Microsoft is looking to turn its upcoming Xbox Scorpio into a keystone in its Universal Windows Platform (UWP) system, having it play those games at up to 4K resolutions natively. This means no more console exclusives from Microsoft, as any game developed for the UWP platform will work on Windows 10 PCs, Scorpio, and the Xbox One without much difficulty.
Microsoft’s UWP system has been a major drive for a while now, with the idea being that it creates a single ecosystem that spans consoles, PCs, mobile and even the HoloLens augmented reality headsets. Scorpio will be a major component in that mix, as it will not only deliver monstrous power for console gaming, but also act as a developmental platform for games and experiences on other hardware, too.
This is because Scorpio is a clever piece of kit. As explained by Windows Central sources, Scorpio will be able to mimic an Xbox One at a hardware level, so developing games on a Scorpio will make it incredibly easy to test those titles on an Xbox One too. We’re told that this system has an internal code name: Project Helix.
Related: Microsoft’s Phil Spencer teases the pricing window of 2017’s Project Scorpio
While great news for developers, this also means that we may finally see an end of poor quality PC ports. By bringing the Scorpio up to the (purportedly) 6 teraflops level, it is just as capable as many decent gaming systems, so games developed for either should work fine on the other. Even a couple of years down the road when PC hardware has advanced beyond it again, the fact that Scorpio is built on the UWP should mean that upgrading the visuals and frame rates for PC gamers will be much easier than before as well.
Of course releasing games through the Windows Store hasn’t gone so well in every instance. Microsoft may need to get people over that problematic stigma before the UWP platform is completely embraced, but with the way Scorpio is being positioned, that might be easier than we’d have expected. It’s also possible that Microsoft doesn’t try and target the PC gaming space as much as it tries to augment the Xbox market with additional PC play and features.
If it tries to take the fight to Steam to push people to its store instead, it will need to step up its game.