How does Xbox Scorpio compare to PlayStation 4 Pro?

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How will the Xbox Scorpio — the upcoming reboot of the Xbox One, first announced at E3 last year — compare with last year’s PlayStation 4 Pro? That’s the big question and, judging by how it sizes up, it’s something you can expect Microsoft to trumpet loudly. But to start, it’s enlisted an independent expert to testify.

“Fundamentally, Scorpio is more powerful so it should be able to do everything that the PlayStation 4 Pro can do,” Digital Foundry’s Richard Leadbetter said in a video interview as part of an exclusive reveal today.

“Well, to be clear it’s going to be more expensive because it’s putting in more technology into the box. So yeah, obviously in terms of the core computational power of the machine, it’s going to be better.”

To be clear, Leadbetter doesn’t know that the Scorpio console will actually cost more at retail; just that the cost to Microsoft to build a Scorpio box will exceed the cost to build a PS4 Pro box. “We know it’s important to deliver an experience that demonstrates the power gap between [the PS4 Pro and Scorpio] at a price that makes sense to console gamers,” Xbox’s Albert Penello told Polygon last year.

While the spec confirmation is welcome, it’s long been expected to best the PS4 Pro in sheer horsepower. Penello told us last September following the PS4 Pro reveal that the “performance delta will be obvious.” Here’s what that looks like on paper, with the specs provided by Digital Foundry:

Xbox Scorpio vs PS4 Pro

Specs Project Scorpio PS4 Pro
Specs Project Scorpio PS4 Pro
CPU Eight custom x86 cores clocked at 2.3GHz Eight Jaguar cores clocked at 2.1GHz
GPU 40 customised compute units at 1172MHz 36 improved GCN compute units at 911MHz
Memory 12GB GDDR5 8GB GDDR5
Memory Bandwidth 326GB/s 218GB/s
Hard Drive 1TB 2.5-inch 1TB 2.5-inch
Optical Drive 4K UHD Blu-ray Blu-ray

Digital Foundry

But hardware is only one part of the story. Without great games to take advantage of that hardware, Xbox Scorpio remains stuck where the Xbox One is stuck: competing against a console that has a much larger install base and a wealth of exclusive titles.

“Having the hardware advantage is always great and it does tend to translate into improved multiplatform game experiences,” Leadbetter said. “But it’s not going to change the situation that there’s a ton of great exclusives on PS4 Pro that just look incredible.”

Without Xbox exclusives to drive adoption — E3 is the obvious place for Microsoft to share its plans — it’s up to those third-party, multiplatform games to target the enhanced capabilities of Scorpio. But Microsoft is also hoping that a performance improvement for all Xbox One games will encourage would-be adopters to trade up.

“Here, it’s down to the platform holder to take ownership of compatibility issues, but the advantage is this: unlike PS4’s boost mode, Scorpio theoretically allows for the full power of the new console to be deployed on older games,” Eurogamer stated. Coupled with supporting — and also improving — your existing, compatible Xbox 360 titles, Microsoft is hoping to use compatibility with your Xbox library as a key point of comparison with the PS4 Pro.

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