Official specs for the Xbox Scorpio were revealed Thursday by Microsoft via a Digital Foundry exclusive. While the headline is how the console will run games at 4K resolutions, those still rocking 1080p televisions will see significant benefits for both new and old Xbox One titles plus backward compatible Xbox 360 games.
As previously mentioned, Microsoft only revealed the official specs of the Xbox Scorpio. The official name, release date, price, and what the console looks like have not been shared yet. These will all be revealed either during the Xbox E3 press conference on Sunday, June 11 or in an earlier announcement.
1080p Gaming on Scorpio
Gamers waiting to make the leap to a 4K television set or monitor will see plenty of benefits with the Xbox Scorpio. Microsoft has mandated super-sampling for all games that run at resolutions higher than 1080p with Xbox Scorpio. This means the console will render at the full 4K resolution and then downsample the image to 1080p.
This method results in a much-improved image quality, with superb anti-aliasing, on top of a smoother and more consistent framerate.
Existing Xbox One Games on Scorpio
Expect to see many titles to receive patches to upgrade the graphics to 4K resolution. This is similar to PlayStation titles receiving post-launch updates for the PS4 Pro to enable higher resolutions.
However, these games will see other improvements even for those who stay with 1080p. These games will run at their max resolution much more consistently. Just know you won’t see 30fps titles like Destiny and Rise of the Tomb Raider run at 60fps. Those games are locked at those framerates. Meanwhile, games with variable framerates, like ARK: Survival Evolved, will see fps run at higher numbers and maintain those.
Additionally, games like Halo 5 and Battlefield 1 that used dynamic resolutions should max out at their best resolutions. More and more games have gone with lowering the resolution of a game to maintain a steady framerate. That will no longer be an issue while screen-tearing should also be an afterthought with these games on the Scorpio.
Loading times have always been a sore point for titles like Just Cause 3 and Battlefield 1 as it can take minutes to load up a mission. Expect to see those loading screen times to be greatly reduced. How much remains to be seen, but with 8GB of DDR5 memory dedicated to solely gaming purposes while another 4GB manages the operating system, the Xbox Scorpio should make level loading zippy.
Backwards Compatible Xbox 360 Titles
Xbox One owners playing backward compatible Xbox 360 titles on their console should already be aware of the benefits these games receive from running on more powerful hardware. Expect even greater gains with the Xbox One.
Microsoft is enforcing 16x anisotropic filtering at the Xbox Scorpio system level for the smoothest possible lines going all the way back to Xbox 360 titles.
“We built into the hardware the capability of overwriting all bilinear and all trilinear fetches to be anisotropic,” Microsoft’s Andrew Goossen told Digital Foundry. “And then we’ve dialed up the anisotropic all the way up to max. All of our titles by default when you’re running on Scorpio, they’ll be full anisotropic.”
Microsoft is taking the time to learn from some of the issues Sony has unearthed with the PlayStation 4 Pro. Titles like The Last Guardian that are upgraded for the more powerful PS4 don’t always provide users the ability to choose between resolution, performance, and other settings.
In true gaming enthusiast style, Microsoft will make the Xbox Scorpio a little more PC like by requiring these options be available across all games.
[Featured Image by Microsoft]