Project Scorpio will take immersion to the next level with VR-exclusive games

While Microsoft has promised its massive Xbox One community that no one will be left behind when Project Scorpio comes to be, VR titles will be exclusive to the future console simply because current hardware is unable to support them. Xbox Marketing Chief Aaron Greenberg explained in an interview with Engadget at Gamescom that the company sees VR gaming as a different experience to traditional console games.

From the interview, as spotted by Eurogamer, Greenberg said:

"With the power and capabilities we have, we'll be able to do high-fidelity VR," Greenberg said. Now, that space, we don't think of that as console gaming, we think of that as high-fidelity VR, and so with the VR experiences those will be new things that you will get on Project Scorpio."

Interestingly, Microsoft is attempting to see if the company can bring about an end to console generations as we've come to know and love/loathe them. The plan is to bring everyone forward who happen to be part of the current generation, whether you have an Xbox One, Xbox One S or will own a shiny new Project Scorpio. This is also hoped to solve the issue of compatibility between generations.

"For us, we think the future is without console generations; we think that the ability to build a library, a community, to be able to iterate with the hardware - we're making a pretty big bet on that with Project Scorpio. We're basically saying, 'This isn't a new generation; everything you have continues forward and it works.' We think of this as a family of devices."

Depending on how Project Scorpio is received and how the launch goes accompanied by title launches, Microsoft may look to plan ahead with a different roadmap to what we've seen from the company thus far with consoles. But should you wish to enjoy some virtual reality experience, you'll need to fork out for Project Scorpio once the console has been launched.

