Don’t let anyone tell you the console wars aren’t alive and well. For the most part, the two leading game consoles in 2016 (the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One) exist in a state of being nearly identical. Many of the same games appear on each system, they boast almost all of the same ancillary features, and are roughly the same price. In many ways, the last great console rivalry was the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis. That was an age when companies would directly call each other out in ad campaigns and commercials.
We aren’t seeing a return to those sorts of tactics, but we are finally entering an age of new rivalries as Sony just recently released the PlayStation VR headset. This makes it the first and only home console to offer virtual reality experiences and the likes of Battlezone, Rigs, and Thumper are proving it has what it takes to be a big part of our industry going forward. With the PS4 Pro on the near horizon, those experiences are only going to get sharper, crisper, and even better.
But it seems like Microsoft isn’t too impressed — even if they won’t come right out and say it. Here is a screenshot from the current landing page for its upcoming iterative update on the Xbox One, code-named ‘Project Scorpio.’ It’s being designed as a direct rival to the PS4 Pro.
We knew about these general features for a while now, so you’re likely wondering what the story is here. Well, notice the language: “The first and only console to enable true 4K gaming and hi-fidelity VR.” Could this be a subtle shot fired at Sony’s PS VR and PS4 Pro? The upcoming PlayStation console upscales content to 4K, but fans were disappointed it doesn’t seem to offer it natively for every game and Sony has reiterated commitment to the standard model console for VR experiences.
And in the case of VR, the PS VR is a great headset due to its affordability and ease of use, but it’s clearly underpowered when compared to the Rift and Vive. Claiming that the Scorpio will be the “first and only console to enable…hi-fidelity VR” is a bold statement.
Based on internet archives, it seems like the website was just updated on October 5th with the new information — for example, look at the comparison between July 31st and October 5th in the archive. Most curious of all though is that October 5th just so happens to be the same exact day the embargo lifted for reviews of the PS VR headset. Interesting, right?
At E3 2016 it was revealed that Fallout 4 VR would be coming to Project Scorpio, though the only headset we know for sure it’s appearing on is the HTC Vive. Plus, Microsoft has confirmed that they are not making a first-party headset. Does this mean that the Vive will get Xbox Scorpio support? Or perhaps the existing relationship between Microsoft and Oculus (each Rift comes with an Xbox One gamepad) could point to compatibility there.
Either way, we likely won’t have to wait too much longer to find out. The console is scheduled to release holiday 2017, meaning we should find out much more next year at tradeshows and events such as E3. Nintendo’s lack of VR support with the Switch proves there is a big void that another console competitor in the VR space needs to fill. You can watch the trailer for the console below for some more information.
Upload has reached out to Microsoft for comment on the website’s content and will update this story when we know more.
h/t to TheKingofElves on Reddit