Microsoft's new 4K-ready Project Scorpio console is a massive boon for gamers, but it represents an even bigger advantage for developers. The system's development kit was recently revealed, showing the environment devs will work with to optimize their Xbox One titles specifically for Project Scorpio's raw power.
Project Scorpio's devkit looks a lot like an Xbox One S, but packs hardware that --like all devkits--features a hardware boost over the final retail systems, and we're wondering how much of the hardware has been emulated--likely all of it, for the same of time. For example, Project Scorpio's devkit features 24GB of unified GDDR5 RAM at the same 326GB/sec bandwidth as the retail kit, a slightly boosted 1172MHz Polaris-grade GPU with 44 extra Compute Units at 6.6TFLOPs over the retail's 6.0 TFLOPs, and a beefier internal 330W power supply. Interestingly enough, the CPU is exactly the same, with the same highly customized 8-core Jaguar "evolved" at 2.3GHz. The devkit also has some extra video codecs to boot.
But hardware isn't everything. Just as Project Scorpio represents a massive evolution in efficiency, power, and overall synergy, the console's devkit is a massive improvement for developers in terms of flexibility and toolset. Microsoft has enabled a transfer cable that can push tons of data at a fraction of the speed, meaning devs can port their engines and builds over much, much faster.
"It takes a hell of a long time to transfer a full build to a kit," Mike Rayner, technical director at Microsoft's Gears of War 4 developer The Coalition, told Gamasutra. "Something that would have taken 3-45 minutes now takes a couple of minutes. So that's pretty huge for us."