Microsoft provides more details on newly announced Project Scorpio console coming next year

Earlier today, alongside announcing the new Xbox One S at its E3 briefing, the Redmond giant also unveiled Project Scorpio, another new Xbox coming in 2017 that rivals the upcoming PlayStation Neo, with the goal of taking the crown for most powerful gaming console. What's peculiar about today's announcement is its timing, however. It doesn't make much sense for Microsoft to announce their next console alongside their current console, does it?

Well, in an interview with Shannon Loftis, Head of Microsoft Studio Publishing, that question, along with many others has been answered. According to Loftis, Microsoft announced Project Scorpio today to let developers know that this machine is coming next year, and inspire them to create new games with the added power of Scorpio:

"We announced [Scorpio] today because we wanted to give developers a heads up that this machine is coming in 2017, and see what they are inspired to create with all this power and capability. It's out there, people know about it. It is the most powerful console that we've ever made."

Loftis continued, adding that Scorpio is the next step in the Xbox One console family, meaning games developed for Xbox One will work on the original Xbox One, Xbox One S and Project Scorpio:

"It is the next step after the [Xbox One S] this fall, in the entire Xbox One console family journey. So games that are playing beautifully right now on Xbox One are going to continue to play beautifully on Xbox One S and Project Scorpio. "

When asked about performance, Loftis mentioned that Project Scorpio will output true, native 4K, rather than up-sampling pixels. Furthermore, Scorpio brings really high fidelity VR support, allowing developers to go all out on VR gaming:

"The power of the graphic rendering means we can render true native 4K, so instead of up-sampling pixels ... developers right now that are developing 4K assets for PC, you can have that great PC experience on your console on your TV. The other thing that this power is capable of is really high fidelity VR."

For those wondering how games released this year will look on Scorpio when it comes out in the fall next year, Loftis says developers are welcome release their games sooner and implement dynamic scaling, meaning games will just automatically look better on Scorpio:

"Game developers that are writing games now, if they want to ship a game sooner, if they enable dynamic scaling the game will just look automatically better on Scorpio."

It's likely we won't hear about Project Scorpio again until next years E3 briefing, where we assume the console will be ready for unveiling properly. Today's unveiling was more of a teaser for gamers, as Microsoft didn't even provide us with a look at what the console might look like. Developers are now getting ready to develop games for Scorpio, and will easily outdo the upcoming PlayStation Neo, making it the most powerful gaming console on the market.

