Earlier this week, gamers caught a glimpse of Microsoft’s Xbox Scorpio devkit, the console hardware passed to developers in order to get games ready for the platform’s launch window. The devkit is rarely (if ever) what the consumer actually sees once the platform officially releases, but this is sort of interesting.
The front side of the kit features a small screen that offers live performance stats of the software running. That includes the read and write speed, as well as the game’s frame rate. The Xbox Scorpio devkit has a frame rate screen right on its front.
We know this because of a video posted by a Windows Central editor on Twitter.
— Jez Corden (@JezCorden) May 3, 2017
First of all, I think it’s interesting that this console is so attractive. Devkits are rarely “sexy.” They’re shoddily molded plastic with very little in terms of actual consumer design in mind. They sometimes feature slightly different specs than what users will see, and they’re routinely ugly pieces of machinery.
This Xbox Scorpio devkit, though, appears to have actually been tastefully built. It’s almost as if Microsoft is hoping to inspire some hardware lust in creators in order to get them working on games for the platform.
The FPS counter itself says a ton to me. It says that Microsoft isn’t fooling around with the Xbox Scorpio. Fans over the last few years have made a massive ruckus about frame rates and resolutions in their games. It’s a constant, and as someone who writes about games on a daily basis, I can say that this latest generation has included an obsession with games achieving at least 60fps. Those that do so on consoled are often lauded, while those that hang around 30 are regarded as merely adequate.
Microsoft has been paying attention to all of this. They see that consumers want fast, stable frame rates at modern resolutions.
Where did they reveal the Scorpio’s biggest list of specs? Digital Foundry, a site known for being an authority when it comes to breaking down the specs and performance of hardware and software. Microsoft went to the ruler of frame rate analysis to pitch their new console, and that got performance-hungry gamers hyped.
This FPS counter tells those working on Xbox Scorpio games to get their software performing well. It says, “FPS is extremely important to this platform, and the higher this number is the better.” It’s an emphasis so clearly put on display by Microsoft that it can’t be missed, and that’s a promising tell for fans wanting more from the Xbox brand.
Will this FPS counter ever see the light of day on the consumer side? I don’t think so. If a game doesn’t achieve a high, locked FPS, having a display that indicates its “failure” constantly wouldn’t be good for business.
If it did have the display, though, I know some gamers would go nuts for that.
Would you want a console with a visible FPS counter at all times? An on-screen one is an option on Steam, so this isn’t unprecedented.
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