Microsoft emphasizing power with 2017's Xbox upgrade

With Scorpio revision, reported to be released in 2017, Microsoft hopes to one-up PS4 'Neo.'

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Following today's report from Kotaku and Microsoft blogger Brad Sams, Microsoft wants its major Xbox revision planned for 2017, codename Scorpio, to outperform PlayStation 4 Neo in terms of raw power.

This updated info comes from sources that spoke to Polygon. The original PS4 operates at 1.84 teraflops. Compare that to Xbox One's 1.32 teraflops, which has given Sony an edge. According to Polygon's sources, Xbox "Scorpio" will aim to hit peak performance at 6 teraflops. On the other hand, the PS4 Neo documents given to Giant Bomb's Austin Walker show Sony's updated console shooting for 4.14 teraflops.

"Microsoft is determined to end this narrative," Polygon writes.

"Teraflops" probably doesn't mean much to most consumers. The long and short of it is that Microsoft wants Scorpio to outpace PS4 Neo in terms of framerate and resolution: faster, steadier, prettier—all key adjectives in communicating "We're better than our competition."

Next year's Xbox upgrade may also receive a redesigned controller.

Scorpio won't make its way to consumers until sometime in 2017. In the meantime, today's report indicates that Microsoft plans to unveil a slimmer Xbox One at E3 next month, likely to start a push to get the slimmer console into consumers' hands this holiday season.

Long Reads Editor

David L. Craddock writes fiction, nonfiction, and grocery lists. He is the author of the Stay Awhile and Listen series, and the Gairden Chronicles series of fantasy novels for young adults. Outside of writing, he enjoys playing Mario, Zelda, and Dark Souls games, and will be happy to discuss at length the myriad reasons why Dark Souls 2 is the best in the series. Follow him online at davidlcraddock.com and @davidlcraddock.

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  • reply
    May 25, 2016 3:45 PM

    David Craddock posted a new article, Microsoft emphasizing power with 2017's Xbox upgrade

    • reply
      May 25, 2016 3:48 PM

      Bummer, they should focus more on TV. It worked well that first round.

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        May 25, 2016 3:52 PM

        They need to hit 360 Teraflops to re-focus on TV

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        May 25, 2016 5:22 PM

        I'm still trying to figure out why they went that route as TV is steadily dying. It's not as if subscriptions are going to go back up unless the price comes down, which would still indicate less money happening in that space.

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        May 26, 2016 8:23 AM

        And sports. More sports.

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      May 25, 2016 3:50 PM

      Can someone put teraflops into a unit that I can understand? How many baconators?

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        May 25, 2016 3:53 PM

        Yes

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        May 25, 2016 4:01 PM

        Teraflops is a unit of measurement equal to 10^12 operations per second. PS4 Neo will have 4 teraflops and change; Xbox 2 (may) have 6.

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        May 25, 2016 4:01 PM

        6 TFLOPs is almost a 1070's worth, which was said to supposedly be 6.5. The 1080 is supposed to be 9 TFLOPS from what was published early on.

        I seriously doubt real world performance will approach PC GPUs unless these consoles are going to be $800 premum versions (lol no), but it's nice to see them shooting for a multiple-fold increase in power. They need it.

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        May 25, 2016 4:26 PM

        37.3 million trump hands

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        May 25, 2016 5:51 PM

        “You know what? "Kilowatt-hour per sol" is a pain in the ass to say. I'm gonna invent a new scientific unit name. One kilowatt-hour per sol is... it can be anything... um... I suck at this... I'll call it a "pirate-ninja".”

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        May 25, 2016 5:54 PM

        [deleted]

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        May 25, 2016 7:52 PM

        We need more of them!

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      May 25, 2016 4:07 PM

      Seems like a smart move, the (projected) performance gap between xb1->ps4 is about proportional to neo->scorpio. But if VR is a major part of these companies' strategies, the neo->scorpio performance delta could possibly be perceived as significantly greater than xb1->ps4.

      Whatever it is, sounds like it may be kinda pricey. I wouldn't be surprised if they upped the amount of sytem RAM as well (8GB->12GB), since scorpio looks like it could (modestly?) handle 4k gaming.

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      May 25, 2016 4:24 PM

      Wait this is really happening? I thought this was one of those things console companies talk about and never do. Did no one learn anything from the 32X?

      Or are they gonna call this the Xbone 2?

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        May 25, 2016 4:30 PM

        I think it makes sense. Manufacturers have almost no choice but to move to iterative updates: they can't confine consoles to 2-3 years and then expect people to jettison their library of games and buy all new ones, nor can they afford to let a console last 6+ years because PCs and mobile platforms move too fast.

        Iterations are the best of both worlds: an upgraded box every 2-3 years, with new games plus compatibility with old ones.

