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Microsoft Exec on PS4 Pro -- "4.2 Teraflops Is Not Enough to Do True 4K"

"I feel like our product aspired a little bit higher."


Microsoft's Albert Penello has again spoken up to compare the Xbox Scorpio and PS4 Pro. In an interview with Eurogamer, Penello said the PS4 Pro's 4.2 teraflops of performance is "not enough to do true 4K," while he overall stated that Sony's 4K claims comes with a number of asterisks.

"I think there are a lot of caveats they're giving customers right now around 4K," he said. "They're talking about checkerboard rendering and up-scaling and things like that. There are just a lot of asterisks in their marketing around 4K, which is interesting because when we thought about what spec we wanted for Scorpio, we were very clear we wanted developers to take their Xbox One engines and render them in native, true 4K. That was why we picked the number, that's why we have the memory bandwidth we have, that's why we have the teraflops we have, because it's what we heard from game developers was required to achieve native 4K."

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Microsoft Studios general manager Shannon Loftis recently confirmed that Microsoft-made Xbox Scorpio games will be rendered at native 4K. As for Sony, PlayStation president Andrew House stated that the "majority" of PS4 Pro games will be upscaled to 4K as opposed to being rendered natively at that mark.

In the Eurogamer interview, Penello went on to say that, as Sony is doing, it won't require developers to render their games in native 4K.

"They're going to be able to decide to take that six teraflops of power and do what they think is best for their game," he said. "But I know that 4.2 teraflops is not enough to do true 4K. So, I feel like our product aspired a little bit higher, and we will have fewer asterisks around the 4K experiences we deliver on our box."

This is the message Microsoft has been drumming home for a while now. At E3 this year, where Xbox Scorpio was announced, Xbox boss Phil Spencer said Microsoft could have released a more-powerful Xbox this year, but decided to wait so it could deliver a console that offered true 4K.

Asked by Eurogamer if Sony's marketing for PS4 Pro is misleading, Penello said, "I'm not accusing them of anything," adding, "They've been very open about the compromises around 4K."

Regarding what differences there may be between Xbox Scorpio and PS4 Pro games, whether that's frame rate or resolution, Penello said it's too soon to say.

"You and I both know there will be people who claim with absolute certainty that the difference between 1080p and 900p is the most significant thing, and anybody who claims otherwise is blind," he said. "And there will be people who say they can't see a difference. Both people are right in their own minds. So, predicting how developers will use the power and how different the games are going to look, it's hard for me to say right now. So it's probably worth us waiting to see."

"We're building a great platform. We're building the most powerful console ever made. We're doing a lot of work with developers to allow them to harness that power," he added. "I feel really good about our plans. Now we just have to see it play out."

Also in the interview, Penello talked about Microsoft's social media jabs at Sony over the PS4 Pro's lack of a 4K Blu-ray player. This is all part of the business of selling consoles and is not meant to disrespect what Sony is doing, he said.

"There's definitely a certain amount of like, we've got a product to sell, they've got a product to sell, so we're going to highlight the things we think make our product advantaged over their product," Penello explained. "But that to me feels different to the historical Sega does what Nintendon't kind of head-on jabs that have happened in the past. Clearly, you and I are going to talk about Sony and us and why I think our product is better than their product. But it doesn't came with a disrespect for what they're doing."

The full interview is in-depth and fascinating; read it here.

In a previous interview, Penello said the Xbox Scorpio's performance advantage over PS4 Pro will be "obvious." For more on the Xbox Scorpio and PS4 Pro, check out GameSpot's new feature that compares the specs for each system.

PS4 Pro goes on sale in November, priced at $400, while Xbox Scorpio is due to arrive in holiday 2017. A price point for Xbox Scorpio has not been announced, but Microsoft has referred to it as a "premium" product, so it likely won't be cheap.

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