Ever since the announcement of Microsoft’s Project Scorpio at E3 this year, people all over the internet have been picking at bits of ‘information’ over the mid-generation upgrade and its nearest rival, the Playstation 4 Pro.
But with lots of proported ‘official’ figures floating around the back end of the internet, what do we really know about these consoles?
Both Sony and Microsoft have gone on record saying that these see these consoles as ‘mid-generational updates’ so, no, this is not the next generation. Microsoft are purportedly working on Xbox Two already, though there are no facts to back this up.
PS 4 Pro and Project Scorpio might be this generation of consoles or considered a new generation.
Phil Spencer on Scorpio in the Xbox family “Your Xbox One S and Scorpio. That’s an important design point for us. They’re all part of the same family….The idea, is this part of the previous generation or the next generation gets a little blurry. For you and I, we usually think about generations in terms of what games will it play? This thing will play Ryse: Son of Rome, a launch game for your Xbox One. And we’ll have launch Scorpio games as well that are playable on an Xbox One, Xbox One S and Scorpio and look great on all three of them. So the idea of a generation is a little difficult to stretch on to this.” (Eurogamer)
Andrew House on PS4 Pro: “The new console is intended to sit alongside and complement the standard PS4, We will be selling both [versions] through the life cycle.” (Financial Times)
Graphics and 4K
Both consoles are rumoured to be able to output games at 4K. In truth, both will have some level of 4K support, but that could be anything from upscaling, which takes a lower resolution source and ‘adds’ pixels at a best guess to make it look a bit better, to full 4K native output, which requires a huge level of processing power.
Pro and Scorpio will be able to play games at faster frames per second and all games will be 4K
Only Microsoft have said they are aiming for 4K native output for the Scorpio, as part of their ‘talking heads’ presentation video at E3. Phil Spencer stresses that they want to try to keep the same frame rate as the Xbox One version while aiming for 4K output “I think framerate’s more interesting than resolution in terms of competitive gaming, and we wanted to make sure teams were able to build the 4K version of their game at the same framerate they can hit, at whatever resolution: 900 or 1K or even 720 that they’re hitting on this box. So, we thought specifically about that situation and talked to developers about it.” (Eurogamer)
Sony have kept quiet about the specs and the ability for their new console to run at specific resolutions, so anything out there is still speculation until they confirm it.
Both House and Spencer have confirmed that they see their respective mid-gen upgrades as part of the same family and this means that games will be run on both their current consoles and the Neo and Scorpio without having to pick up a unique version of the same game. According to them, there will be no unique titles that only run on the new hardware.
This means no using the hardware for better AI, bigger worlds or any of the other improvements we’ll probably only see in the next generation of consoles. I’m hoping this won’t be the case, but both men have made it clear that the most important thing is not to fracture the market by making different games for the system.
Phil Spencer says “The Scorpio games are obviously designed to take advantage of six teraflops and 4K. Your Xbox One, you were playing those today. You know what those look like and feel like. But there won’t be Scorpio exclusive console games. Absolutely not.” (Eurogamer)
Andrew House said “All games will support the standard PS4 and we anticipate all or a very large majority of games will also support the high-end PS4,” (Financial Times)
CPU and Graphics
Neither console has had a full set of specifications released. Leaks and rumours abound on the Internet and there are some specs out there masquerading as facts.
Scorpio will have Eight Jaguar cores, like Xbox One, but clocked at higher rates, possibly similar to the Neo’s 2.1GHz. The GPU will be 60 GCN compute units at around 800MHz. It will also feature 12GB of GDDR5 or possibly faster GDDR5X.
We know more about the Neo, but bear in mind Sony may up some of the specs, such as the memory, before launch. We’re expecting to see the Neo in October 2016.
What we know for sure, or have been told by the people working on the consoles is this;
- Graphics will be 6TFLOPs which doesn’t really tell us much in itself.
- Over 320GB/s bandwidth for memory.
- Will launch at the end of 2017
- Eight Jaguar cores clocked at 2.1GHz (
- Graphics will be running at 4.2TFLOPs using 36 ‘improved’ GCN compute units at 911MHz
- 8GB GDDR5 at 218GB/s
This is one area which has not been confirmed at all, so everything we know is speculation. Andrew House said the Neo would be more expensive than the current PS4, though there was no clue as to how much of a difference this would be.
Phil Spencer has confirmed that their expecting to sell the Scorpio for a ‘premium price’.
What we’re expecting is that the Neo will not be significantly higher than the PS4 but the Scorpio will be sold with a premium price. Our current estimate, based on hardware is around £499, but this could still be way out of line with the actual price.