'Project Scorpio' Xbox roadmap reveals planned June performance boost, game certification dates

I thought I'd temper some of those rumors with information I received about Project Scorpio's Xbox Developer Kit (XDK) roadmap, which details how the software powering the next Xbox will evolve during the coming months.

As of this writing, Project Scorpio kits are operating below 80 percent of their planned system performance at launch. The roadmap received from trusted sources states specifically that Scorpio optimizations will help the console hit between 80 percent and 90 percent of its target output thanks to May's XDK update. That fact that some industry figures have voiced positive impressions about Scorpio's power in spite of this performance delta is encouraging.

The most significant update for Project Scorpio will be June's XDK update. If Microsoft hits its targets, June's XDK update will bring Scorpio's graphics stack up to its six-teraflop (TF), 4K-powering launch targets. Additionally, developers will be able to begin submitting their games for Project Scorpio certification with this update. For distribution, games will need to be certified against the XDK's final Scorpio code, planned to launch around the 2017 holiday season.

So, if you see articles in the near future that purport to have information on Project Scorpio's visual capabilities, bear the above information in mind.

Submitting 4K titles

Developers working on Project Scorpio titles have a range of options for submitting 4K titles.

The roadmap reinforces our previous information about how Project Scorpio will boost "change-resilient" Xbox One games without the need for an update. Games that utilize dynamic scaling technology, such as Halo 5, Battlefield 1, and Tom Clancy's The Division, will achieve their maximum 1080p resolutions more frequently, if not permanently, on Scorpio. This will make even unpatched Xbox One games look far prettier on Project Scorpio, in a similar fashion to the PS4 Pro's "Boost Mode."

Middle-earth: Shadow of War will probably achieve True 4K on Project Scorpio.

Middle-earth: Shadow of War will probably achieve True 4K on Project Scorpio.

Change Resilience, it seems, extends all the way up to 4K. As described by the roadmap, developers can bake 4K assets and relevant code into a single project's codebase for use across Xbox One and Project Scorpio. Using updates in March's XDK, developers can also designate chunks of code to be deployed only when Project Scorpio is detected. This is not only necessary to keep download sizes from exploding on Xbox One consoles but also to restrict things such as VR, which has no business on non-Scorpio Xbox device. Additionally, it looks like improvements to streaming game installations are on the way to help support those potentially larger file sizes.

These "intelligent delivery" capabilities also ensure that game developers can ship Scorpio features separately when the console launches later this year. Middle-earth: Shadow of War, for example, will launch in the summer for Xbox One and will more than likely receive Scorpio-boosted resolution and textures later on. The developers could also opt to make Shadow of War change resilient, giving it the scaling capabilities needed to run all the way up to 4K as soon as it hits Xbox One this summer.

Project Scorpio should get a full reveal in the coming weeks, most likely around E3 2017 in June. There's also a chance it could get an earlier reveal, perhaps even at Microsoft's rumored spring hardware event. Either way, it won't be long until we find out for sure.

Stay tuned to Windows Central for all the latest and greatest about Project Scorpio as we rapidly approach its official launch window.

More: Everything we know about Project Scorpio

Jez Corden
Managing Editor

Jez Corden is the Managing Editor for 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!

