Here's a look at Project Scorpio's Xbox dev kit, built to spec from developer feedback

Project Scorpio is the next Xbox, running a beastly 6 teraflops worth of GPU power, with 8-cores of heavily customized Jaguar CPUs. Microsoft has partnered with Gamasutra to offer a more in-depth look at how developers can leverage Project Scorpio dev kits to build their games, with some tantalizing new information on just how easy it will be for developers big and small to bring their games to the platform.

The Gamasutra article emphasizes how Microsoft has side-stepped the compatibility problem present in this mid-gen upgrade, which has seen Sony place a "boost mode" into their PlayStation 4 Pro to help non-patched games gain performance from the console's improved specs. Project Scorpio doesn't require any form of update to improve the performance of existing Xbox One games - they will run better automatically.

Microsoft is pitching the original Xbox One as the "minimum spec" developers should aim for while offering the opportunity to pile on Project Scorpio 4K assets for customers with that console.

The whole idea is to help developers hit native 4K, with 4K textures.

To accommodate developers, Project Scorpio will have a few additional compute units granting it 6.6 TFLOPS vs. the consumer version's 6.0. The dev kit also has double the GDDR5 RAM to hit 24GB, complete with an additional 1TB SSD for rapid deployment. Microsoft says that the additional GPU power is to help developers optimize their games downwards, rather than upwards. The whole idea is to help developers hit native 4K, with 4K textures, with HDR, wide color gamut, and Dolby Atmos spatial audio.

Microsoft reiterates that the Xbox One's ESRAM was axed due to developer requests and that developers will be able to access 8 GB of Scorpio's 12 for building their games. Microsoft also baked DX12 features directly into the hardware, substantially reducing the load on Scorpio's internals. Developers will, however, still need to leverage ESRAM for the Xbox One versions of their games, as Project Scorpio will not have any exclusives by policy (save for VR, potentially.)

Project Scorpio's dev kits stacked (via Gamasutra).

Project Scorpio's dev kits stacked (via Gamasutra).

Microsoft has been careful with its considerations for the dev kit. Placing the vents on the sides rather than the top to help with stacking, with a front panel display for real-time information, and an extra ethernet port for transmitting debug data. Microsoft is also ensuring the Scorpio dev kits come with high-speed data transfer cables and a seamless set-up experience to help developers reduce deployment time and promote efficiency.

One of my personal worries pertained to whether or not developers would have issues bringing third-party engines to Project Scorpio. Apparently, Microsoft is seeing similar results to Turn 10 Studios who build Forza, in that developers are bringing their games to the new Scorpio dev kit in record time:

"What we've seen with some of the middleware partners, the first-party and third-party partners, people have actually been able to come in, get their game running, and running at 4K, in less than a day."

It certainly seems like Microsoft is clearing out every scrap of Scorpio hardware information ahead of E3 2017 so that the focus can be placed firmly on its games lineup. For the full rundown on Project Scorpio's shiny new development kit, head over to Gamasutra.

More: Everything you need to know about Project Scorpio

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

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!

  • So Scorpio will look mostly like this dev kit prototype? I like that look))
  • Which looks like the Xbox One S
  • Well yeah it does but don't just leave it at that cos it is different. A little thicker and a little longer
  • Just the way she likes
  • it should be, they want the scorpio look like xbox one s that tells customers it is a part of xbox one family and not a new xbox 
  • Hmm... looks a lot like this: Not that that's a bad thing
  • it looks like im the only one who doesn't like it. i hate that it is so rectangular. the s bottom part is tucked away, giving a float look to it, this is just two tone, yuck! the OG xb1 had some design to it. i hope the consumer version doesn't look like this...
  • @vanpride64. The OG Xbox 1 resembles a VCR player from aeons past..... The OG Xbox 1 had zero design by design they wanted to ensure the SOC had sufficient cooling hence the whopping fan under the grill. Simply, no more RRODesque issues
  • The only Scorpio information left for E3 will be looks and price, if I had to guess.
  • games and vr details 
  • But since there are no exclusive games for the Scorpio games are for all products of the XboxOne family.
  • Only the Scorpio will be able to do VR so there should be some exclusive content besides the better looking games for the entire family of Xbox.
  • VR is not part of the release program. VR games will come later.
  • They're supposed to showoff the box and give the price of the system this coming Thursday with Digital Foundry again.
  • Where did you here that?
  • Are you sure about that, sweet if true?!? They must be far closer to shipping than what everyone had originally speculated!
  • This shows the looks already. Notice the One and One S dev kits behind it. They look like the consumer version. So the Scorpio will look like the one on the picture too (I mean it could look radically different but it's highly unlikely).
  • It looks small but without a controller it's hard to guess. The aesthetics are practical but not beautiful in my opinion. I think the consumer product will look different.
    But to be honest I don't care. It could look like a white block and I wouldn't care. I want it to be mostly silent. That's all what I want.
  • This is also a dev kit and isn't intended to look pretty.....
  • That's what I said. It's practical nothing more.
  • Looking forward to Scorpio's release. Hopefully 4k TVs with HDMI 2.1 will hit the market by then as well.
  • I'll definitely pick one of these up when they release - Just really hope I don't miss out on the pre-orders.
  • Guys, what do you think? Should I buy a One S next month, or should I wait for Scorpio to come out? Btw, my TV is a 40 inch 1080p Sony Bravia, so 4K isn't so important for me. But maybe Scorpio will be better in 1080p as well, so I don't know.
  • If you don't mind waiting and spending more money, go with the Scorpio. It's already confirmed that you will see a benefit on a 1080p display.
  • I like the idea that E3 can be game heavy. They certainly need to grab mindshare, in terms of stuff worth playing.
  • It looks like the One S but in worse. Which is good. It matches the new horrible and unusable UI.
  • well if the Dev. kit can be more powerful, that is promising for Scorpio.  Because if needed they can always give it a bit of a bump if needed through hardware.
  • You can always improve specs by adding more hardware. Dev kits usually cost thousands of dollars, so it's not a surprise that MS can afford to put beefier specs in it. Both the PS3 and Xbox 360 dev kits had twice the RAM of the consumer versions, for the same reason that it's most important to get a game running, then optimize it to fit in the consumer hardware.
  • Dev kit is cool. Adjusting the platform to be more scalable and modular from a software dev perspective is where the real value is at. It brings Xbox another giant step towards parity with PC dev cycle which in turn positions "Windows" as the common and dominant gaming platform whether your appliance is an Xbox or a Dell PC. The console "war" is nearly over.