Every June, the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) at the Los Angeles Convention Center gives companies the opportunity to announce any major innovations and exciting news to the gaming community. At E3 2016, among the legion of updates from video game developers, first party companies made it clear that they are incorporating up-and-coming technology into their consoles.
Xbox Project Scorpio
One of the biggest reveals at the convention was Microsoft’s Project Scorpio. While we don’t yet know too much about Scorpio, not even its name (“Project Scorpio” is a codename), we are aware that this will not be an entirely new console. Instead, the Scorpio is an improved version of the Xbox One, featuring six teraflops of power and 320 GB of memory bandwidth, and it will run at maximum resolution all the time. According to Xbox chief Phil Spencer, “when it ships it will be the most powerful console ever built.”
The Scorpio’s resolution is actually its strongest quality. This super-powered Xbox One will be able to natively run games in 4K resolution, something that critics are calling an ambitious goal.
4K resolution derives its name from its pixel width of about 4,000 pixels. In total, the pixels amount to 8,294,400 on the screen at once, and this creates a clearer and crisper image. Compared with a full HD 1080p image, which has a resolution of 1920×1080, 4K can be understood as 3840 x 2160, or 2160p, and has four times as many pixels.
While 4K is being presented to the public as something new and exciting, consumers have actually been viewing video in 4K for some time, but mainly at movie theaters. The Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI), a joint venture of several of the large film studios, controls the standard 4K format for theatrical releases.
For home television, 4K is often referred to as Ultra HD (UHD). This is actually a derivation of the DCI 4K standard, with a slightly lower resolution. Because of the variety of names that have been given to this new 4K technology for television, many television manufacturers and studios came together to form the UHD Alliance. Ultimately, the goal of this organization is to present the picture to the viewer in the way that the director intended.
As for the 4K resolution of Project Scorpio, it is difficult to determine how exactly it will appear because so little is known. However, it is possible that the console’s displayed image would follow some guidance from the UHD Alliance, since it would be intended for use on a UHD TV.
The other impressive specification of the Scorpio is its support for virtual reality (VR) technology. Unfortunately, Microsoft disclosed even less information on this capability of the console. Sony, on the other hand, devoted a major part of their PlayStation 4 briefing to thoroughly reveal the PlayStation VR.
The PlayStation VR, which is compatible with the PlayStation 4 as long as the user also has a PlayStation Camera for that console, uses games that are of notably better quality than those for other VR headsets. However, the headset itself is priced at $400, with games costing between $20-40 on average. While that does add up after a consumer has put money towards everything involved, when it becomes available on October 13, 2016, the PlayStation VR will launch with over 50 titles, including Batman: Arkham VR, Star Wars Battlefront X-Wing VR Mission, and Resident Evil 7 Biohazard.
In addition, E3 2016 saw other instances of mainstream video games find their way into VR headsets. For example, Bethesda revealed their development of Fallout 4 and Doom for the HTC Vive VR headset.
And, of course, as you’d expect with a video game convention, developers announced a whole new catalog of games for the upcoming year that have sparked fan hype worldwide. You can view these on the E3 Website.