Now that we know the Xbox One S is on the way and will have 4K video capacity with HDR as well, a couple questions still remain. Most importantly, there is the question of whether users might want to buy the Xbox One S mainly because of its 4K and high dynamic range chops or wait until a later and still unspecified date in 2017 when the even more powerful pure 4K gaming console, the Xbox Scorpio comes out. The Scorpio will also of course support 4K video and HDR, aside from having some serious 4K gaming specs that include a reputed 6 teraflops of GPU power
These potential doubts have particular validity given the recent words from the very head of Xbox development himself, Phil Spencer, who essentially said that people who don’t own 4K HDR TVs won’t see a major improvement from the new “scorpio” console.
Speaking in an interview with the website Eurogamer, Spencer didn’t go into deep detail on the upcoming Scorpio but one particular thing he did say stands out as far as consumers without 4K TVs in their homes are concerned:
“Scorpio is designed as a 4K console, and if you don’t have a 4K TV, the benefit we’ve designed for, you’re not going to see. Clearly, you can buy Scorpio, and if and when you decide you want to buy a 4K television to take advantage of the increased performance, obviously the console will be ready for you.”
In other words, the biggest improvements in the Scorpio Xbox model are definitely oriented towards owners of the latest in 4K home theater technology.
Nonetheless, the Xbox head also later indicated that there are other internal augmentations to the new Xbox version which also benefit 1080p gamers, who would notice better overall performance. However, the core point to keep in mind remains that 4K video playback capacity and more importantly still, 4K Blu-ray playback are the most crucial selling points of the Xbox Scorpio.
In basic terms, the console serves the dual purpose of being a slightly upgraded Full HD game console much like the existing Xbox One and at the same time also working in entirely new ways as a 4K UHD Blu-ray player and 4K streaming media set-top box, coming as it does with 4K Blu-ray playback and 4K content streaming from Amazon, Netflix and Vudu apps among others.
Moving back to the Xbox One S, which is coming as of August, while a much more modest device than the Scorpio, it still looks very attractive as a 4K media platform and gaming console. The cheapest model of the One S comes with a 500GB storage –with the other two offering 1TB and 2TB respectively. The 500GB model will retail for only $299, the same price as the existing Xbox One. Since Microsoft has built 4K Blu-ray playback in all three models, this will make the 500GB version the most inexpensive such player on the market for the new media format, at least when compared to current retail prices for existing 4K BD players from Samsung, Panasonic and Philips.