Project Scorpio will use supersampling to deliver enhanced Xbox graphics to 1080p TVs (Update: Confirmed)

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.

  • Project Scorpio appears on Microsoft Store — but you still can't buy it

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.

Knights of the Old Republic with anti-aliasing on (left) and off (right). Note the jaggies!

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!

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!

  • Cant wait. I picked up a new 4K set over the weekend and it's a vast improvement over my old TV. Scorpio will just complete the set up for me.
  • I had to replace our 1080p set because it broke when moving. Our 4K TV doesn't have HDR (as any TV with real HDR10 is just more expensive than I'm willing to pay at the moment) but the TV itself is much better quality than the same size one it replaced. Not watched at 4K content yet but even Nintendo Switch looks better on it due to nicer colours etc. Will be great to get Scorpio and see how good it can look, even without the HDR function
  • Delete. I was confusing HDR with 4:4:4 chroma sampling. Ignore this.
  • 4k is alright, but HDR is the REAL upgrade. I bought a 4K TV in 2015 and initially felt wowed on some things, but less so on others (blu ray barely looks any different at all, for example). But a few weeks ago I jumped to an LG OLED 4K with HDR, and let me tell you, my jaw hit the floor. Some of that is the OLED, of course--blacks are AMAZING, which means everything else just pops that much more. But the level of color depth and shadow detail across supported games, 4K blu rays with HDR support, etc, is night and day. It's incredible. At first I kicked myself for spending $2100 on a TV, but I got over it pretty quickly. :D
  • Launch with Destiny 2 (4k) or Halo 6 and I'll be at BestBuy looking at 4k TVs
  • This...will also hopefully give some time for OLED 4k's to come down in price some.
  • Right now there are some great deals on the 2016 LG models, and in my humble opinion, the 2016's are mostly better than the 2017's anyway because they still have the curve and 3D support with Dual View. I snagged a brand new 65" 2016 LG OLED 3D 4K set a couple weeks ago for $2100 on sale. Worth every penny.
  • without EXCLUSIVE AAA+ games the whole console is useless nobody will pay for it to play indie games on it
  • What about all the AAA+ non-exclusive games?   I could be mistaken, but, I'm pretty sure there are more than just AAA+ exclusive and indie games on Xbox One...
  • but are they worth it? Would you purchase a Scorpio for.... hoooops... how much will it cost? So.. would you purchase is just to play those "non AAA games"???
  • I didn't say "non AAA games", I said non exclusive AAA games. Many multi-platform games are amazing and well worth playing. A game doesn't need to be exclusive to Xbox to be worth playing.
  • Agreed. I catch myself playing a lot of 3rd party titles like Destiny, ESO, and Mass Effect (I know I'll play the heck out of this game) more than I play Gears or Recore etc. Halo is religious to me, so I keep up with that.
    Xbox knows third party, and hopefully we'll see awesome support from those devs. Game Pass would go sweet with this too!
  • You seem very butthurt over Xbox and Scorpio. Firstly MS has alot of amazing AAA exclusives. Available on Xbox PC and Xbox Console combined. And you get the choice what format you would like to play them on. 2ndly every single 3rd party game will look and play smoother on Xbox PC or Xbox Console than PlayStation. So its better for gamers to be invested in Xbox for sure. Yeah their might be some exclusives some may like a Playstation for, but as a gamer on the whole its better to have an Xbox first then pick up a cheap PS4 in 5 years for any exclusives one may have missed.
  • "every single 3rd party game will look and play smoother on Xbox PC or Xbox Console than PlayStation. So its better for gamers to be invested in Xbox for sure."
    So since 2013 when almost every 3rd party game looked and played smoother on PS4 did you say it was better to invest on PS4? I highly doubt that LOL
    "but as a gamer on the whole its better to have an Xbox first then pick up a cheap PS4"
    Actually It's better to get a PC and a PS4(*) (not bother with XB1) like this you can get all PC exclusive, all MS exclusive and all PS4 exclusive. Best of all worlds for a gamer. (*)add Switch if you're into Nintendo games
  • Only if you are already a PC gamer I suppose. Average household buy pc for gaming nowdays? Parents / uncle present pc (parts) and steam code to kids nowdays? Will you let your kids PC gaming using living room TV? Your wife/gf/parents would like you to do that? Are you willing to leave your PC in the livining? out in the public? If you own no gaming boxes, will you spend more than a 1000 for a gaming PC? Not everyone likes to game in front of a monitor or like to fumble with graphic settings before game. Not everyone likes to QA when something went wrong with their box (pc has much more hardware, driver, software, human error combinations than consoles). * And that's why I buy branded PC for gaming (if I do, my pcs are mainly for game programming experiences), I prefer to let someone QA before pushing me any updates.
  • Uh, you should probably actually read the comment you reply to, because what you said doesn't relate to the comment at all.
