PS4 Pro vs. Scorpio: Microsoft confirms serious 4K gaming in Project Scorpio
Stephan Jukic – September 21, 2016
Frankly, a majority of casual gamers won’t likely even pay much attention to the finer distinctions between native 4K gaming and games that have been upscaled to 4K-type graphics from native Full HD 1080p resolution in either the Xbox One S, PlayStation 4 Pro or upcoming Xbox Scorpio game consoles. However, there are also millions of more serious gaming fans out there and they do indeed pay attention to details like whether a game is ripping long in native 4K or upscaled 1080p.
For these gamers, the now mounting competitive war between Sony and Microsoft around the capabilities of their respective game consoles is definitely going to be an interesting thing. You see, Since Sony released its new PlayStation 4 Pro 4K game console in August, 2016, the company’s claims that this new gaming platform is fully capable of native 4K gameplay have turned out to be a bit on the weak side, at least for now. Currently only three games have been released by Sony partners which can truly play in native 4K on the PS4 Pro and current plans consist of just handful more games with the same capacity. For all other gaming, the console plays graphics in upscaled Full HD and nothing more. Additionally, the actual native 4K performance of the PS4 Pro has been described by some reviewers as being only “satisfactory” and doubts have been raised about whether or not the PS4 Pro even has enough kick to really deliver serious 4K gaming in the way that a 4K-capable GPU would inside a PC gaming rig.
With these things in mind, Sony itself seems to definitely be aiming more towards rescaled 4K gaming with HDR as a bonus quality in many games than native 4K gaming in the PS4 Pro and more unfortunately, the company’s console is doing this without also coming with the benefit of 4K Blu-ray playback. In contrast, the Microsoft Xbox One S, which isn’t even Microsoft’s real 4K gaming console, also offers HDR gaming and upscaling to 4K of non-4K games but also throws 4K Blu-ray playback into the blend for extra enticement. Granted, the Xbox One S can’t handle native 4K gameplay and in terms of specs it is definitely the less powerful of the two consoles but it still gives the PS4 Pro a run for its money, and this is even before the much more powerful Xbox Scorpio has entered the fray.
This of course brings us to the Scorpio itself. In what we definitely consider to be a jab at the very problems the Sony PS4 Pro is facing with its 4K gaming chops, Shannon Loftis, Microsoft Studios publishing general manager has recently stated in an interview with USA Today that the 2017 Scorpio game console will definitely be a full and powerful 4K gameplay console with full native UHD support instead of upscaling for the majority of the games it handles upon release. The Microsoft exec further clarified this point by stating that, “Any games we’re making that we’re launching in the Scorpio time frame, we’re making sure they can natively render at 4K.”
In other words, Sony has some more running to do if it wants to compete properly with Microsoft on the 4K gaming front.
Of course, between now and “Holiday of 2017” (when the Scorpio is slated for release) Sony might further update their PS4 Pro or release an entirely new and more powerful console. At the same time, Microsoft has plenty of extra time in which to develop a much larger selection of 4K games for its device and to enhance the specs of the Scorpio so that they more closely match what 4K PC GPUs like the AMD Fury X or the NVIDIA GTX 1080 and Titan X can do now.
So far, we’re willing to at least give Microsoft the benefit of the doubt on its 4K gaming claims. For one thing, the upcoming console is expected to be at least 40% more powerful than the Sony PlayStation 4 Pro. Furthermore, Microsoft has shown a definite commitment to putting out games for PC with 4K graphics integrated into them and it’s notable that their promised specs for the Scorpio do point to ultra HD-level robustness. The console’s GPU will reportedly offer up 6 Teraflops and more importantly still for gaming in ultra HD, will also deliver a powerful memory bandwidth of “over 320GB/s” (according to Microsoft) and a decent quantity of ROPS (Render Outputs) at 64 or possibly more. Both of these specs are a bit on the conservative side for smooth 4K gaming but at least they’re in the neighborhood of what’s offered by today’s PC GPUs for ultra HD graphics.
Now of course there are the questions of power consumption and pricing for the Scorpio. As a supposedly serious 4K gaming console, it’s definitely going to consume a lot of power, even if we take into account optimizations in GPU and CPU design that Microsoft might pull out of its hat by 2017. Its eventual price however is anyone’s guess. We do know that the PlayStation Pro, slated for store shelves and online retailers as of November of this year, will retail for $400, so if the Scorpio offers at least 40% more power, we might see a retail price just above the $500 mark.
Story by 4k.com