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Report: Here’s how Xbox Scorpio makes games look better, even on 1080p TVs

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Resolution won’t be the only improvement

Xbox Scorpio motherboard - system-on-a-chip
The system on a chip that powers Scorpio.
Digital Foundry

Xbox Scorpio, the next iteration of the Xbox One platform, will provide marked benefits to the way games look and run — even for people who don’t own 4K televisions. Now we have some idea of how much better they’ll look, courtesy of a report from Windows Central regarding Scorpio’s visual enhancements.

Windows Central published multiple comparison images from Scorpio tech demos that, according to the website, Microsoft presented to partners at a “private event.” One featured a scientist in a steampunk laboratory to illustrate the upgrades in overall detail and texture quality that Scorpio can deliver.

In the first set of screenshots from Windows Central below, the first image represents the tech demo running at 1080p on an Xbox One, while the second screenshot shows the same software running at native 4K on Scorpio. (The 4K image is zoomed/cropped to 1080p from a 4K original, according to Windows Central.)

In addition to the expected upgrade in sharpness, note the improvements in detail — particularly in areas such as the scientist’s hair and clothes, but also for background elements like the vacuum tubes behind her (left-click on the images to enlarge them):

Xbox Scorpio - scientist close-up at 1080p on Xbox One
Running at 1080p on an Xbox One.
Microsoft via Windows Central
Xbox Scorpio - scientist close-up at 4K on Scorpio
Running at 4K on Scorpio.
Microsoft via Windows Central

Now compare the tech demo running at 1080p on a standard Xbox One to what it looks like when running on Scorpio connected to a 1080p TV. Texture detail and resolution are limited by graphical power, memory and system bandwidth, but with those restrictions lifted (or with the limits much higher) on Scorpio, the demo can run at higher fidelity at the same 1080p resolution. Sure, it’s not a night-and-day difference, but there are undeniable improvements in how clear and detailed the image is:

Xbox Scorpio - scientist close-up at 1080p on Xbox One
Running at 1080p on an Xbox One.
Microsoft via Windows Central
Xbox Scorpio - scientist close-up at 1080p on Scorpio
Running on Scorpio connected to a 1080p TV.
Microsoft via Windows Central

You can see a side-by-side comparison of the three different use cases — 1080p on Xbox One, 1080p on Scorpio, 4K on Scorpio — below:

Xbox Scorpio - scientist close-up comparison
From left to right: 1080p on Xbox One, 1080p on Scorpio, 4K on Scorpio.
Microsoft via Windows Central/Polygon

As Windows Central notes, these comparisons only demonstrate the benefits of the increased resolution and improved texture filtering that Scorpio can provide. The console’s significant power advantage over the Xbox One means that developers will be able to deliver other kinds of upgrades, both for image quality (like additional environmental effects) and performance (such as shorter loading times, higher frame rate and reduced screen tearing).

Microsoft is planning to release Scorpio this holiday season. Expect the company to reveal the console’s final name and price at E3 in June.