  • I'm ready...Are you?
  • I'm hyped.
  • Pumped even.
  • I'm broke 
  • I'm ready... to be disappointed. I am certain that Microsoft will bungle some aspect of the launch. Either it won't hit performance targets or it will do so late in the development cycle and devs won't have games ready for launch; or it will be way overpriced; or it will be in fewer markets than expected. I just know in my heart Microsoft will let us down.
  • I think that Xbox has been running on all cylinders for the last couple years. The initial launch messaging was bungled a bit, but post launch they have steadily improved the feature set and quality of the OS. (Obviously there will be the usual gripers about Kinnect and other minor changes, but these people are a very small portion of outlyers that care about those things.) Then the One S launched without a hitch and is a BEAUTIFUL and solid piece of hardware. I'm feeling pretty confident with this one.
  • Not until I see some games for it. No point in committing to a console with nothing to play. Knowing that Halo and Gears won't be there for launch, and that a bunch of dev teams were cut means I question what there will be to do on Scorpio.
  • All of the games on Xbox one now will work on the Scorpio 
  • Thanks for that statement of obvious uselessness. All of the games on XB1 are also working on my current XB1 and not getting played. The point is that there's nothing worth upgrading for if it's nothing new and exciting because I'm not going to drop $500+ for upscaling of titles I already beat or never wanted.
  • They will perform better and you will get better graphics. It will also get VR. No reason at all not to buy it. At the XO release, all 360 games worked on the 360.. But you still got an XO.
  • This is not guaranteed, though. If developers do not push and update with better assets, the graphics won't really be better. They'll maybe upscale more, but that's far from worth the price of a new console. Also, as someone who owns a PS4 Pro, it is also known that there are cases where games perform unreliably on the new hardware. And yes, there are 3 reasons to potentially not buy it: 1. There is little to suggest there will be a lot of new, Microsoft-exclusive titles to leverage Scorpio. We know Halo and Gears​ aren't there. We know Forza​ WILL be there. That's basically the end of it. We know a few other games will run on Scorpio, but we don't know when they'll launch or whether they will fully support Scorpio's hardware capabilities (I'm thinking mainly Crackdown​ there, as it's been in development for so long that it might not have focused on being native 4K or pushing assets in a way that takes advantage of Scorpio's specs fully). 2. XB1S is already on the market for less, and in a lot of homes. If you don't own a 4K TV, the incentive to spend big money on a console to push visuals you mostly won't see is a lot smaller. That, and if you don't have the biggest desire for the best graphics, keeping your XB1S will probably be enough for you. 3. Play Anywhere is going to cannibalize sales, no way around it. Scorpio looks like it wants to be a high-end console, and that's not going to match a high-end PC. If all of the MS exclusives are going to PC as well, there's a little bit of an identity crisis with Scorpio. If priced at $600 or more, I'll be seriously questioning the point. I could go invest in a graphics card for the same price or less, and it'll be one that's almost certainly stronger than Scorpio. So, Scorpio's got 3 things to overcome, depending on who you are. It might be lacking on tech demo games (again, if Forza​ isn't in VR, it will be a massive letwdown...to me). Its core platform is already available and owned by many fans at a lower price. It's also going to have a better enthusiast option, thanks to Play Anywhere. So, it's gotta fit into a bit of a niche of high-dollar enthusiasts who are uninteresrted in PC gaming or have a lot of disposable income. If the right games are there, that will include me. If all we get is Crackdown, Sea of Thieves, ​Phantom Dust, Forza not in VR, and the current library, I won't buy for a long while.
  • The upscaling and supersampling will make all games look better no matter what. Clearly worth it. Why not? All games I have will look better, I will get VR content, I will get True4K games from now on.
  • So we know who won't be buying an Xbox one... Happy am smart enough to not listen to you.
  • Too bad you're not smart enough to form sentences in grammatically correct English or have intelligent conversations. I've already purchased 2 Xbox Ones, and owned another I got as a gift before that. I'm happy I don't use your brain cells to form thoughts.
  • Better assets is what will make things better, but upscaling can make a huge difference. I remember when I got my first Bluray-player that had DAC's for audio and video. The upscaled dvd's looked WAY better than they did before. However you twist and turn, everything will look better, and most new games and every "Xbox Anywhere" title will look thousands of times better. Solid investment, especially with a 4K TV which you can get from like $500 now.
  • I already got a 4K TV. I can't say firing it up made FH3 a jaw-dropper, nor did it do it for Shadow of Mordor​ and its PS4P patch. Both look good, but neither said "these pixels were worth hundreds of dollar." If I didn't have an XB1S already, along with a Play Anywhere-capable PC, things would be different. I'd buy for the platform, but I own the platform. So, the question becomes "how much are more pixels worth?" I'm not sure the answer, for me right now, is $500+ as Scorpio will likely cost. That's why I say something like VR is going to have to be implemented fantastically to get me to buy in--not because I don't like the platform, but because I already own go many of its core components.
