May 18, 2017
Microsoft made most of its console fans very happy with the announcement of Project Scorpio. While the console is not available yet, its specifications already show us that it will be a force to be reckoned with—its specifications exceed those of most average gaming machines, and the performance that will come with it will finally make players constantly bragging about the "PC master race" shut up once and for all. While many of the aspects of the new console are unknown at this time, we know enough about it to do a quick comparison to desktop gaming configurations to see whether or not it measures up. The short answer is: it does!

Raw Power

To build a PC with the power equivalent of Microsoft's Project Scorpio, gamers have to reach deep into their pockets. After all, an octa-core CPU clocked at 2.3 GHz paired with 12 GB GDDR5 and a 6-TFLOPS AMD graphics chip (An approximate equivalent would be AMD's Radeon R9 390X, with a price tag of about $800 at Newegg!) doesn't grow on trees. You need to spend a lot of cash on this. Apart from that, Project Scorpio will support 4K and HDR, and—considering that games will be built especially with its hardware in mind—it will offer an experience that will most likely be superior to what any other platform, console or otherwise, will be able to offer. Recently, even Oculus' legendary developer John Carmack said, "For the same given paper specifications, a console will delivery twice the performance of a PC, and a PC will deliver twice the performance of a mobile part".

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality is another aspect of gaming an increasing number of players keep asking about. As you might expect, Microsoft is a bit behind on this front. Virtual reality is spreading continuously, mostly focused on PC at this time. While it hasn't become mainstream just yet (it still has some maturing and spreading to do to reach that state), it is becoming part of many people's lives in one form or another. For example, among the games you can play from our partners at All Jackpots in Canada, there will soon be one that will take place inside a virtual room. The game has not released yet—All Jackpots want to wait for the technology to spread further—but it's ready already. Microgaming, the developer behind All Jackpots, already showcased it at a trade show in 2016, with resounding success. There are many developers sitting on their games because virtual reality technology hasn't matured enough. Project Scorpio's approach of high-fidelity virtual reality experiences may convert even more players but only time will tell. Going back to Microgaming, it's only a question of time until even All Jackpots will go virtual, as PlayStation 4 Pro already has. How about Project Scorpio then? Microsoft need to share their plans at E3 2017 because they can't let the competition best them another year.

A press release published by Microsoft earlier this year states, "Our plan is to bring mixed reality content to the Xbox One family of devices, including Project Scorpio, in 2018". The hardware of Project Scorpio is more than enough for virtual reality content—it just remains to be seen whether Microsoft will partner with either Oculus or HTC Vice or builds its own VR headset based on the work done on HoloLens. Will the budget headsets unveiled during Build 2017 work on Xbox One or Project Scorpio? We don't know yet but hopefully June 11 will provide some answers.


Now comes the most important subject. The price of Project Scorpio is unknown at this point but it sure won't cost much more than Sony's PlayStation 4 Pro, its direct competitor on the high-end gaming console market. Having a console that's too expensive for gamers is a surefire way to failure—Microsoft learned that with Xbox One's $499 launch price tag, and so did Sony with its ludicrous $599 PlayStation 3 (even though it was a revolutionary hardware solution and the cheapest Blu-ray player at the time). The PlayStation 4 Pro, with slightly weaker hardware, retails for $399. Launching at a significantly higher price might hurt Project Scorpio's debut, especially at a price point close to $500, as some sources already expect. Will Microsoft accept a lower price for their long-term success? It remains to be seen around this year's holiday season. Again, hopefully Microsoft will put all of our concerns to rest come E3 2017. They have to knock this one out of the park to erase the negativity surrounding the Xbox brand since 2013. We'll see what happens then.
Our score: /10

Great - An excellent piece of kit that offers value for money and adheres to high quality standards.
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