  • Let's not do the console fanboy thing, shall we? Each and every console is worth owning. They all have great exclusives worth your time.
  • I'm purchasing it just to play Forza
  • Just for the fact that those AAA titles that are not exclusive, they would look and perform way much better. So here is your answer.
  • Except for the fact that this will play games in 4k where the PS4 only tries to. Not to mention AR and VR, and the media capibilities. Again, you fail.
  • The x1 can barely run games at 1080 as it is (remember all those games launching in 720 or 900p?). Do you really think the Scorpio will play 4k games natively? It won't unless it's $800+ unit
  • You're making an illogical comparison. Xbox One couldn't run games at 1080p consistantly at launch. Now with the system better optimized 1080p isn't even asked about. Now with a machine more powerful than the PS4 Pro, you really think  it Won't be able to play games in 4k?
  • Most Xbox One games run at 900p or 720p. The number of times it hits 1080p is less.
  • "Do you really think the Scorpio will play 4k games natively? It won't unless it's $800+ unit"
    It will and it won't.
  • This, it'll be entirely up to the developer, I suspect that we will start getting more games pushing higher quality assets than just hitting 4k, sure there'll be developers that'll do that, but then you will get plenty who are just going to go for better lighting, anti aliasing etc over a res bump because they improved the image a hell of a lot more than extra pixels.
  • And those will be the developers with the best looking games. Pixels are only a small part of what makes a game look great. And when it comes to making a game that's just plain great, they're only the shallowest layer. :)
  • Barely at 1080p huh:   Btw native 4k resolution could be done on the og xb1, but at what cost is the question - it was stated that Halo 2: Anniversary could have been 4k, but they've opted for improved visuals instead of a higher resolution. Basically it all depends on the devs, they can still do 4k, but what will they have to reduce to keep the resolution intact.  
  • Let's not go there. The 260X in the X1 could do 4K with running at minimum settings, sans for textures, lol, but who would want that.
  • Exactly my point. 4k could be done, but if better visuals were a choice instead of ps2 looking games at 4k, than it's not even a discussion.
  • C'mon you are comparing 1.3 tflops vs 6 and with the tools necessary to get almost every ounce of performance out of the box, otherwise the developers have the option on his hands...resolution vs graphics
  • While true about the X1 launch, nowadays a X1S can run 900p-1080p dynamic across most newer games launching. And given the Scorpio is 50% faster than the PS4 Pro, you can guarantee locked 4K where the Pro may be just 2K/3K and with better framerates.
  • That’s a purely TF based assessment, just looking at all the customization that’s been done I have to wonder how much more powerful that system actually is. I mean 4k60fps ultra settings on FM6 Apex (ported in 2 days!), with no Scorpio specific enhancements (i.e. brute force approach) with the GPU sitting at 88% utilization and all of that done on kits working at under 80% efficiency. Just amazing.
  • hmm The PS4 have games at 4K native. Do you have link that shows that all games will be native 4k on scorpio? Do you have a link that shows that Scorpio will have AR?
  • Have you been living under a rock?   EDIT: re-read my comment btw I never said all games will run in 4k, it's quite obvious with such a large indie comunity today that only fool would expect every single game to be in native 4k on any system. The PS4 Pro upscales most of it games (hence the 'tries to')
  • Yeah maybe if Sony would have waited another year to work on the pro, it too would have native 4k on its games but they didn't wait that extra year so, it is what it is. Neither machine is any better than the other IMO for it all boils down to exclusives. The graphics nor fps have ever been leaps and bounds above the other nor do I believe the Scorpio is going to change that. I believe it will improve and enhance what is already there( much like the pro) but nothing so drastic that people will rush to buy it on that alone. If Microsoft starts pumping out games that are 4k , 60 fps I'm in... Other than that I'll be sticking with my pro. Good gaming to all!
  • Sony needed to get the PS4 Pro ASAP because they needed a faster machine for PSVR.  A ton of people complain how low-res games are with PSVR because the regular PS4 doesn't have enough power.  So Sony had to go with Polaris.  While Polaris is awesome for a midrange 1080P graphics card, it's not a 4K machine.  Look at all the reviews for Polaris cards.  Amazing for max 1080P and often great for 1440P.  Microsoft wanted a next-gen GPU and is waiting for Vega.
  • For all intents and purposes, the 480 8 GB and 1060 6 GB are 1080p60 gaming cards.
  • The PS4 Pro DOES have a lot of native 4k games. It's entirely up to the developer how they want to utilise the extra power, you can't blame the console. The Scorpio will be exactly the same, some games will be 4k, some won't.
