While Microsoft’s first reveal of Project Scorpio put a lot of emphasis on 4K gaming, the massive GPU upgrade over the Xbox One will provide a major visual upgrade for most of us still using 1080p.
Windows Central has some exclusive screenshots showing Scorpio in both 4K and 1080p. The photos aren’t actual games, but rather technical demos created to demonstrate what the console can handle. They were shown at a private Microsoft event.
The first demo shows a steampunk scientist in her lab and aims to show what developers can do with minimal effort; the shaders, textures and models are the same on both Xbox One and Project Scorpio, only the display resolution has been improved.
As we’d expect, the transition from 1080p on the Xbox One to 4K on Scorpio brings a substantial improvement in fine detail. This is especially noticeable with the demo character’s hair — it actually looks like individual strands rather than a weird blob — and the fabric used in her clothing. The only difference between the images is the display resolution – the models and textures are the same – but 4K reveals details that are invisible at 1080p. Her shirt, for example, appears to be made of smooth fabric at 1080p; at 4K we can clearly see the woven texture.
Much of this improvement remains when viewed at 1080p. 4K games run at a supersampled 1080p on Scorpio, and while this obviously doesn’t maintain all the fidelity the 4K image has to offer, the result is still significantly better than the Xbox One can handle.
Scorpio’s larger memory and more powerful GPU will also open the door to higher quality textures and 3D models and more complex rendering techniques. The second demo is designed to show what developers can do if they want to make Scorpio-specific improvements to their game. The Scorpio version includes better textures – most visible on the flower – and a more detailed model – it has hairs on the creature’s legs. There are also many smaller improvements, such as better normal maps, more advanced rendering, and fine-tuned post-processing. For example, the compound eye looks much better in the upgraded Scorpio version.
While 4K is still the best choice if you want to experience all of the power of Scorpio, these demos make it clear that the system has plenty to offer for 1080p gamers too; it will be able to consistently hit 1080p resolution (unlike the Xbox One), and with supersampling it will be able to far exceed the visual quality of Microsoft’s current consoles.