only outputting at 900p while the PS4 was outputting at 1080p. Matters didn’t improve when Sony released the PlayStation 4 Pro. The more powerful box can output at 4K and was capable of utilizing HDR to increase image quality. If rumors are to be believed, the Scorpio has a lot more up its sleeve.
Microsoft has looked at using cloud computing in games like Crackdown 3 to render mass destruction so the console itself doesn’t have to. The Scorpio can either use its extra power to aid with the cloud computing or just take care of the processes itself. This means that Xbox exclusives will not only look better than any other console games, at least on the Scorpio, but they will also be capable of more because the system has the power to back up the scale. So not only will games get a visual boost, but they will be able to create broader adventures that can offer players more.
Another bullet point rattled off during E3 was that high definition VR would be coming to the beefier box. PlayStation has the PSVR but it’s the weakest of the virtual reality systems on the market. Xbox already has partnerships with Oculus, so if they are bringing VR to Xbox you’ll likely be looking at your games through a Rift. The system will be more powerful, which means it will be capable of powering an Oculus Rift and display its gorgeous graphics. This also means that more impressive virtual reality titles will make their way to Scorpio.
Virtual Reality looks like it really is going to be the next step in gaming and if Microsoft can deliver a higher quality experience, then it will have a leg up on the console market. Virtual reality needs a stable framerate in order to give players an enjoyable experience. The PSVR does this by lowering the resolution of graphics in titles ported to the headset. While the PS4 Pro improves the visual quality, it still can’t match the quality of VR experiences on PC. Scorpio will bridge this gap, bringing PC level visuals to consoles.
The Scorpio’s greatest advantage will be its power. This means more processing power and storage for games to take advantage of. Xbox games will be able to render massive, open world games with vast draw distances, little load times and frame rates smoother than butter. Games coming to the Scorpio will also be playable on original Xbox Ones, but Microsoft could still make certain titles appear much more impressive on the new box, as well as launch several exclusives for it to take full advantage of the new platform.
Microsoft has been lagging behind Sony for years, and with power being their major fault. The Scorpio will hopefully solve this problem and also give gamers a chance to pick up the most powerful console that has never hit store shelves. We’ll likely hear more about Scorpio at E3 this year before it launches in the fall of 2017.