The Xbox team at Microsoft isn’t shy about pointing out how the Xbox Scorpio is going to be better than the PS4 Pro. This time around it’s the General Manager at Microsoft Studios Publishing, Shannon Loftis
In an interview with USA Today, Loftis says “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 reference to the upcoming games planned for Xbox Scorpio.
It has been made clear that Xbox Scorpio is going to have more horses pulling the weight than the PS4 Pro, however the fact that games would be running natively at 4K is significant. Rendering a game at 4K resolution is something even high-end PC’s today have trouble pushing for – at least at reasonable framerates.
It is yet unclear how ‘native’ 4K is defined – often enough, games on consoles are rendered at a lower resolution without the UI elements, then upscaled to the intended resolution – after which rest of the UI is rendered on top of the game. There’s a lot of technical wizardry happening behind the scenes to make games look as good as they do on the limited hardware consoles provide.
While that might give the illusion of native resolution – it is not, and whether Xbox Scorpio will employ such tricks to maintain a reasonable frame rate at 4K is yet unknown.
Xbox Scorpio will also have support for VR as has been revealed already – but to make sure a VR experience is not unpleasant, it needs to be touching the higher-ends of 90 frames per second. Everything the Xbox Scorpio promises demands high-end hardware that can deliver high performance, which also means a higher price.
What might happen at release
There are plenty of promises being made – the issue remains, PS4 Pro comes out this November, while the Xbox Scorpio still has an uncertain release date ‘sometime in 2017’.
If the promises being made are kept – the Xbox Scorpio will have enough horsepower to run 4K natively at a reasonable framerate, but maybe the developers do not see 4K as something they would want to push for.
Rather than pushing for 4K resolution – which will benefit a very low number of users even in 2017, considering not many people own a 4K TV just yet – perhaps the developers of games would have better quality graphics, rather than a higher resolution.
Of course, Microsoft Studios will be building a few astonishing titles that would run at native 4K and still look beautiful – that is after all what they do, but the overall Xbox ecosystem is much larger than that. It will be up to the developers to decide how they want to utilize the extra power Xbox Scorpio provides them with.