Xbox has announced a console that it claims will be the most powerful ever built, putting virtual reality support alongside 4K gaming at the core of its capabilities.
Project Scorpio, which was announced as Xbox’s ‘and finally’ product at the end of its E3 keynote presentation today, will be released in mid 2017 offering full backwards compatability.
“When it ships next year we believe it will be the most powerful console ever built,” said Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, adding that Scorpio would offer over six teraflops of power..
”This is the console to lead gaming into true 4k and high-fidelity VR.”
A VR version of Fallout 4 has also been announced for the console.
Xbox is continuing support for the Xbox One and its newly announced compact variant, the Xbox One S, making Project Scorpio the premium offering in its line-up.
The company is also pushing a more integrated approach with Windows 10, announcing Xbox Play Anywhere, where games can be purchased once and played across PC and Xbox.
Despite saying that the console will offer “true 4k gaming and high fidelity VR”, Spencer did not make any mention of headsets. Last year Xbox heavily pushed its partnership with Oculus, so it is possible that Xbox will primarily support the Rift, however it may be that Scorpio will support a Microsoft-designed model.
The tech heavyweight has announced an AR headset, Hololens, but currently remains silent on VR. It may be that Microsoft is planning its own rival to the Rift, which will be supported across Windows 10 and Xbox to encourage wider adoption.
However, while less present, Oculus did make an appearance at Xbox’s conference, in the form of CTO John Carmack. The legendary developer had a brief but bizarre cameo during the Minecraft segment, wearing a Gear VR and hobbling around the stage apparently marvelling at the game’s Gear VR edition.
Owners of the regular Xbox One will be pleased to hear that cross-platform and backwards compatibility is fully supported.
“All Xbox games and accessories will play on all three – no one gets left behind,” said Spencer. “Today makes the beginning of gaming for the generations.”
This approach has already drawn approval from industry figures.
“I think it’s good for the industry where there’s new hardware and you can do new things, but the games you played before aren’t forgotten,” said Todd Howard, director and executive producer at Bethesda Game Studios, in an interview on YouTube’s Live at E3 stream.