Doubts about Scorpio’s 4K gaming chops, and only some games coming with 4K according to Microsoft

by on August 22, 2016

Stephan Jukic – August 22, 2016

Microsoft has blitzed the consumer gaming tech community with affirmations that its upcoming Project Scorpio Xbox console, slated for a 2017 release has been built with real native 4K gaming at high frame rates in mind. The Scorpio will also offer 4K video playback from both streaming and hard media sources just as the Xbox One S console does now, according to its manufacturer.

This of course has generated plenty of speculation and especially since so few hard details about the Scorpio’s specs or even appearance are known to the public. What’s more, many tech watchers have been doubtful about those claims of 4K gaming chops. Given the current market for PC 4K gameplay, which is much more developed in this direction than the 4K console gaming ecosystem, it’s hard to imagine Scorpio seriously handling heavy duty 4K games at high frame rates of 55 or more frames per second. Today even the very best 4K gaming PC rigsjust barely manage this mark and so far only a couple consumer 4K GPUs –NVIDIA’s GTX 1080 and Titan X Pascal card for 2016—can really be called a true across-the-board card for 4K gaming above 55 to 60 fps even at high detail levels.

Now the Titan X is a seriously powerful, heavy duty and very expensive piece of hardware for pulling of such a feat and what we’ve heard of the Microsoft Xbox Scorpio doesn’t match those same specs, at least not yet. Of course though, Microsoft still does have nearly a year to further develop the Scorpio’s technology and by the time its 2017 release date rolls around, it may well live up to exactly what Microsoft is claiming for it, which is reliable native [email protected] gaming.

On the other hand, Microsoft is also stating (perhaps in a vague effort to hedge its own claims very slightly) that while the Scorpio will be able to handle [email protected] gameplay, gamers shouldn’t expect every game for the console to perform at these levels or resolution.

In a recent video interview with the website Inner Circle, Microsoft Scorpio developer Albert Panello stated that developers have the ultimate freedom on how they build their games for the Scorpio console and that they can ssentially do whatever they like as far as resolution variations between HD and 4K UHD are concerned. Thus, for many games, the options might consist of detail and graphics so massive that their processing requirements for 4K may be truly massive or games might come out with smooth native 4K graphics or simply in HD with the ability to upscale to Full HD through the help of the Scorpio console’s own technology.

According to Panello,

“I think people get confused and say our messaging is weird. Not every developer is going to use it that way. Not every developer is going to decide to take that 6 TFLOPs and do 4K/60fps with it- They might decide for their game, their engine that they want to do something different and that’s fine. But our goal is to build a box that delivers true 4K games at the same level of fidelity that you see on your current Xbox One games.”

Microsoft’s own game development teams will however be concentrating on the development of native ultra HD games for the Scorpio console and the company is even restricting itself to this area in particular. Panello himself affirmed this by stating that 4K gaming is Microsoft’s key goal so fans can look forward to titles in 4K from Microsoft’s own studios which are tailored to run smoothly on the Project Scorpio console.

Even now a number of such Microsoft games come with this capacity built into them. These include “Forza Horizon 3”, and Gears of War 4, which are both also 4K PC-friendly.


As for the specs of Scorpio, from what we know so far, it will offer up a hefty 6 teraflops of GPU capacity, 12GB of RAM in the GDDR5 format and will likely include HDR gaming and upscaling of games to 4K resolution since both of these features are already present in the much weaker bit already released Xbox One S game console with 4K video playback capacity.

As for pricing for the Scorpio, it’s anybody’s guess though we know Microsoft is claiming the Scorpio will be a premium device, so we doubt the console will be particularly affordable.

The Project Scorpio console might also get some competition from Sony’s own native 4K gaming console the PlayStation Neo, which is reportedly coming out at a much closer date in the next couple months. If the Scorpio is garnering doubt about its possible 4K gaming chops, the Neo is subject to even more of it, since its GPU power is reportedly not even up to par with that of AMD’s RX 480 graphics card, which is much more of a serious 1440p card which can only handle native 4K at a moderate frame rate.

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  • mosin
    August 23, 2016 at 8:43 pm

    Great article. I’m really looking forward to the Scorpio but have some fear that it will cost something crazy like $600+. I have $500 budget for it and another $500 for a 4k monitor.


  • Ethan
    September 20, 2016 at 7:49 am

    I Love World Of Warships is my favorite! Amazing realistic graphics..


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