Remember when we covered the emerging competition over the upcoming world of 4K console gaming earlier in the week? That competition just got a little more direct and personal, judging by the comments Microsoft head of Xbox planning Albert Penello made about the PS4 Pro in a recent Eurogamer interview.
“I know 4.2 teraflops isn’t enough to do true 4K,” Penello said, referring to the reported hardware power of the PS4 Pro, which launches in November for $400. aimed a bit higher, and we’ll have fewer stars around the 4K experiences we deliver on our box.”
Penello’s comments followed a more direct comparison between the “true 4K” capabilities of the upcoming Xbox One Scorpio (launching late next year, price unknown) and the PS4 Pro:
I think there’s a lot of caveats they’re giving customers right now around 4K. They talk about checkerboard rendering and upscaling and things like that. There’s just a lot of starlets in their marketing around 4K, which is interesting, because when we thought about what specs we wanted for Scorpio, we were very clear that we wanted developers to take their Xbox One engines and put them in native, true 4K would display. That’s why we chose the number, that’s why we have the memory bandwidth that we have, that’s why we have the teraflops that we have, because we heard from game developers that it was necessary to get to native 4K.
It’s a fair argument, at least as far as Sony’s system is concerned. PlayStation president Andrew House has said that “the majority [of PS4 Pro games] will be upscaled” to full 4K resolution. That statement echoes what we’ve heard from developers working on PS4 Pro upgrades, though at least one said the upscaling should be “almost indistinguishable” from a native 4K experience Microsoft, on the other hand, has promised that all of its first-party games on Scorpio will be rendered in native 4K, with no upscaling.
To be fair, Penello cut off his Eurogamer interview by saying his comments “[don’t] come with a lack of respect for what [Sony is] While Penello said he obviously wants to “emphasize the things that we think favor our product over their product,” that doesn’t mean he’s getting into “the historic ‘Sega does what Nintendon’t’ style frontal jabs that happened in the past.”
Penello also acknowledged that the relative value of “native 4K” to PS4 Pro-style upscaling can be subjective. “You and I both know that there will be people who claim with absolute certainty that the difference between 1080p and 900p is the most important thing, and anyone who says otherwise is blind,” he said. “And there will be people who say they can’t tell the difference. Both people are right in their own thoughts.”
Still, Penello’s comments are the clearest indication yet that Microsoft will use Scorpio’s claimed power advantage as a marketing baton to convince potential PS4 Pro buyers to wait for a better experience. Penello even articulated that argument quite directly in the interview: “The guys who want to do this mid-generation upgrade will get something significantly more powerful next year.”