  • What are you complaining about though? Please prove that you're not being a hypocrite, because you have bought PS4 Pro despite the stuff you are braging about. You buy new consoles to get the best of their platforms. This is the reason I am looking at Pro and not at cheap used "fat" PS4 (for as low as 245 euros). This is why I'm getting Scorpio as soon as it's released. Nothing looked jaw-dropping on PS4 Pro at its launch, yet the situation has improved over these few months. I'm yet to see a system-seller game for the platform, but I'm sure that investment in the newest iteration will be totally worth it in the long term and I'm really sorry if you believe that Sony or MS will mess this up.
  • I don't even get what you're asking or what hypocrisy you're claiming. I got a PS4 Pro because I wanted a PS4, and the Pro was the best one out there. I wasn't upgrading from the base PS4, nor would I have. I got a 4K TV because it was I needed to replace my nearly 9-year-old TV that had severe burn-in. I didn't get either for the sake of "bragging," I had no PS4 and I had a broken TV, and both were on-sale. I have a perfectly fine XB1S. If I didn't, I'd get Scorpio. I already do, so I'm less interested. Instead of just "I want an Xbox," like I was with the PS4, Scorpio has to produce to convince me. I mentioned VR could do it. I mentioned new exclusives that truly leverage Scorpio's power would be be it. The quartet of exclusives we know about (FN7, ​Sea of Thieves, Crackdown, ​Phantom Dust​) doesn't do it for me. If all they have to add is multi-platform games with more pixels, I'd rather save $500+ and get it on my already-bought PS4 Pro or save less, get a better video card for my PC, and end up with better-looking games than what Scorpio would give me. As for messing it up, why WOULDN'T I expect Microsoft to mess it up? They've been repeatedly messing things up this generation, both on the Xbox side and others. Halo's my favorite game franchise, and Halo 5​ ruined everything I liked about it. They forced a $100 Kinect on me then killed all support for it. They convinced me to buy a $150 controller, gave it a 90-day warranty, then did nothing about its fatal flaws and left me with a fancy paperweight. They dumped a bunch of dev studios and made the exclusive software portfolio fall way behind what both Sony and Nintendo are doing in 2017. Heck, Scorpio's only coming because they initially sold suchg a weak console the first time around (es evidenced by compromised visuals at many turns). I'm just saying that Microsoft might not be showing all of its cards now, but the ones they ARE showing don't make me want to buy Scorpio. I'd rather stick with my XB1S, let Scorpio fall in price over the next year or two, then try it out when there are games I actually feel compelled to play.
  • You could've spared all the words and left the last paragraph only, you know. :) Everyone has their own taste and I couldn't convince myself to buy a PS4 Pro just few weeks ago and got a second Xbox One instead. Yet PS4 Pro is a really nice product any gamer should have, it is just me not seeing personal value in Sony's current exclusives. Scorpio is promised to have a nice support from first- and third-parties both regular and VR games, and I can't see any reasons it failing to deliver this promise. Is it a redemption for original XO's performance inferiority to PS4? Well, what's PS4 Pro is for then, I wonder. :) Those studios were "dumped" because they failed to deliver their projects in acceptable state. This happens to any other studio with any other publisher. As much as I like Nintendo (I f**king love it) it has just a couple of good games this year and can't be really compared to other platforms. And last time I checked my Kinect games and voice commands worked just fine. Can't say much about Elite controller though, I'm to buy my first one next week. Yet my friend's Elite controller's broke too, but so did both of his fiance's Dualshock 4's. Next time I'd love not to see a exaggerated generalization of personal issues as "messing up repeatedly" from you. Because I can't be happier with my consoles with their awesome build quality, reliability and a steady flow of OS improvements. So, yeah, to summirize everything we've spewed at each other here: it boils down to our own preferences and views. Alrighty then.
  • You questioned my purchases and claimed it was hypocritical. I provided context so your unfounded claim was refuted, that's all. I don't agree anything is for every gamer. If you don't like what Sony makes, don't get a PS4P (no you, just people in general). I got the XB1 because I liked the upcoming games. I got the PS4P because I like the upcoming games (especially baseball). I'm not looking at Scorpio with intent to buy because I don't like the lack of upcoming (exclusive) games. Third-party support means very little when I have a 4K console and will soon have a 4K PC as well. The MS exclusives are what will sell me on Scorpio. I don't disagree that the studios deserved to be cut. They weren't producing things that I liked, nor were they commercially successul. However, as of now, we know nothing of replacements. It's one thing to replace inferior content, but to just cut content with nothing to replace it? That hurts the console. The dearth of content is hard to ignore. I also don't think you're wrong on Nintendo, but they still have more going than we know Microsoft does. I don't judge a platform just on