How developers make use of Project Scorpio’s power is up to them, Microsoft says. That sounds good, but how far does it go? Microsoft’s Xbox engineering lead Mike Ybarra expanded on this on Twitter on Friday.
Ybarra said that “developers are free to choose how they use the power of Project Scorpio for games,” adding that Microsoft has “no requirements limiting frame or fidelity.” A gamer shot back that “there is a fps parity [between] Xbox One and Scorpio in Multiplayer, which means a 2013 console is holding a 2017 console back.”
Ybarra firmly denied that suggestion, stating that that is entirely up to developers.
Yes it’s totally okay
Microsoft Studios’ Shannon Loftis chimed in to reiterate Ybarra’s assertion the next day, to which a fan replied, “Are you saying it’d be OK for Scorpio versions to be 60 fps and matched against XB1 versions at 30 fps?”
Loftis replied that that is again, up to developers, but seems like an unlikely choice to her. She continued, stating that “we use all power for what matters. This is typically frames and resolution. Also AI, game systems like economy, etc. Devs have a goal to deliver as much as possible all the time. Most will not limit frames.”
She added that specific situations may call for this. Cooperative play and general PVP/PVE online play won’t see issues with mixed framerates, while competitive situations may require that developers limit frame rates. That, though, is up to the developer and the game, not to Microsoft.
It really sounds here like gamers are just looking for reasons to dump on Microsoft. The company certainly has a lot to prove with Scorpio, but there’s more to this. Any PC gamer knows that in a game with 12 players, you have 12 different gaming rigs at play, and they could be anything from a $500 budget system to a $12,000 dream rig powered by unicorn blood and orphan hearts.
You might have, even in a game’s competitive mode, players running at anything from the most basic settings at a tolerable frame rate up through epic settings cranked to the maximum.
And we all still have fun, somehow.
In a live tournament situation, things are going to be different, and players will be competing on like-for-like hardware in a controlled environment. That’s a situation that most of these gamers won’t have to worry about though. Sorry, y’all.
Games aimed at firmly competitive play are likely to be optimized for 60 fps in the first place, whether it’s on Xbox One or Project Scorpio. There may be some improvement in visual fidelity for Scorpio players, though if that affects gameplay, that may not be the case. We see competitive games right now like Overwatch striking a solid balance that works for different types of systems. Some developers might not work it out, but that’s not due to a Microsoft limitation.
Scorpio still has to be a sturdy system and have great games to succeed, but this seems like another confirmation that Microsoft isn’t holding developers back.