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

  • I'm excited for Scorpio.
  • Who isn't? Even PS fanboys are lol Posted from Holo Phone 980
  • Do we really think Sony won't have an answer for this though? They've been known to entirely change plans after hearing Xbox's first.
  • Which is quite possibly why they never intended to announce Neo at E3.
  • Yeah, now they know about this they can plan around it. We'll know in a few minutes, I guess. This new Xbox makes me think of the James Bondesque villain from that Simpsons episode. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • My thoughts exactly. Sony will do everything in their power to be one pixel better than the XBScorp and fanboys will make it sound incredible.
  • Well, it probably will be incredible, just like Scorpio will probably be incredible. And both camps have bullshit talking Fanboys. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Incredible as in "almost at PC-level of graphics"? :)
  • Yes, actually. That's exactly how incredible. They should keep up nicely with a mid range gaming rig. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Fanboys will be fanboys. Neither console maker can plan around the opinions of fanboys. They're going to make the best consoles they can with the tech resources they have available to work with.
  • Xbox could have some details not outlined today that they will announce alongside the console next year. This is so that Sony cannot beat them in every category by being "just a little better" Posted via Microsoft Halo Phone
  • There are couple of possibilties.  One: As rumors have stated (and have been pretty on target for both devices) Sony plans to release the Neo  this Holiday. Developer boxes with the specs have been supposedly distributed.  That being said if this was the plan then Sony probably already have the customized silicon tapped out and in production.  For some reason people think hundreds of thousands of counsels are built in a day. Not too mention contracts for providing millions of components cost will have to be eaten by Sony if they want rethink the rumored 4.2TFLOPS Neo with a more powerful chipset. I am sure the current  APU and hardware that has been tested and retested for months is ready for production. The process to ramp up tha level takes months of production from partners with components all leading to Sony's production line to have things ready for October. Changing hardware will effect  supply chains, contracts, and will cost them and may not even lead to a machine faster or better than Scorpio no matter what fanboys believe is possible. ​Two.  Rumors are  all wrong at every level. Rumors that have come from mutliple of sources. So either the Neo doesn't exist (even though Sony admitted it does) or it won't be out this year (maybe).  I tend to think Sony wants something this year to provide a better fit for pushing the PSVR and possibly get more 4K televisions out of the stores into peoples home. I could be wrong but, I would be surprised.  The specs for Neo are still pretty impressive and will probably be alot cheaper then the Scorpio.    
  • Im not concerned about xbox one games performance on scopio... What about the reverse? Will is eventually phase out the xbox one? If it is truly turning into a PC gaming oriented scenario, im slightly concerned about the performance of games designed with Scorpio in mind
  • Games are currently designed with 4K PC gaming in mind, but still come out on current-gen consoles. Why would this be any different? Except that Microsoft can (and quite possibly will) actually make it compulsory?
  • Well, it's different because Its going with a more PC centric model. A console generation, to my knowledge, has never had this disparity in processing power. A game designed for current xbox one is highly optimized to be played as such. Now that it is going to a more PC model, it will be envisioned for Scorpio and play 'acceptibly' on xbox one. Or maybe im wrong
  • Lol, games already play "aceptably" on the Xbox One. I think this is the point of Scorpio. To overcome that which has plagued consoles since last generation.
  • Lol, games already play "aceptably" on the Xbox One. I think this is the point of Scorpio. To overcome that which has plagued consoles since last generation.
  • Microsoft has said that they will enforce that games are optimised for all currently supported consoles.
  • But for how long will the current XB1 be included in "currently supported" I don't want to have to buy a new system every couple years like a cell phone.
  • Sounds like the tools are built from the bottom up. Meaning it scales up to Scorpio, not down to Xbox One.
  • It seems like it, though it depends how the developers develops their games and how their game engines work. Graphics can be dynamic depending how powerful the GPU is, similar to PC gaming that people can play same game, only when people play with weaker GPU, it can't have highest graphics fidelity nor higher resolution. Key here is as long the game is still around 60fps, it should be fine. Sent from Turing Machine
  • This sounds right. Developers might even have the option to release games at 1080p/60fps OR 4K/30fps....I hope they do so we could see more 60fps on consoles, it's one good thing about PC in games where framerate can add more than extra resolution or visual effects
  • I wouldn't be so sure about this, consoles are at a point where they are just PCs on the hardware side so they can just develop games like they do for PCs i.e. the game will have hidden quality settings and play on both consoles like a PC game runs on both latests PC and PCs from 5 years ago. The time for code optimized for the hardware with low level memory management and so on is long gone, they'll probably just program the PC version and then publish it everywhere with fixed settings on consoles and user settings on PCs. Then obviously you could have a developer putting "PC minimum requirements" above xbox one levels and cut that out but that would be kinda strange at least for the first 2-3 years...
  • That sounds reasonable. If so, smart move strategically by Microsoft overall -- it will further push the PC and Windows 10 as a gaming system. It's not just about XBox sales to MS, but rather about the XBox and Windows sales.
  • As per new article on WC, developers will need to make the game scalable enough to include xbox one as minimum system requirements, I guess they'll need to make games that play at at least 25 fps at minimum settings on xbox one or something like that to be certified on the Store. No game that can't run on One at lowest settings will be accepted.
  • No need for concern. He did mention the word "adaptive". This will likely work like a PC, in that the resolution will adapt to the hardware.
  • Yup, these things aren't new in the PC gaming world. As long as the developers use dynamic assets that both look good on 4K and lower, and how efficient the game engine is. Sent from Turing Machine
  • Let's use the Unity game engine Posted via Microsoft Halo Phone
  • Could not agree more...If the new games can be played on the older systems, then it should be ok. If you look at the PC model, Any game designed around 4K can be played at 1080p with no problems (or even less for that matter). My Gaming PC could handle 4K but, I decided to get a 1080p monitor, I didn't want to NEED to jump to another video card 6 months from now to play the newest games at 4K...It gets crazy expensive.
