Who doesn’t love a little corporate tete-a-tete now and again? After the PlayStation 4 Pro reveal yesterday, Microsoft have bitten back, extolling the virtues of the Xbox One S and the upcoming Project Scorpio, their own mid-generation hardware update that is planned for release at the end of 2017.
In a statement, Microsoft said, “At Xbox, our goal is to put gamers at the centre of everything we do. The new hardware available now and next year was designed with that in mind to give gamers a choice in how they play.
“Starting at £249, Xbox One S is the only console available today with built-in 4K Blu-ray – a value price compared to 4K Blu-ray players. It also offers 4K video streaming plus HDR for video and gaming.
“Launching holiday 2017, Project Scorpio is the next member of the Xbox One family and will be the most powerful console ever created with 6TFLOPS capable of delivering true 4K gaming.”
That’s all nice, and pushes the virtues of their own hardware, but Aaron Greenberg, Head of Xbox Games Marketing, got a little more fiery on Twitter:
— Aaron Greenberg (@aarongreenberg) September 7, 2016
The emphasis is on the “true” here, as the PlayStation 4 Pro has to employ an advanced post-processing technique called checkerboarding in order to reach the heady heights of 4K. Microsoft may be able to avoid that thanks to a much more powerful GPU, which is what helps the Scorpio have 6TFLOPS of processing power, versus the PS4 Pro’s 4.2TFLOPS. While checkboarding is a powerful process, having truly native 4K resolutions would obviously provide a better image.
The same is true of the UHD Blu-ray drive in the Xbox One S, which both PS4 models lack. Their media playback is limited to the heavily compressed 4K streams from the likes of Netflix and YouTube, as a consequence.
Speaking to Polygon, Microsoft’s Albert Penello said, “I feel pretty good about the decisions we’ve made,” later adding that “We announced this year to give developers more time to familiarize themselves with the hardware,” and that “It’s interesting that we’ve arrived in a similar place.”
The console war looks like it’s getting a little bit hotter again. This should be fun.