We exclusively revealed that Project Scorpio would be able to provide various visual enhancements, even on 1080p TVs thanks to supersampling. The 4K images powered by Project Scorpio will provide noticeable improvements even without a 4K TV. Now we have a look at some of the ways Microsoft privately demonstrated these capabilities to its partners.
Note: The images ahead are uncompressed. To view these image comparison slides, make sure you're viewing this page in a web browser and not our Windows 10 app. Some ad blockers have been known break the image sliders, so consider disabling them for this piece. This article is best viewed on a larger display — you're not going to see the differences while viewing on a mobile phone.
At the private event, Microsoft demonstrated Project Scorpio's 4K enhancements, supersampling on 1080p TVs, and various design techniques artists can use to utilize Project Scorpio's sizeable GPU overhead to enhance images with finer details.
The first demonstrations showed a scientist lady in a lovingly detailed steampunk laboratory. (See image above.) Unfortunately, the images shown here only represent tech demos, rather than actual games. And that's a shame because I think she looks rather awesome!
First, let's have a look at the differences between 1080p and 4K. Microsoft used these images to compare what a game running on Xbox One would look like stacked up against the Project Scorpio version, which runs all the way up to 4K. Pay close attention to the details in the background, face, and hair. Everything appears far sharper in the right images, which are powered by Project Scorpio.
Update: Since I've received a few questions about this, note that the images that represent 4K footage have been zoomed in and cropped to 1080p. The results in motion, on a 4K display, will be far more impressive. These images are just to give you an idea of how easy it should be for an Xbox One title to see improvements on Scorpio, while leaving lots of additional GPU overhead for further updates.
Xbox One @ 1080p (left) | Project Scorpio @ 4K (right).
Update: Note that these images only represent resolution bumps. When Microsoft demonstrated similar resolution improvements to Forza to Digital Foundry, it left the console with almost 40% of additional GPU overhead for other enhancements. A game running on Scorpio, in theory, will also sport various other artistic and technical improvements, as images further below demonstrate.
Next, here's a look at the same lady running at 1080p on Xbox One, compared to the 4K Project Scorpio version on a standard 1080p HD display. Once again, pay close attention to the details in the face and particularly the hair, both of which are noticeably enhanced even on a 1080p display running from Project Scorpio.
Xbox One @ 1080p (left) | Project Scorpio @ 4K on a 1080p display (right).
The above slides were designed purely to exemplify the differences in resolution between Scorpio on 4K, Scorpio on 1080p, and the regular Xbox One. Here's what each render looks like side by side.
Of course, developers will be able to enhance their games in various other ways utilizing Project Scorpio's six teraflops (TF) of GPU power to create finer details and more complex textures.
For an example of this in action, look at the yellow ladybug below.
Project Scorpio @ 4K (left) | Project Scorpio @ 4K with enhancements (right).
The left image shows a ladybug that has been rendered at 4K using existing Xbox One assets. With Xbox One assets, zoomed in, the ladybug's textures begin to look a little cartoony and bland. The right image has been given vastly improved textures to grant the ladybug an air of photorealism. The flower textures have also been given a large resolution bump, and additional 3D geometry has been added to give the ladybug leg hairs.
What this all means
While you will undoubtedly need a 4K set to see the true benefits of Project Scorpio, you will get many enhances textures, geometry, and effects on standard HD displays. These images show enhancements Scorpio can make to existing Xbox One titles by virtue of resolution bumps alone, without any additional tweaking and features that utilize Scorpio's monstrous specs.
It's looking like a 2017 holiday-season launch for Project Scorpio. The console will be compatible with all of your existing Xbox One games and accessories, it comes with 4K game DVR and UHD Blu-ray, and it will leverage 6TF of GPU power to produce 4K games.
And we absolutely cannot wait.
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Jez Corden a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!