Xbox Boss Explains Why Project Scorpio Is Coming A Year After PS4 Pro
"I think they've built a good 2016 PS4 Pro."
Head of Xbox Phil Spencer has explained why Project Scorpio will arrive around a year after Sony's upgraded PlayStation 4, citing the hardware that was available as the reason for the time difference.
"We thought 4K TVs would get to scale in the middle of this generation," he told Gamasutra. "So we designed a console for 2016, and a console for 2017. We were kind of working on both plans simultaneously. And at some point, we [had] to--let's just call it greenlight. For what we would do in 2016 … [I said] I think we need to do more than what the silicon is that's available in 2016 at a price point that a console customer would want to pay."
Microsoft's eventual decision to focus on the 2017 version of the plan brought them to what Scorpio is today, says Spencer: "We stopped that  effort and said, 'Okay, we're going to put all of our weight and execution capability of the hardware team behind delivering a higher-powered console in 2017 that's completely geared towards 4K.'"
Spencer went on to compare Microsoft's two distinct plans to what Sony produced in the PS4 Pro: "Sometimes I get in trouble when I talk about Sony too much, but, the choice they made on PS4 Pro, I totally get that choice, from their perspective and what they wanted to go do. I've said it publicly and I've said it privately, I think they've built a good 2016 PS4 Pro. With the silicon that was available, they picked the parts that made sense to go and put together a console in 2016."
"But the point on not wanting framerate to drop ... if the developers want to push resolution, to say to the player, 'Here, you bought this higher-end console, let me show you higher-end resolution,' you don't want the framerate to drop. And that was something we didn't think we could deliver with the silicon that was available in 2016.
"So some of it was time, as certain things come down in price--some of them not as quickly as we would like. And some of it was hardware capability from our silicon partners that allowed us to go do that in 2017."
Elsewhere in the interview, the first images of the Project Scorpio development kits are shown, while Spencer reveals that Microsoft has experimented with ideas for a handheld Xbox.
PS4 Pro launched in November 2016, while Project Scorpio is due for release this holiday. Spencer has said he is unsure if Microsoft will show off Project Scorpio before E3 in June, while also stating recently that he thinks it's "critical" for first-party games to be ready for the system's launch.
For more on Project Scorpio, check out all our coverage of the latest information:
- Xbox's Project Scorpio Full Tech Specs Explained In-Depth
- How Project Scorpio Makes Xbox One And 360 Games Better
- Xbox's Project Scorpio Is Designed To Win Back Developers, After Xbox One Lost Them