Xbox Scorpio vs PS4 Pro: The Truth About What To Expect
There has been a lot of misinterpretation by the media and consumers alike regarding the recently announced Xbox Scorpio specs and how it compares to the PS4 Pro. I've been hearing things like "Xbox Scorpio's massive power advantage..." or "the Xbox Scorpio specs blow the PS4 Pro's specs away..." etc which is not true. There is no question that the Scorpio will have more raw horsepower than the PS4 Pro, but if the reveal by Digital Foundry told us one thing, it's that the Xbox Scorpio is not a radical departure in hardware from the current consoles on the market including the Xbox One, PS4, and PS4 Pro. It essentially uses the same components from the same vendor (AMD) but just has faster versions of those components. It is basically a "supercharged" Xbox One/Ps4 but not anything fundamentally new. That's not to say games won't indeed look best on Scorpio but if you are thinking the difference will be massive over any console on the market today, you are mistaken. For those that may not have heard the specs, here is a table summary of how Xbox Scorpio stacks up:
Scorpio is roughly 460% faster than XB1, 330% faster than PS4, and 43% faster than PS4 Pro
Yes, those are a lot of numbers but how should you interpret them? What do they really mean in terms of the difference I will see on screen with my favorite games compared to the current consoles on the market? The short answer is that games will look marginally sharper (especially on a 4K TV) and will run smoother on Scorpio than on any other console. The difference will be very similar to the difference between a third party game running on PS4 vs Xbox One where PS4 versions typically have a slighter higher resolution, slightly more detail, and a generally smoother frame rate. However, anyone that have seen a game such as Battlefield or Call of Duty running on both consoles will hardly describe the difference as huge. In fact, in most cases the average gamer will not notice a difference at all. Only if seeing them side by side with a trained eye pointing out differences will they become noticeable. Oh, and the power advantage that the PS4 has over Xbox One happens to be almost identical to the advantage Scorpio has over PS4 Pro (~40%).
Battlefield 1 Platform Comparison: Can you spot the differences between PS4 and XB1?
Of course, if you're coming from an Xbox One (the lowest common denominator in terms of power) then you will be getting a huge raw power boost with Scorpio. However, even though the Scorpio is 4.6x faster than the Xbox One (which is a big difference), you must remember that all games will be based on Xbox One specs and then just upscaled to the specs of Scorpio. In other words, it'll be the same games just with higher resolution, higher framerates, and/or enhanced visuals. Microsoft has said that there will be no games developed exclusively for Scorpio thus relegating Scorpio to a higher spec "PC" with Xbox One as the lower spec "PC" running the same game (Sony has a the same policy for the PS4 Pro). However, an even smaller difference will be seen compared to the PS4 Pro, where the Scorpio advantage is only about 43% in raw horsepower. That is definitely not enough to take a 1440p game on PS4 Pro for examples and suddenly have it running at native 4K on the Scorpio (at least not without lowering the graphics settings). It may be enough to bump an 1800p PS4 Pro game to native 4K (at the same frame rate) or to take an unlocked frame rate on PS4 Pro running at ~45fps (i.e Final Fantasy XV) to run at ~60fps on Scorpio. But generally expect the same frame rate targets on both platforms with the image quality/resolution advantage going in favor of Scorpio. In other words, expect the same difference we've seen over the past 3 years between Xbox One and PS4 which is hardly a "massive" or "night and day" difference by any measure.
Here is another way to think about the power difference between the PS4 Pro and Xbox Scorpio. The PS4 Pro is roughly 2.25x (225%) faster than the base PS4 which is not insignificant. However the narrative with the PS4 Pro versions of games is that they really don't look that much different than the base PS4 games. Most people struggle to see the difference, even on a 4K TV. That's with over 2 times the raw horsepower! The Scorpio is less than 50% more powerful than the PS4 Pro....how much of a difference do you really think you will see there?
To get more details on what the differences are and why the difference will not be as pronounced as some think check out my video below. Please leave your thoughts in the comments section.