/ Neo

Do the Specs Matter: Neo & Scorpio

The discussion of Xbox Scorpio and Playstation Neo is at a high with the Neo announcement around the corner and expected release dates, for both, within the next year and a half.

Can the gap in performance between the Scorpio and Neo show a noticeable difference in visual fidelity? Both platforms want this iteration to honor the current gen games and have continuing support for the original specs and the new hardware. The big feature both introduce is 4K console gaming.

Neither platforms have plans to produce two versions of each game, as to prevent confusion for the consumer; one product that can be used with every version of that platform. I believe this gives us a very good insight to what these improvements will bring. It should be a safe assumption that the physical disc will not contain two versions of assets, such as high/low resolution textures and high/low polygon count game models. Even if they did include those assets in 'high spec patches', that is still double the work for the artist who create them (could you imaging the HDD space requirements?!). The improved processing capabilities would be better used to maintain a consistent frame rate and improve the graphic fidelity by increasing features in shader programs, such as particle effects and anti-aliasing, etc. These methods are how PC games have historically adjusted the software to support better spec'ed hardware so why not adopt something similar? I am not sure the Xbox Scorpio will be able to fully utilize all of its power if it will try to maintain play-ability on the original Xbox One unless new assets are created specially for it. These features can greatly improve any software's visual appeal, while maintaining most of the original materials and easily be enough to set them apart from their predecessors.

I would like to reiterate that all of my thoughts are based on the idea that the Neo/Scorpio software are on the same discs as their PS4/X1 counterparts.

If you remove all the frivolous speculations and take these iterations as just 'consoles that are 4K gaming capable', they are both more than capable of delivering on those promises. The questions that need to be asked are: What are the price points? Will the notably higher spec Scorpio be more expensive than the conservative Neo? Why did Microsoft choose such a massive improvement?

I do expect a staggered pricing along the line of PS4>300, X1<300, Neo350-400, and Scorpio400+

The VR Battle

Scorpio(VR support included)+VR headset
Neo+PSVR(extra power included)
Several questions I would like answered in the next couple of months:

  • Was the Scorpio given so much more power just to compensate for future VR support without an extra processing unit?
  • Was the Neo given just enough power to support 4K gaming and let the PSVR carry the extra load with its add on processor to keep the base console cost down?
  • With VR support built-in the Scorpio base, will this raise the price above Neo?