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

  • Just in case people start complaining about this "exclusivity" thing or whine about the previous versions being left behind..*******************************************************
    The Xbox One was released as a next gen console and nowhere had it ever been rumoured to be VR compatible. Hence, no one was buying an Xbox One with the promise of being able to do VR gaming in the long term. Xbox as a platform has no VR gamers as of now. The Scorpio will be a new upgraded console, much more powerful than the current Xbox Ones available and it will be able to process VR gaming. This is a new feature for the console and the platform itself and one of the selling points going forward.*******************************************************
    NONETHELESS, Microsoft are committed to making sure no gamer gets left behind. Those games that will get released on the Scorpio? Yeah, sorry mr Publisher/Developer guy, you'll have to make this game available for the entire Xbox family. It's only fair cause why should you or I get punished for it? No need. So we will get the same games. They will look better on the Scorpio thanks to the sheer amount of power the console will have but this is just natural and expected.*******************************************************
    HOWEVER, with the Scorpio, comes a new feature. VR-gaming. A step to the future and what is to expected from the next few years. Scorpio will powerful enough to support VR-gaming. And that's great. This is a selling point for the new hardware, it's something people will be interested in but won't feel betrayed about. Now, for technical reasons, those games will only be able to run on a Scorpio console. And that's normal. Just like you can't get a Ferrari engine and slap it on your scooter and expect to run in F1 with it, you can't expect a VR-game to work on a non-VR compatible machine. It won't work. The X1 was not meant to have VR.
  • So.. just like the OTA DVR, VR could be put "on hold" in the future?
  • Two completely different things.
  • I think the issue is what happens after scorpio/neo? Will developers continue to be forced to develop for 3-4 versions of hardware? Because at some point, they will have to develop for 2-3+ and this means people in the middle or bottom will likely get the shaft, or we will see some watered down quality. This isn't just an Xbox issue. This is a PS4 Neo issue as well.   In my opinion, I don't see newer GAMES being forever backwards compatible with older hardware. Hardware can be backwards compatible with older software, but not the other way around. There is just too much extra work involved. Its not just textures, its effects, game mechanics and various levels of immersion which pose fundamental problems in design, which aren't as simple as including smaller textures. There are ways to ease the load on the older hardware like we do with PC games using sliders for particle effects, anti aliasing and resolution(Meaning you may be playing on 640x480), but again, this leads to a lesser quality title being released, than if the game were developed specifically for a console itself. So to make newer games work, the fundamental mechanics can't really change without insane development budgets, and you'll have to scale back textures, resolution, aliasing etc, in order to make the software run on older hardware while retaining those advanced mechanics. You could argue that if publishers created three separate games optimized for each hardware revision, then each game is then more compatible with more hardware and a larger audience to sell to and thus more revenue, but I don't think that will make up the difference, especially for smaller titles, or those whose financial outcome may be on the riskier side. That isn't conducive to a healthy, diverse software market and definitely not Indie developers. So if we want SOFTWARE backwards compatiblity among multiple hardware revisions, then we will typically have to deal with the 'slider degredation' due to budget and time constraints. Again, I'm not saying this is really all that bad, its much better than throwing out my entire game collection, accessories and systems every 5-7 years. But I think they need to admit that the quality of gameplay/visual fidelity will not be as good, and that titles should be retained when you upgrade so that the higher quality could be enjoyed. I think they could at least require publishers to provide 'graphical presets' which allow a title to be usable for at least the current and last 'gen' of hardware or two. If there is new hardware every 3 years, this wouldn't leave you any worse off than you were as it is now. I also have a feeling, that when PS4 and XB1 are officially past their '7 year' generational window, all games released after that will indeed follow a "This gen and last gen" compatibility model. Possibly even a second previous gen hardware compatibility setting making the game officially support three hardware revisions. If they upgrade hardware every two years even, they would only need to provide 'legacy compatibility' with two generations. A two year revision cycle would mean there wouldn't be drastic differences in hardware capability like we're seeing here on the pioneering transition to 4K and VR. Every subsequent revision would be somewhat minor, making the software calibrations necessary to function across multiple versions much more smooth. So to make it work, they'd simply have downsampled textures, reduced effects or lower resolutions for the two lesser hardware revisions, and your console is still technically good for 6+ years, and games will be available immediately. No waiting for a year for games to start rolling out. The idea of buying a couple of games which play at a somewhat degraded quality at my console's end of life, while I decide when to upgrade my console isn't so bad. Games which I'll also be able to bring with me and play on my new console at full fidelity without purchasing the title a second time. The alternative is having the absolute lack of game selection during the first year or so of a console launch that early adopters are familiar with and buying titles multiple times. So would you rather have little or no games for a year when a console is launched or slightly degraded visual quality on a lot of games, which may then be brought to new hardware and enjoyed at full fidelity? And if people want to stick Call of Duty 7 into their Day One Xbox One which may not be officially supported, let them. Just show a disclaimer regarding degraded video quality and if they can live with 15FPS, so be it. They can upgrade when they want and play it on their new console, just like you can upgrade your computer.
  • "In my opinion, I don't see newer GAMES being forever backwards compatible with older hardware." Of course not. I'm thinking 3-4 years and no more than 5 after the newest system comes out. 
  • Will they be using Windows Holographic for this?
  • HoloLens is AR (augmented reality), not VR (virtual reality).
  • Incorrect. He's talking about Windows Holographic which is Microsoft's OS for both AR and VR. To answer Danny's question, I guess it's very much possible. Many OEMs have committed to the OS and I dont really see any other players on the OS level...
  • I would stick to console gaming rather than vr. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Did I miss something? Have ms announced a vr unit or are they being rift compatible?
  • Ideally, Microsoft holographic takes off in some meaningful way which could allow VR headsets from multiple manufacturers to work with Scorpio. How nice would it be if there were choices available from high end rift type devices ($700ish) down to devices with fewer bells & whistles ($200ish) but would give players a feel for VR? I'd hate to see only one, expensive, device work with the new console.
  • I hope it won't cost too much. at 450-500€ price point I might wanna buy it
  • I'm hoping for multiple options. 4k with 3D surround sound for $600+ to versions at 1080p and stereo sound for
  • Already the plan. Pay big bucks = Project Scorpio, pay less = Xbox One.
  • Right, for the console. I was speaking to the additional head mounted displays. When I get the Scorpio, likely around $600, I'm not sure I'll want to spend another $600 for the VR. However, if there was a value option that maybe didn't have all the high end features for $200-$300 I might be willing to take the leap. Sorry that I wasn't clear before.
  • Microsoft are making the right noises. At a time when digital libraries are quickly becoming the norm, it would be wise for them to ensure those games can always be played. I certainly wouldn't want to move to a console where my current library isn't playable 100%. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I just hope that it's compatible with the Vive. If it becomes a closed ecosystem with a proprietary headset it would put me off. Though by then they may have improved and they may have more to add. I would prefer the choice.
  • That's to be expected.
  • I think this is kind of hilarious. I agree completely with what Microsoft is doing, however they are presenting this like this is some new concept.  Welcome to PC gaming folks, where the same game can run on a GTX 750 or a GTX 1080.  The same games scaling over various levels of hardware is basically what PC gaming has always been.  Now that the Xbox One and PS4 is using x86 tech I figured this is what is going to happen. This is only new to console gaming. People are getting excited over nothing. 
  • This is a new concept in the console space. It's different than PC since the Xbox hardware is still fixed. Now instead of having one hardware configuration to target, they have two. That's not the same as targeting thousands of configurations. The architecture doesn't have anything to do with this either. They could have easily done this with a PowerPC based system.
  • That's what I said- it's new to consoles. I disagree about the PowerPC issue. There was not an incentive to do it from a developer perspective. Xbox 360, PS3 and PCs all used different architectures. Deveopers can now create content that can span over consoles and PCs because they all use x86 architectures now. 
  • So console gamers are getting excited over nothing because the consoles are moving closer to the PC without all the problems PC's have compared to consoles?
  • I guess excited was the wrong term. I am talking about all the negativity. Some console gamers are upset about it and don't understand what is actually being done. This is a good thing imho. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Like mobile, good things always at least year away.
  • Sony messed up entirely by making there own cheap VR unit. With less resolution and less framerate. Scorpio will be compatible with Rift and Vive. And provide twice the experience of Morpheus. SONY ARE THROWING THIS LEAD AWAY FAST.
  • Why don't msft do a VR hardware? It has the Windows Holographic as well as the Xbox expertise. Something merged to deliver PC and console gaming experience.
  • Nadella hates hardware. It's less risky for short term options package to buy trendy unprofitable dotcom bubble websites.