by Michael Grothaus via Know Your Mobile

For long being considered an “old school” tech company, Microsoft sure seems to be pushing innovative products out like a startup recently.

First was its excellent Surface Studio all-in-one PC the company introduced last year. Next up is Project Scorpio–the successor (but not the replacement for) the Xbox One. Though Microsoft first announced Project Scorpio last year, details of exactly what improvements over the current Xbox it had were scarce.

Matter of fact, they’re still scarce but that’s changing all the time, as information is leaked online.

Make no mistake: Microsoft is not pulling any punches with this machine. It is going to be full-on impressive and likely unlike anything we have seen before in terms of power.

Microsoft has said on multiple occasions that the Xbox Scorpio WILL BE the most potent games console ever created. It will leave Sony’s PS4 Pro way behind, apparently, and share more in common with high-end PC-gaming rigs.

The fact that it will run Windows 10, Microsoft’s Universal Platform, is also very interesting. As are Microsoft’s plans for how developers will develop and release games for both Scorpio and PC platforms (more on this below).

Here’s everything we know about Microsoft’s Project Scorpio.

Project Scorpio: What Is It?

Project Scorpio is the codename for the next generation Xbox Microsoft is currently working on. It is meant to be in addition to the current Xbox One S, instead of a replacement for it.

 While all the differences aren’t known just yet, Project Scorpio will feature two big improvements over the Xbox One S: support for 4K gaming and VR support. Because of this, Project Scorpio will compete directly against Sony’s PS4 Pro.


Project Scorpio: Specs

All the specs aren’t known yet, but Microsoft sure is hyping the heck out of Project Scorpio, calling it “The most powerful console ever”–so no pressure, engineers. What we do know is it will feature true 4K gaming, 6 teraflops of processing power, 320 GB/s of memory bandwidth, and eight CPU cores. All that, Microsoft says, will enable true 4K gaming and hi-fidelity VR.

It’s also known that AMD will be powering Scorpio. The chipmaker said in a statement: ”We are proud that Microsoft has chosen to expand their Xbox One family of devices with two new consoles featuring AMD’s high-performance semi-custom SoCs that support revolutionary new technologies like HDR, 4K and high fidelity VR to enable the next generation of immersive gaming experiences.”

It’s not known what AMD chip will be in Scorpio, but it’s possible it could be its Vega chipset. It’s also likely Scorpio will have with 12GB of GDDR5 RAM allowing it to hit speeds of 320 GB/s. To contextualize that, the PS4 has speeds of 176GB/s, while  the Xbox One S has speeds of 68GB/s.

“It will also have four times the L2 memory cache of Xbox One and Delta Colour Compression,” reports IBTIMES, “which is also supported by Sony’s 4K-console PS4 Pro. According to DF the document also says that “one 1080p title has transitioned relatively easily to native 4K on Scorpio” a title DF predicts is Turn 10’s Forza Motorsport. It would certainly make sense if it was, as racing games are typically the best showcases for a console’s new-found visual firepower.”

Project Scorpio: VR

Besides 4K gaming, the other star feature of Scorpio will be VR support.  To be clear, Scorpio won’t come with a VR headset and Microsoft isn’t making its own for it (no, the Hololens is an AR headset, and won’t be out by the time Scorpio ships).

Instead Scorpio will support third-party VR sets. Microsoft hasn’t announced which ones, but given the power Scorpio is offering expect the big guns like the HTC Vive and Oculus rift to be interested.

Project Scorpio: Compatibility

Great news for Xbox One fans: Scorpio will be backwards compatible with every Xbox One game. Yep, every single Xbox One game your current Xbox runs will play on Scorpio–and some with even better frame rates and resolutions. One thing which isn’t clear, however, is if old Xbox 360 games that can run on an Xbox One will also be Scorpio compatible.

As for controllers and Kinnect, Scorpio will reportedly work with all accessories that work with the Xbox One.

Microsoft Xbox Scorpio: What’s The Deal With Games?

Will the be compatible with existing Xbox One and Xbox One S consoles? Yes and no – it’s a bit tricky, this one. You see, Scorpio will be both VR and 4K ready and some games will be made with these in mind, meaning some titles, not all, just some, will not work on current Xbox consoles.

Microsoft will keep parity between the controllers, Kinect and Xbox accounts; it’s just that some games will not be suitable for playing on older consoles, either because of the nature of the game play or the hardware required to run it.


Where things get a little more interesting, however, is that Microsoft is aiming to bridge the gap between PC gaming and Xbox Scorpio gaming via its now universal Windows 10 platform. So, if it all goes to plan, VR games for the Xbox Scorpio would work as VR games on PC computers, as long as the user had a supported headset.

How this will work in practice remains to be seen, but Microsoft seems keen on getting developers to see Windows 10/Xbox as one in the same, if only for 4K/VR titles. This is just one of the benefits of running a universal OS across all devices.

Project Scorpio: Price And Release Date

Microsoft hasn’t announced a price for Scorpio yet–and it’s still a way aways from its release date. Microsoft says Scorpio will ship during holiday 2017, so you have at least another 9 month’s wait. As for what the cost might be, expect “a lot”. As Xbox head Phil Spencer let slip to the Verge:

“We’re not ready to announce something right now, but you can imagine at the price point of Scorpio – which we haven’t actually said, but think about consoles and where they live in terms of price point – having something at six teraflops that will get millions of people buying it is very attractive to some of the VR companies that are out there already, and we’ve architected it such that something will be able to plug right in and work.”

Expect this baby to cost AT LEAST £349 when it ships next winter. Spencer told AusGames:

“I want Scorpio to be at a console price-point. I’m not trying to go and compete with a high-end rig. And because we’re building one spec, we’re able to look at the balance between all the components and make sure that it’s something we really hit that matters to consumers and gamers. It will cost more than S, obviously, that’s how we are building it,” he added. “We have not announced the pricing yet, but I want to make sure that the investment we are putting into the product of Scorpio meets the demands of the higher-end consumer and that will be a higher price.”

However, you may not have to shell out the full retail price for Scorpio. Microsoft’s Xbox Services general manager Dave McCarthy told the Daily Star that it is seeking to work with retailers on trade-in programs:

“Some of our retail partners today do trade-in programs and that’s definitely going to be partnerships we continue. We want to to make [upgrading to Xbox Scorpio] as smooth as possible. The compatibility thing is a big deal, because [the] feeling you have to give up your games isn’t a good feeling, so we take that angst out of the equation. We’ll try partnerships with our retail partners to smooth it even more with trade-in programs and things like that.”

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