After months of teases we’re finally getting some cold hard facts about Xbox Project Scorpio, the ambitious new console that is touted as the “most powerful of all time.” The tech details have so far followed through on this goal, delivering extremely powerful specs that should result in some amazinf looking games. But we’ve heard these lofty goals before, with Sony’s PS4 Pro launching with beefier hardware that only select games took advantage of. That’s been resolved somewhat, but according to a new piece about the Project Scorpio dev kit, Xbox’s new console won’t have any of those compatibility problems.
The piece is from Gamasutra who got to check out the developer kit for Project Scorpio, and ask Microsoft a ton of questions. One of the important points is that console game developers will now have to think like PC devs. Previously with console games you had one set hardware to work with, and you knew that everyone had the exact same thing. Now, you can’t guarantee that with some players on Xbox One, some on Xbox One S, and others on Scorpio.
This was already true on the PlayStation side with the release of PS4 Pro, which required some extra work to take advantage of. A recent update to the console added Boost Mode, so game developers don’t necessarily have to do any extra work anymore, but Boost Mode doesn’t always improve things.
On the Xbox side, it seems like Microsoft is taking a different approach, instead just offering up the extra hardware capabilities, which devs can take into account or not. “You can just write to the original set of [Xbox One] requirements that we have today, and then we’ll do the work to make sure that it actually runs better. But [developers] don’t have to do any custom work for Scorpio,” said Xbox software engineering exec Kareem Choudhry.
“We’re just inviting people to come in and take advantage of it. In terms of requirements if they do decide to take advantage of it, we want that content to run, at minimum the same as but ideally better than it does on the original Xbox One.”
As Gamasutra points out, this essentially turns Xbox One into the PC equivalent of Minimum Specs, with Project Scorpio becoming the Recommended. This is supported by the fact that everything about Scorpio so far has looked like just a more powerful Xbox One. How much that will impact game performance is still in question, but so far it’s looking like quite a lot. Now what the price will be, we still don’t know.