Xbox One S and Scorpio revealed

Project Scorpio Xbox E3 2016 MicrosoftIt happened. At E3 2016 Microsoft unveiled its new Xbox One S console and spilled the beans about the 2017 next gen Xbox – Project Scorpio.

The new Xbox One S is 40% smaller than the existing Xbox One and provides a number of benefits including losing the unwieldy external power brick. What else is new though?

Microsoft, as well as unveiling their new white Xbox One S, also revealed what they have planned for the future of the Xbox console and unveiled ‘Project Scorpio’.

Scorpio is a new, more powerful Xbox console that will be equipped with a beefier graphics card and has been specifically designed for virtual reality and 4K resolution games.

Project Scorpio is planned to be released by Christmas 2017 but no details of a price were given but I am thinking that a $1,000 would be my guess at a ballpark figure. One analyst did point out that many gamers might not be ready to buy a new console so soon after the new Xbox One’s release.

Could this be a step towards consoles matching PC gaming machine’s ever iterating roadmap?

The Xbox One S will cost $299 (£210) and include support for High Dynamic Range (HDR) gaming, with extra levels of brightness and more colour.

As well as its 4K video playback, the new console also offers high dynamic range colour support. Polygon reports that this will, according to Gears of War 4 developer Rod Fergusson, will offer improved surface detail in the game.
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In addition Fergusson also stated that the new machine will also

…provide a more consistent level of technical performance”.

This is down to the game’s dynamic resolution system that’s designed to tweak the title’s video output to ensure that 30fps is maintained in single player and 60fps in multiplayer. The Xbox One S, apparently, has some extra CPU and GPU power compared to the existing machine, aiding this process.

Xbox one s scorpioAlso, as the game is being developed in 4K, it should mean that Gears of War 4 is ready to take advantage of the Xbox Scorpio when that arrives, although Fergusson added that Coalition still has to “look at what the engine can do with the power that Scorpio has”.

Is it going to be tricky for developers to create games for differently spec’d Xboxes? Well, I can’t really see any difficulty, not if they follow another aspect of PC gaming.

PC games are made to on machines with vastly different hardware specs – head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, said:

The capability to build a game that actually takes advantage of different hardware capabilities is part of any third-party dev ecosystem, or anybody who’s targeting Windows and console at the same time,”

Xbox One Project Scorpio vs Playstation 4K Neo

PS4PS4K NeoXbox OneProject Scorpio
CPUEight Jaguar cores clocked at 1.6GHzEight Jaguar cores clocked at 2.1GHzEight Jaguar cores clocked at 1.75GHzEight cores, speculation: up-clocked Jaguar or equivalent
GPU18 Radeon GCN compute units at 800MHz36 improved GCN compute units at 911MHz12 GCN compute units at 853MHzSpeculation: 56/60 GCN compute units at 800-850MHz
Memory8GB GDDR5 at 176GB/s8GB GDDR5 at 218GB/s8GB DDR3 at 68GB/s and 32MB ESRAM at max 218GB/sOver 320GB/s bandwidth – speculation: 12GB of GDDR5

Microsoft also confirmed cross-platform access, Xbox Play Anywhere, meaning that gamers who buy a title for one will be able to play it on Xbox or Windows 10 PCs at no added cost.

Cross-play will also allow people to play online with others via systems of their choice. This was demonstrated on stage by Lydia Winters from Mojang and Saxs Persson from Microsoft Studios who teamed up in Minecraft via an iPad and Microsoft Surface tablet.

Among other new features for gamers were updates to Xbox Live, including Clubs, a hangout area for gamers, and Looking for Group, which will help players find others who want to collaborate with them online.
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Xbox fans will be able to order customisable controllers – selecting from eight million colour variations for example – via the Xbox Design Lab.

The controllers will cost $79.99 with additional laser engraving costing $9.99. The web portal through which people can design their own controllers is due to go live today but the devices will not ship until September.

The Scorpio, original Xbox One, and Xbox One S will support all the same games and anything that is currently available for Xbox One will be available for the new more powerful generation generation Xbox console.

The Xbox One S is now available for pre-order.