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The newly-revealed Project Scorpio specs attest to the benefits of going second. Sorry, Sony.

It’s widely remarked that Sony is winning the current console generation. Sales have generally been higher of the hardware itself, while the raft of exclusives for the Japanese giant’s console have been more popular. Gears of War 4 and Forza Horizon 3 are great and all, but they can’t really stand alone against Uncharted 4, Bloodborne, The Last Guardian, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Nier: Automata, Nioh … you get the idea.

But when it came to the hardware refreshes, rather than stealing a march on Microsoft, Sony may well be counting the cost of going first.

The improvements in the PS4 Pro are, it’s fair to say, a little incremental. Yes, it does include 4K support, but the number of titles that support it natively are quite low. Instead the extra performance from the updated unit has typically either led to improved frame rates at standard HD, or visuals upscaled to a version of ultra HD (using clever chequerboard techniques) that sadly, can actually perform worse, in terms of frame rate and smoothness, than the vanilla game on the original console.

Hank Scorpio doomsday device

By going second, taking the time to understand Sony’s hardware choices with the PS4 Pro – and ultimately, do better – Microsoft have been able to put together some impressive figures for the Xbox Project Scorpio specs, as revealed today by Digital Foundry’s Richard Leadbetter, over on Eurogamer.

Project Scorpio Specs

  • CPU: Eight custom x86 cores, clocked at 2.3GHz
  • GPU: 40 customised compute units, at 1172MHz
  • Memory: 12GB GDDR5
  • Memory Bandwidth: 326GB/s
  • Hard Drive: 1TB 2.5 inch
  • Optical Drive: 4K UHD Blu-ray

Those numbers are impressive, but they’re a little meaningless without any frame of reference. Here’s how they stack up against the competition, in the original Xbox One/Xbox One S, original PS4, and the PS4 Pro:

Project Scorpio specs comparison

Which, on the face of it, is a rather significant bump, which should see Project Scorpio – whatever it ultimately ends up being called – sitting firmly at the top of the tree, where console power is concerned. In terms of the technical specification it definitely feels more like a more defined, discrete midpoint between this generation and the next.

But what’s ultimately going to matter, far more than the physical grunt of the device, is whether Microsoft can attract the calibre of games to back up the Project Scorpio specs. Don’t forget that the most popular game of the moment – possibly one of the greatest games of all time – is running on an extra-jumbo mobile phone with two halves of a joypad duct-taped to either side.

(Sorry, Nintendo! The Switch is a fantastically versatile device and Breath of the Wild is a masterpiece … but it’s still running an ancient Tegra chipset, which actually makes the achievement more impressive, to be fair.)

We just hope that, even fitting in all that beefy hardware, Project Scorpio looks more like the Xbox One S (one of the best-looking consoles ever) and not the original, hideous Xbox One (which is probably now living under a bridge somewhere).

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