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          May 26, 2016 8:21 AM

          Thing is, what can a 2-3 year Xbox cycle accomplish that a good Steam Machine from Alienware running Windows can't?

          Xbox exclusive games are pretty much it. And that's an artificial limitation. If your game runs on Xbone it runs on the PC, it's just a question of binaries and support. And preconfigured Steam Machines in the wild will limit the number of configurations.

          I know the Steam Machine is not a contender today but I think compared to the consoles it'll be good at playing the long game.

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            May 26, 2016 8:29 AM

            This is Microsoft essentially turning the Xbox into a steam machine. They want PC and Xbox to converge.

            They just bowed out of the mobile game. If Microsoft wants to have a platform in people's homes long term, they're not going to be on their tablet or their phone. That leaves Xbox and maybe hololens.

            So in doing this, they're trying to make the Xbox replace the PC as their foothold in the consumer space. They can't do that if the device has a 7 year development cycle when every other consumer device is replaced in 1-2 years.

            So I think it's the right move, but time will tell. They'll probably launch some sort of 'Google home' thing as well, maybe under the Xbox brand.

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              May 26, 2016 8:45 AM

              That makes sense, but my gut is telling me that if MS does have a long-term strategy, it's most likely not to get their hardware in every single home. Consoles have always been:

              * Very tied down / proprietary
              * Crazy expensive to design, manufacture and support
              * Limited shelf-life

              It doesn't make sense to keep fighting that battle over and over. The hardware needs to be relegated to a non-priority, especially since hardware isn't MS's strong suit in the first place. If I were MS, I'd be trying to convert my business model over to games as a service. Who cares what hardware you buy, you can run xbox on it (provided it's sufficiently powerful). That allows them to offer streaming services (way down the line when the infrastructure supports it), or some kind of digital redbox like game rental service they can repeatedly charge gamers for. It also allows them to build out software infrastructure on their azure platform for MP game servers, crash reporting, analytics, and all other kinds of good stuff they can repeatedly charge developers for.

              After all these years, MS is probably sick of looking at all the losses in the xbox/entertainment division. They own Windows, they need to leverage that (UWP) along with their azure platform and beat Sony over the head with it, instead of trying to beat Sony at their own game.

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        May 25, 2016 4:36 PM

        This really is nothing like the 32X if they and Sony are smart about it. If every game runs on both versions of the system there are no issues.

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        May 25, 2016 5:56 PM

        Yep it's happening with the big push for VR.. They really need more power to hit ~90fps.

        I think from this point on they will probably keep everything backward compatible if they are really going to do system refresh every 3-4yrs

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        May 25, 2016 6:13 PM

        Well they got blindsided by vr... you gotta think that both ps4 and xbone were deep in development when Palmer Lucky started his kickstarter and they had no way of knowing that stuff like rift and vive would exist now.
        This is a good thing tho xbone and ps4 were both half assed consoles that were outdated on launch. Hopefully both teams learned from that and looked back on the 360/ps3 launches and what made those special consoles.

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      May 25, 2016 4:44 PM

      I'll bite. I've enjoyed my Xbone Destiny machine and prefer the MS controller layout over the Sony one. Then my current Xbone can be dedicated to the boys for Skylanders, etc. I fully intend on picking up a Neo for the few PS4 exclusives I want to play (Horizon: Zero Dawn).

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      May 25, 2016 5:54 PM

      This makes sense if they require you to have scorpio to do VR. But, at the same time, like Sony, they're probably require VR games to be fully backwards compatible with the regular system. IDK. This is all kinda weird. Nothing saying we'll even hear details about this at E3. They might save it for next year and do a holiday release. Except, if Sony get Neo out this year, that'll be a year headstart. However, it's not clear what kind of catalog Sony will have launch. With this kind of timing, you'd think MS would be ready with killer apps ready to go.

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      May 25, 2016 10:34 PM

      Nope, sorry, still not believing it. Let's hear the horse say it for himself.

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      May 26, 2016 8:29 AM

      I read the headline and think "oh shit, MS has confirmed the rumor? ... oh, this is just repeating the same rumor."

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      May 26, 2016 9:27 AM

      Quick console turnaround is just going to drive me towards a PC instead.

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        May 26, 2016 10:02 AM

        A 4 year upgrade cycle is about on par with what you would do with PCs, right

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          May 26, 2016 10:05 AM

          Except the ps4 was way behind the PC on release. It feels like I've missed way more not having a capable PC this time around than during previous generations. (Though I did have a capable of during previous generations and just didn't use it much)

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            May 26, 2016 11:16 AM

            Yeah, if you want the latest and greatest, consoles are not the way to go. Their other benefits outweigh the drawbacks for me, personally.

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      May 26, 2016 9:48 AM

      To bad 50% of those flops will be dedicated Kinect and tv support

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