Project Scorpio release date rumours | Microsoft Project Scorpio feature rumours: Microsoft’s Project Scorpio will offer VR and 4K capabilities once launched in 2017
With the introduction of Sony's PS4 Pro, Microsoft had to lift the lid on its own high-end console currently in the works: Project Scorpio. While Project Scorpio is still over a year away from a potential release, Microsoft's own Phil Spencer has provided a number of details about what to expect from the console. Here, we discuss all we know about Microsoft's Project Scorpio including release date and pricing rumours, and some of the key features of the console.
Consoles are, historically, slightly odd. While smartphone manufacturers (and just about everybody else) provide yearly updates to their products to keep them up-to-date, console manufacturers do no such thing. Look at the Xbox 360 – apart from visual upgrades, the console remained largely unchanged in terms of tech throughout its eight-year cycle. However, with the introduction of the likes of the PS4 Pro, Xbox One S and now Project Scorpio, console manufacturers are making an effort to keep consoles in line with their PC brethren. See also: Best games consoles 2016.
Here, we discuss all we know about Microsoft’s upcoming Project Scorpio including release date and pricing rumours, and some of the key features that you can expect from the high-end console.
Project Scorpio release date and pricing rumours: When will Project Scorpio be released in the UK? How much will it cost?
So before we get into the nitty gritty of what to expect from Microsoft’s upcoming Project Scorpio, we thought we’d first address one of the most important elements – its release date and pricing. Now while there’s no solid release date just yet, Microsoft’s Phil Spencer hinted that it’d be with us by Christmas 2017 (or “holidays” as our US counterparts call it) when explaining why the company decided to announce the project so early.
"It's crazy to announce something this early, but when I put myself in the shoes of our customer, I want to be able to make a choice on what console I want to buy with as much information as possible," Spencer said. "We want to give you the information to make that decision. We also want to go talk to the developers that are out there today, that are building games for next holiday, and say here's what you're going to have at your disposal on the console side."
Why would Spencer want to “talk to developers […] that are building games for next holiday” if the company had no plans for the console to be on the market by then? So, we’ve got a broad 2017 release date. Not the best scoop ever, but at least we know to expect it by Christmas 2017.
But what about pricing? While there’s no confirmation of pricing just yet, Spencer hinted about possible pricing while speaking to The Verge.
"We're not ready to announce something right now, but you can imagine at the price point of Scorpio – which we haven't actually said, but think about consoles and where they live in terms of price point – having something at six teraflops that will get millions of people buying it is very attractive to some of the VR companies that are out there already, and we've architected it such that something will be able to plug right in and work."
Let’s assume that Project Scorpio will cost more than standard consoles, possibly around the same price as a low-end VR-ready gaming PC – that puts it at around the £600-650 mark. It’s far from the competitive £249 price tag of the Xbox One S, but with native 4K output and VR capabilities at the very least, we’re not too surprised about the high-end pricing.
Project Scorpio feature rumours: What can I expect from Project Scorpio?
As we’re just over a year from launch, specs and feature rumours are a little light on the ground. However, with that being said, we’ve been teased with a few details that’ll keep us and gamers around the world interested in Microsoft’s upcoming project.
What we do know is that Project Scorpio will be impressively powerful due to the six teraflops of graphical performance it provides. While it’s three teraflops less than the recently announced Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080, the graphical output could rival that of the GTX 970 and as such, provide the console with virtual reality capabilities as well as much-improved gameplay.
We also know that AMD chips will be powering Microsoft’s Project Scorpio; "We are proud that Microsoft has chosen to expand their Xbox One family of devices with two new consoles featuring AMD's high-performance semi-custom SoCs that support revolutionary new technologies like HDR, 4K and high fidelity VR to enable the next generation of immersive gaming experiences," the company said in a recent statement.
Virtual reality support
As with the PlayStation 4, one of the main selling points of the upcoming Project Scorpio will be virtual reality – and here’s where it gets interesting. According to sources, Microsoft doesn’t have its own VR headset and won’t be developing its own for use with the console – so what will it use? Spencer lists the likes of the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, although he hasn’t confirmed either of these as being project partners.
It’d make sense for Microsoft to opt for the Oculus Rift as the company has already partnered with Oculus to provide every headset with an Xbox One controller, and Windows 10 was designed with the Rift in mind. As well as this, unified support could make it much easier for developers to create VR games that work across Windows and Xbox, an important element if Microsoft wants to do well in the VR game.
The real issue comes when talking about price – as with the PlayStation 4, the VR headset won’t be included in the standard Project Scorpio bundle. This means that you may have to fork out £549 for an Oculus Rift on top of the ~£600 Project Scorpio if you want to try out VR on the console. Sony’s PlayStation VR, on the other hand, costs £349, making it a more appealing option (at this stage) for console gamers that want to try VR.
An improved gaming experience
As well as VR, Project Scorpio looks to provide users with a generally improved gaming experience in a number of ways. First of all, Microsoft has promised that the console will be able to render graphics at 60Hz, providing buttery-smooth gameplay that’s synced to the refresh rate of your TV, although we’re not sure if this is applicable to 4K gaming just yet.
To appreciate the second point, we first have to explain how consoles ‘work’. While developers may claim that, for example, console games run at 1080p@60fps, the resolution may drop during more graphically demanding periods to make sure that you don’t see much (or any) drop in framerate. However, Microsoft claims that this won’t happen when playing on the upcoming console; "When a game like that runs on Scorpio it's going to run at maximum resolution the whole time," Spencer said when speaking with The Verge.
We’ll update this article with new information as soon as we receive it, so make sure you check back soon for the latest Project Scorpio news.