When Microsoft’s Project Scorpio releases in holiday 2017, it will “be the most powerful console ever created with 6TFLOPS capable of delivering true 4K gaming,” the company has said. In comparison, the PlayStation 4 Pro launching this holiday has 4.2TFLOPS of power and, according to Xbox planning lead Albert Penello, that “is not enough to do true 4K.”
Speaking with Eurogamer, Penello talked about how there’s a lot of asterisks around Sony’s PS4 Pro 4K marketing:
To go back to your original point about salting the competition or trying to be aggressive against them. I think there are a lot of caveats they’re giving customers right now around 4K. They’re talking about checkerboard rendering and up-scaling and things like that. There are just a lot of asterisks in their marketing around 4K, which is interesting because when we thought about what spec we wanted for Scorpio, we were very clear we wanted developers to take their Xbox One engines and render them in native, true 4K. That was why we picked the number, that’s why we have the memory bandwidth we have, that’s why we have the teraflops we have, because it’s what we heard from game developers was required to achieve native 4K.
Now, similarly to what Sony said, that doesn’t mean I’m going to require developers to do this. They’re going to be able to decide to take that six teraflops of power and do what they think is best for their game. But I know that 4.2 teraflops is not enough to do true 4K. So, I feel like our product aspired a little bit higher, and we will have fewer asterisks around the 4K experiences we deliver on our box.
However, Penello agrees with Sony’s Andrew House that PS4 Pro’s 4K marketing isn’t misleading. “I would actually say that if you go look at their marketing and look at what Cerny said, they talk about checkerboard rendering,” he said. “They’ve been very open about it. I’m not accusing them of anything. They’ve been very open about the compromises around 4K.”
Although Microsoft hasn’t said if Project Scorpio will include a 4K Blu-ray player, Penello said, “You could assume that would be our intent, but we don’t have anything specific on that.” A price for Scorpio hasn’t been announced either, and when Eurogamer brought up that the $399 USD PS4 Pro is expected to be cheaper, Penello replied, “It will be an interesting discussion next time we chat!”
As for Microsoft’s response to the PS4 Pro after it was announced, Penello downplayed it being the start of a more aggressive Microsoft. “Clearly, you and I are going to talk about Sony and us and why I think our product is better than their product,” he said. “But it doesn’t came with a disrespect for what they’re doing.”