There’s Nothing Confusing About Xbox One S and Project Scorpio

Since the announcement of Microsoft’s two new systems joining the Xbox One family; Xbox One S and Project Scorpio, it’s been hard to avoid countless articles from various gaming journalists confessing their confusion surrounding the new hardware. My gripe with this? It’s not all that confusing at all. I’m not exactly technically intelligent when it comes to gaming hardware myself but even a novice such as myself at least understands what these new pieces of hardware are bringing, so why do people with marginally more experience and expertise claim to find it so confusing?

Let’s kick things off by laying out the basic details of the Xbox One S, Microsoft’s slimmed down version of the Xbox One.

  • 40% smaller than current Xbox One
  • 4K upscaling
  • HDR (high dynamic range) support – higher contrast ratio between lights and darks
  • Internal power supply
  • IR blaster

What about Project Scorpio, then?

  • Release date of Holiday 2017
  • Not an entirely new, separate console. An addition to the Xbox One family
  • Bringing ‘true’ 4K gaming and VR
  • 6 TFLOPs of GPU power (“It’s a monster”)
  • Backwards and forwards compatible – all existing and future Xbox One games will run on both Xbox One (S) and Scorpio

Famed developer Cliff Bleszinski “Really Isn’t A Fan Of Project Scorpio” according to Kotaku Australia. He gave his view on Microsoft having multiple SKUs on the market simultaneously:

“Is Microsoft going full Sega 32x and Mega CD right now? I think it’s weird. The way the branding’s going, it feels like the way Mercedes name their cars in the United States, y’know; the S class! The SOK! The SK! Which fucking one is this? Consumers only have enough time and attention for that. It’s like dude, are you trying to turn the Xbox into a PC? What’s going on right now?”

He rhetorically asks is Microsoft going full Sega 32x and the answer is a definitive no. The 32X used its own ROM cartridges and had its own library of games. Xbox One S and Project Scorpio are fully backwards and forwards compatible with Xbox One. He then posits another rhetorical question; asking if Microsoft is turning Xbox into a PC and ‘what’s going on right now?’ Nope. Your console is still a closed system as always, Phil’s confirmed he won’t be shipping a screwdriver with every Xbox One, it’s Microsoft flexing their muscles in greater convergence between their two platforms; providing more options for gamers.

He also criticized the inclusion of VR on Project Scorpio, despite confessing to be an avid supporter of VR on console previously: “Sony’s VR Is Solid” and yet feigns to be confused over how VR will work on Xbox. Well, as someone who doesn’t even fully understand how VR works, I can make a safe assumption that Oculus or whatever partner Microsoft teams up with will create an Xbox One set-up interface designed specifically for Xbox owners. After all, set-up is inevitably going to be more difficult on PC considering the amount of variables involved but as a closed system, there’s no reason why Xbox’s installation process for VR won’t be more streamlined.

In a case of hyperbole, CraveOnline claimed that Microsoft killed the Xbox One S by announcing the Scorpio, something which is clearly not the case since Xbox One S is and will be significantly cheaper and an “entry-level” device into the Xbox One family. Less controversially, the same site posited that ‘Microsoft is being misleading about the Xbox One Scorpio‘ writing that “comments that developers can use these 6 teraflops as they see fit make it appear to be downright untrue” and recalled Microsoft’s 2013 launch on the Xbox One as a possibility for Microsoft to repeat past mistakes:

“Microsoft struggled to regain their footing with consumers after the mixed messages the company sent out during the initial unveiling of the Xbox One, and these two separate interviews with Phil Spencer suggest that this trend could unfortunately continue with the release of the Xbox One Scorpio”

This kicked off when Microsoft’s Phil Spencer came out in two separate interviews saying that owners of a 1080p console won’t see the benefits of Scorpio while later suggesting that games that adopt dynamic resolution technology will run at a more stable and locked 1080p rather than variations seen in standard Xbox One versions of said game e.g. Halo 5. Is CraveOnline right to call it misleading? Phil elaborated on his statement within hours explaining that the frame buffer of previously released Xbox One games mean they won’t suddenly start running at 4K on the Scorpip, you can get a more stable 1080p but is that really worth the inevitably high price point of the Scorpio? It seems Phil doesn’t want to oversell the benefits of Scorpio for 1080p tv owners because after all the console is designed as a true 4K console for 4K TVs.

Microsoft’s PR hasn’t been perfect though. Head of First Party Studios Publishing Shannon Loftis mentioned that whether there would be exclusive games for the newly announced Xbox One Scorpio or not was “up to the game development community.” However, Aaron Greenberg tweeted out a different answer:

Within hours, Shannon Loftis corrected her earlier statement also:

There it is, no games will release exclusively on Scorpio, games will be required to also be able to run on Xbox One, whereby it’ll be similar to a PC version whereby settings might range from ‘medium’ to ‘ultra’ between the two versions. Developers do this all the time with PC, it’ll be no different on console.

If you’re still reading and you’re still confused then here’s yet another recap with a brief summary.

Xbox One S

  • 40% smaller than current Xbox One
  • 4K upscaling
  • HDR (high dynamic range) support – higher contrast ratio between lights and darks
  • Internal power supply
  • IR blaster

Project Scorpio

  • Release date of Holiday 2017
  • Not an entirely new, separate console. An addition to the Xbox One family
  • Bringing ‘true’ 4K gaming and VR
  • 6 TFLOPs of GPU power (“It’s a monster”)
  • Backwards and forwards compatible – all existing and future Xbox One games will run on both Xbox One (S) and Scorpio

Polygon’s Arthur Gies rounded it up in a very concise manner:

It’s not confusing when you actually sit and consider it and do a bit of research on the matter. A plethora of forum posters have followed this narrative as a way of attacking the Xbox One but don’t buy into it.


Have some thoughts of your own on this matter? Leave a comment below to let us know what you’re thinking.

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2 Comments

  1. This was a great read! 😀 So happy to see someone being logical for once about all of this. I find all of this new Xbox stuff to be exciting, as Microsoft seems ot have a clear vision for Xbox and they really care about gamers. I keep seeing all sorts of articles that are spouting negativity and terrible logic so I am happy to see someone that doesn’t do that. Also, Cliff Bleszinski seems a bit like an idiot. I mean, really? Comparing this stuff to the 32x?

    So in all, this was a nice read. 🙂

  2. Some in media are just been thick for sake of having a go at Microsoft, there message for slim n Scorpio was clear to me but then I’m not dumb.

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