what I love, but also the effort put into the portfolio. That's where MS fails for me. Nintendo doesn't have a lot I'm excited for, but they do have a lot announced for the next year or two. They put out Zelda. Mario Kart (though a remake) is soon coming. Fire Emblem, Pokemon​, Mario Odyssey​, Splatoon​, Xenoblade, and some smaller things are planned for this year. A main series Fire Emblem and Pokemon​ are planned for next year, and more probably gets revealed down the line. Meanwhile, MS has given us Forza, Crackdown, ​Sea of Thieves, State of Decay​, and..? Crackdown's already been delayed once and ​Phantom Dust is in a bit of disarray. Out of curiosity, when was the last time you checked on your Kinect? LAst I checked, they stripped gesture navigation (not for me, but others really liked it) from the console. They stripped a buncch of content fomr Xbox Fitness and will be shutting it down in the next couple of months. When was the last time a Kinect-enabled game was put out? When was the last time a GOOD Kinect game was? For $100 we were forced to spend, hearing Kinect IS Xbox One," it is pretty much abandoned. The XB1S didn't even bother with A Kinect port--will Scorpio have it? Good luck on the Elite Controller. Just a warning that it has a 90-day warranty. After that, you're out of luck. MS will not repalce it, and they do not offer a repair service. I asked if I could pay to have mine fixed and got told it wasn't an option. Honestly some of the worst support I've ever seen for a product in my life. I really liked my Elite controller for the 4-5 months it worked though. Calling things "exxagerated genrealization of personal issues" when they are widespread issues many have discussed is just trying to BS out of intelligent discussion though. The lack of exclusives games isn't a personal issue, that's a brand problem. The broken Elite controller isn't a peronsal issue, it's something many have had happened without help. Sure, it's all preference as to what we idividually do, but it's not like I'm the only person to ever be disappointed in a game or have an Xbox One controller break (remember how they bragged about the R&D they put into making the perfect controller in 2013, only to have TWO hardware revisions?).
  • U R Not Red E
  • I'm hoping older games will put out some updates to support Project Scorpio to the fullest. (I'm looking at you, Elite: Dangerous. I need VR!)
  • I would say all of Microsoft's "Play Anywhere" titles are ready for Scorpio.
  • More than that, apparently. All change resilient games will see large benefits.
  • It supports VR for PC right? I don't think it's out of the realm of possibility to see that come to Scorpio.
  • For the love of God yes!
  • Spring event? Did I miss an article? Man, I hope so. Chomping at the bit for more news. Cheers for the article Jez.
  • Spring event is apparently Surface-focused, but who knows? :D
  • Yeah, well the IGN podcast with Phil left me with a few thoughts on that. He wanted E3 to be more about games. If the Scorpio launch is at E3, it will surely dominate. He alluded to a separate event.
  • The problem with an earlier reveal is that they would have to reveal new games to  really show the system off.   Yeah, you can still show Horizon 3 and Gears 4 but, it is not as effective as showing new games like  Forza 7 or COD 2017 in true 4K glory to get everyone licking their chops.  And those new games won't be shown off earlier than E3.  But, Microsoft might be less tight lipped and let some real specs out before then but I don't think a reveal will happen before E3.  I wish it would but, it won't.
  • Keep an eye out this Thursday.
  • Calendar set!
  • My wallet and body are ready!!!!
  • We need a phone with this much attention to detail and ****.
  • You know how this is supposed to work. Become insecure because a product will be better than your favorite, take a rumor about an unfinished product that very few people have seen or used, find one flaw that will not be in the final shipping product, and turn it into a major failure point that shows your favorite competing product is "better" and then spread the rumor all over the internet until everyone believes you, thus making yourself feel better about your choice. Even if whatever rumors you spread were completely false. This same pattern happens with every Microsoft product going back to Win95, why should it change with Scorpio?
  • What are the chances it won't arrive this holiday season and gets pushed back? Trying to not get too excited for this.
  • None, Imo.
  • 0% chance it wont arrive this year, phil spencer has recently said their well ahead of when the system was meant to be ready.
  • No HDMI IN, no buy. (I think)
  • Yes, that is the reason we supported the xbox for its tv features. It also should support kinect 2 and hopefully an upgraded kinect 3  
  • They just made TV integration with the Xbox absolute sh*t with the latest Xbox update...so at this point no HDMI IN won't bother me as I've already disconnected my TV box from the Xbox due to that update making the connection pointless.   It also killed any chance of me buying the Scorpio too though. At this point I'm likely going to go back to the PlayStation once Sony releases a model of it with a UHD player in it. If the Xbox is going to be limited to gaming again, I rather go back to the platform where all my friends are: the PlayStation.
  • Yeah & a Pro price drop and a model with a UHD player , yeah Scorpio be DOA. If it already isn't The generations been won. A more expensive model isn't going to change the out come here.
  • Nah, people buy on specs. Some people still believe the PS4 is good.