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Industry News: PS4 Pro Vs Project Scorpio: How Are The Mid-generation Consoles Shaping Up?
Mar 31, 2017


At the moment, Sony’s PS4 Pro is comfortably the most powerful games console on the market. However, it has competition fast approaching in the form of Microsoft’s upcoming Project Scorpio console which is scheduled for an E3 2017 reveal and a Holiday 2017 release. 

We know what you’re thinking – why compare these consoles now? Why not wait until we know more about Project Scorpio, or wait until it’s released and then compare? 

That makes sense, and it’s absolutely something we will do. However, for anyone wondering whether or not they should just buy a PlayStation 4 Pro now or hold out for Project Scorpio, it’s worth taking a look at the details we have now to help you make a decision between these 4K flagships.

The headline feature of both of these consoles is that they’ll both be capable of outputting 4K content either natively or through a process known as upscaling. 

Though the PS4 Pro is capable of playing games in native 4K, at the moment the library of games which do so is fairly small, though growing. While you’ll be able to enjoy games like Skyrim in native 4K, at the moment the majority of Pro supported titles achieve their 4K resolutions by upscaling.

Though upscaling is inferior to native 4K content, the PS4 Pro has a couple of tricks up its sleeve. 

Each game handles its upscaling slightly differently, but a general theme so far on the PS4 Pro has been that games will render at a resolution that’s between Full HD and 4K and then use a more advanced upscaling method called ‘checkerboard rendering’ to fill its 4K pixels. 

When talking about checkerboard rendering things can get complicated very quickly, but the important takeaway from this is that the images the PS4 Pro is capable of displaying look very close in quality to native 4K content by using this method.

Since the console isn't out yet, we don't know the exact specifics of Project Scorpio's 4K output, but we can make a few educated guesses. 

For Microsoft's part, they've said that the console will offer 'true' 4K gaming thanks to a massive 6 teraflops of graphics processing power, roughly equivalent to Nvidia's mid-range GTX 1070. This is compared to 4.12 teraflops for the PS4 Pro.  

Additionally, Microsoft has said that in the future all of its first-party titles will run at native 4K. Microsoft Studios general manager Shannon Loftis stating "Any games we're making that we're launching in the Scorpio time frame, we're making sure they can natively render at 4K.” 

Microsoft's last console, the Xbox One S, relied entirely on a very basic form of upscaling that generated a 4K signal without doing much to clean up the image in the process. However, a recently discovered whitepaper has suggested that Project Scorpio would also make use of upscaling, albeit through a more advanced PS4 Pro-style checkerboarding method.

So while Project Scorpio has the edge in terms of raw graphical horsepower, we don't yet know conclusively whether it will be completely free from upscaling. 

However, if Microsoft is able to offer more games that run at native 4K than PlayStation it’ll have a much greater appeal to those who are looking for the best 4K gaming experience.

Even though both consoles will be great for owners of the latest 4K TVs, they’re both promising benefits to those with less powerful Full HD screens as they’ll be capable of optimizing frame rates and overall better performance.