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Nyren's Corner: Xbox Scorpio Games Might Be More than Texture Resolution Bumps of Xbox One Games

Render of the Scorpio dev kit courtesy of Gamasutra.

As expected, Microsoft is now putting Scorpio on full info blast. And while we may not see any games actually running on the device until E3 in June, we can at least make assumptions based on the information being put out there. We already know that the consumer model of the latest Xbox will be at least 4 times more powerful than the Xbox One and twice as powerful as the PS4 Pro. I could go over the exact specs for the thirteenth time, but I’m sure you’re all tired of hearing that and some of you may not even understand anything more than higher is better. So we’ll leave it at that.


What this article reveals, however, is that the latest iteration of the Scorpio dev kit has changed based on developer feedback. The specs have been doubled in the dev kit, making it so that developers can make a really beefy version of their game and then downscale it to the consumer Scorpio specs, then downscale that version to the Xbox One S’s specs, and then from there to the base Xbox One which admittedly is about the same as the X1S’s specs.

Normally, in a case like this, the game would be developed for the base Xbox One and then upscaled to the more powerful system, this usually results in nothing more than textures getting a resolution bump, a screen resolution bump, and maybe a framerate bump. However, here we see that working in reverse. By starting on Scorpio(Though with double the power.), developers can make the best looking version of their game possible and match it to Scorpio’s specs, then move some sliders to make it work on the base Xbox One.

Three biggest differences: 40 compute units in the consumer box, 44 in the dev kit which increases the TFLOP’s to 6.6. The RAM is doubled to 24GB in the dev kit with 20 likely being usable by devs. And a 1TB SSD is added in addition to the 1TB HDD.

As the chart shows, not everything got a bump in the dev kit, but where they did increase it makes a difference. Granted, you won’t see any of that in the consumer box and I’m sure you wouldn’t want to see the price on that bad boy. To further back me up though on why this is a good thing, here’s a quote from the article:

““At a high level, it’s much easier for a game developer to come in higher and tune down, than come in lower and tune up. Or nail it. That just rarely happens,” said Gammill, by way of explaining why the Scorpio dev kit is a bit beefier than its retail counterpart. “Our overarching design principle was to make it easy for devs to hit our goals: 4K resolution, 4K textures, rocksteady framerates, HDR, wide color gamut, and spatial audio.””


Basically what is being said echoes what I said above. Downscaling from a higher spec version is easier and will result in a better version of the game for the better hardware, while upscaling from a lower spec version would be more difficult, likely more time consuming, and result in a better version of the game that may not be using the system to its fullest extent. Of course, a similar result could be achieved if they were developing the game exclusively for Scorpio without taking the base Xbox One into account. The approach they’re taking here is the best way to solve the problem of developing a game for two system, made easier by the fact that the internals, while beefier and better, are still relatively the same.

Now, having said all of that, I am curious what you all think of this. So feel free to leave comments below and discuss.

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