One of the biggest questions revolving around the next Xbox is whether or not you will need a 4K TV to take full advantage of it. Well, here's an answer.
Microsoft will tout the benefits of "Project Scorpio" for 1080p screen users in a number of ways, according to our trusted sources.
Update April 8th, 2017: Speaking on Major Nelson's podcast (at 20:29), Xbox's Albert Penello confirmed that Project Scorpio will provide enhanced graphics on 1080p sets using 4K supersampling, as detailed below. Scorpio's enhanced textures, anti-aliasing, and so on, will be compressed down to 1080p screens, providing a superior experience on games patched to take advantage of Scorpio's GPU power.
First of all, when Project Scorpio launches, it will come with Shader Model 6 (SM6) and shader compiler improvements, not only for Scorpio, but for existing Xbox One models as well. SM6 is an API for creating shading, and the new version should bump up efficiency across the board, saving developers time and system resources.
Secondly, existing games that make use of dynamic scaling on Xbox One will achieve their target resolutions more frequently on Project Scorpio, without patches or updates. Project Scorpio will also lead to less dropped frames, meaning existing Xbox One games should look and run better on Project Scorpio, hitting their target frame rates more often.
Lastly, games that sport True 4K assets will also enjoy graphics enhancements on 1080p displays, thanks to the console's supersampling technology. There are many games on Xbox One that sacrifice anti-aliasing quality for performance in other areas, resulting in models with jagged edges. Anti-aliasing gives objects the appearance of smoother edges, at the cost of system resources.
For games that have 4K updates on Project Scorpio, 1080p sets will see improved image quality, because the otherwise wasted resolution will be used to provide smoother edges and shadows. Games such as Ghost Recon: Wildlands, which suffer heavily from jagged edges due to the game's huge draw distance, should see large benefits from this technology.
However, to get the full benefits of Project Scorpio, you will need a 4K TV. We can confirm that Project Scorpio will come with a 4K Blu-ray player, powered by HDMI 2.0a with Wide Color Gamut and HDR. We also received reliable information that Project Scorpio will see a sizeable lineup of its games, both first and third-party, hit a True 4K resolution for owners of compatible TVs and monitors.
If you wish to purchase the console before upgrading your TV, however, Project Scorpio should provide a raft of benefits even on older HD sets. The fact that Project Scorpio will be a possible option for people who don't want to upgrade their TVs should be good news for lots of people, helping the console reach a potentially wider audience than it would have as a pure 4K machine.
Keep it locked to Windows Central for all the latest information on Project Scorpio!