  • I'm with you on the 1080p for PC, I hope that games on scorpio can run 1080p at 60fps (at the developers discretion) because for me that would be better than 4K at 30fps
  • Xbox One already has resolution settings. My TV doesn't do 1080p but the Xbox One I can set up to play at 720p or just let it as it was and benefit from downsampling (no jagged lines)
  • Yeah this resolution madness always made me laugh. People don't understand that 4K looks better because of the other techonologies used in these panels, give them a 1080p panel with the same price (or a bit lower) and they'll never notice the difference.
  • This
  • For this next gen of gaming, unless the scorpio is less than 500$, ill skip it and hopefully be able to buy an external GPU for my next gen Surface Pro, whether that is a SP 5 or 6, its definitely going to happen via USB C /Thunderbolt connection.
  • Tbh, Sony and Microsoft should collaborate on the graphic compute power of next generation consoles so that they have a standardized graphic compute power for game developers to keep in mind and differ solely on the basis of games exclusivity or the software services provided to the gamers. Also, differentiated on a better controller basis which is the bread and butter of a console. Pretty sure XBox One lost out to PlayStation 4 on graphic compute power. Other reasons for it being behind sales to PlayStation are XBox One's high launch price, gamers being mostly uninterested in Kinect and tv hub capabilities and lastly, the huge boring black briefcase design of XBox. I hope the XBox team will learn from the past mistakes and will not compromise in these ares. Otherwise, a console with this graphic compute power next year is a very attractive idea since I think 4k gaming/streaming and 4K screen resolution is going to last a while. The industry in general is finally reaching a threshold when it comes to raw specs and that bodes well for finance sensitive raw specs nerds like me. Cheers!
  • Over promise and under deliver as always. The latest Nvidia cards can't do 4k 60hz effectively and they are promising it for a console. Please. Just read the comments around the web.
  • Yeh, starting to sound like Sony.
  • This has me wondering too, Current Nvidia cards can do it, if you have 2-3 cards in SLI.... at like $600 a card, your talking almost $1800 before the PC itself.... Would love to know the exact hardware config they are thinking where they can achieve 4K 60hz gaming with top end AAA games.... It will be interesting, it will HAVE to perform on a console...
  • So, what you're saying is the latest Nvidia cards will still be the "latest" same time next year? You don't think MS or Sony even could maybe ask Nvidia "so...what are your plans for next year?". "nothing new, we'll still have the same tech next year". Please. If you are in the biz, you know what is being developed for next year and what it should be capable of.
  • As long as games made for 4K on the Scorpio will play on the orginal Xbox one in 1080p mode, it should not be a problem. Only problem I can see if new games come out that will ONLY play on the Scorpio but, will not play on the orignal Xbox one, then it will cause fragmentation to consoles. This will cause major problems for gamers. It just reminds me of the video game crash of 1983... Consoles were changing all the time, every one and their grandmother came out with a console...and consumers just stopped buying them. It really happend because you picked up a console for Xmas and by next summer they were releasing a new console and not compatable with the old one...this story goes on...It didn't come back till 1985 when the NES came out... I lived through it and I was a big gamer back then as well... there was a big dry spell...
  • Yeah, it will be interesting to see because Scorpio will support VR. This means the original XBOX one owners won't get that experience unless they upgrade. At the same time I can imagine some games made for VR hardware only.
    I not sure I like the new trend of releasing console cycles in shorter frequencies though. Higher resolution games take more time to develop which seems to be the opposite direction of these new cycles take us. Yes, devs can create backwards compatibility, but at the cost of features to catering to the old gen or increased dev cost/time. Also, I didn't find that many games to play this console gen compared to the x box / PS2 / NGC era.
    I'm finding that PC gaming is getting more appealing due to costs for an acceptable gaming rig has come down over the years for 1080p. To be honest I'm fine with 1080p gaming at the moment. I also don't know that many ppl with a 4k TV due to lack of content. Maybe gaming can give the push, but both 3D and 4K TV haven't been a hit yet.
  • I was thinking the exact same thing!
  • NVIDIA has GeForce GTX 1080Ti 12GB coming this fall! Using there new "GP102" GPU with 12GB of 384-bit VRAM "Micron GDDR5X @12GHz" total of 557GB/s bandwidth. The 1080Ti 12GB will run 2160p @60fps making it the first 4K@60fps gaming GPU but with a high price point! $699. US ....probably my next card! I will upgrade from my GTX 780Ti 3GB to this card!! Since I'm an PC gamer. Don't forget about Sony PS4.5 coming witch is also has upgraded hardware. But I don't think a little $399. gaming consoles going to run 4K@60fps with out loss of something? I wouldn't expect remotely close performance of an top end GPU like NVIDIA's new 1080Ti 12GB GPU. I would expect MS Scorpio & PS4.5 more like this with Ultra settings & VSync on.
    - 2160p @30fps
    - 1080p @60fps
    - 720p @120fps My opinion.
  • I doubt we're gonna see the Scorpio at $400. Not even at entry level. I expect it to be between $600 and $800.
  • I think the explanation is a crock as to why it was announced now. This is a consumer expo, if it was really about developers wouldn't GDC make more sense? In my opinion they announced it to one up Sony and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that so just say it.
  • Developers wants 6 terra flops and no compromise. Even if Sony come up with 9 terra flops, there's no monitor or flat screen that will output > than 4k in the next 1.5 years. Knowing Sony like to create proprietary things, anything is possible.
  • The Other Guys:  *blink*
  • I just decided to cut to the chase and build a PC instead. Nice to have new consoles, but I hope it doesn't become a yearly thing. My XB360 is still going strong
  • A year and a bit. So we're most likely talking about a September/October - ish release. Meeeeh, I don't wanna wait this long. :/
  • meh. time will tell. i will start saveing now or i wont get it and use what i have now.
  • Best to just see what it's like when it becomes available, it'll be just over 3 years after the release of the original, which is acceptable to me since games will continue ti work on Xbox One and One S. I'd probably spend £450 or so every 3 years for a console when it comes down to it I think. With the option to stay 1 version behind. Question is will there be a PS5 and Xbox Two one day that are clssr generational jumps and get exclusive games, or will consoles get incremental updates every 3 years now going forwards running on the same OS and maintaining backwards compatibility but adding confusion in terms of how long you can keep going on an old model
  • 17 - 13 equals 4 years
  • sounds great....for $700 or more. They should have at least provided a tutorial on how to convince the wife that you need a third xbox one in the house...