  • @Axmantim Living uder a rock?  I didn't know about AR So I asked a link to know more. You know you don't need to be arrogant. Everyone are not MS fans that read everything about MS and their products...   Your initial statement is "Except for the fact that this will play games in 4k where the PS4 only tries to." You are clearly saying the the PS4 ONLY tries to implying that all it can do is try without achieving it. Point is the pro runs some at native 4K others are not. The scorpio isn't anything different.  There may be more games at 4K due to the power difference but we have absolutely no idea at the moment.
  • Ps4 has no games at 4k native. Even the Ps4 pro struggles with it.
  • Facts. PS4 only runs checkerboard 4k for it's 4k titles. Ponies don't want to acknowledge what "checkerboarding" is, because in their heart of hearts, they know it only means one thing...Upscaling.
  • You are actually right brotha.
  • Meh not much
  • you need to wait until its out, 4K native or not... I dont care about the resolution. Its more about marketing then a better "Experience". If the game itself sucks then 4K wont save it. Again, you fail.... btw: non of us fail because we are just having a conversation here (or trying to have one)
  • For once I agree with you!
  • The PS4 Pro has quite a few native 4k games, far more than supersampled.
  • Actually, PS4 and PS4 Pro both do VR, and reviews are great. In addition, PS4 Pro, while not as powerful as Xbox One X, is still pretty damn beefy, and there's really nothing much to complain about. Being a fanboy of ANY console is failure. They ALL have great games that make them worth owning.
  • Are you for real?
  • There are Xbox Live exclusive AAA+ games. Like Halo Wars 2.
  • Here we go Sony fanboy talking crap about AAA exclusives , when they clearly waiting 2 1/2 years for theirs and did poorly on sales Ouch .. When you nothing what MS plans are you zip your mouth or troll somewhere else
  • I don't know. All multiplatform games being higher rez, with better visuals and better framerate could entice a lot of people
  • No Exclusive games is your opinion. There's nothing on Playstation that interests me for example. Gave up on Uncharted half way through 3. The last of us Imo is massively overated. Only could bother playing 70% of the way through. Horizon look alright, but not rush out and need to buy a Ps for it. And the Japanese games are yaawwwwnnnn. Out of 50 million ps4 sales only 9% of it's users buy exclusives for the system based of exclusives sales compared to how many own a ps4. So 91% of PS4 owners didn't buy it for exclusives. They bought it because it was the best system to play all the games at the best settings. That no longer applies this year. And quite substantionally as well. This notion that Xbox has no exclusives pushed around the internet by PS fanboys is crazy and old. After all i cant play Killer Instinct, Horizon 3, Forza 6, Sunset Overdrive, Ori, Cities Skylines, Halo Wars 2, Gears Of War 4, Halo 5, Quantum Break, Sea Of Thieves, Crackdown 3 to name a few AAA games that I cant play on Playstation. That's not even delving into the load of PC dogs coming that aren't coming on PS.
  • First part of your reply is subjective. Just your opinion, nothing else. So doesn't matter too much. "Out of 50 million ps4 sales only 9% of it's users buy exclusives for the system based of exclusives sales compared to how many own a ps4. So 91% of PS4 owners didn't buy it for exclusives." These must be some more stuff that you just made up. You always seem to post this type of bs but cannot provide links to prove it. And finally, no. Most of the games you mentioned are not XB1 exclusive I can play them without ever owning a XB1. So it's not exclusive. Look at the meaning of the word before using it.   
  • I don't understand these PS V XBox flame wars.
    I for several reasons have always played and supported XBox since the original console and always will.
    Sony has clearly won this gen with better hardware, more power to them, good work Sony.
    However, the Scorpio counter punch is a significant one but only for a minority.
    It plays 4K native, PS does not.
    XBox now has a significant hardware advantage.
    Very simple, make your choice, but IT DOESN'T MATTER.
    Pls just enjoy gaming on your choice of console and stick with facts, not feelings.
  • Can't wait!
  • This will be great for those who still use 1080p screens.
    I'm personally more interested in how Scorpio will handle 4K everywhere (not just games) and to see if it's worth for me to buy it on launch or not.
  • I'm still using a 720p TV. It was a nice upgrade from a CRT in 2013 or 2014.
  • Wow. At least its not 480 like I know someone who still uses. =P
  • I would probably still be using a 480p TV if it had a matte finish, had more ports than just 2 composite in ports for video and left channel audio (plus cable), and was widescreen. And wasn't heavy.
  • You sir are ridiculous
  • So, what your saying is, I'd still be using a CRT TV, providing it wasn't a CRT TV.
  • Dude really? Most of this stuff was already known ages ago? What about tangible benefits for 1080p owners that TRULY set the graphics apart like Voxel Global Illumination?'s gonna be the same looking game just outputting native 4K, revolutionary!!
  • It looks like the Sony fanboys are starting their campaign early, inventing things to frighten people away that sound scary and if it is not there it will make games look bad or play poorly, downplaying or ignoring what Microsoft has discussed that are good and instead focusing on things that they have no evidence Microsoft will or will not support. Microsoft hasn't discussed it at length, so it mu