June 27, 2017 // 7 a.m.
Microsoft has confirmed that it is positioning its upcoming Xbox One X mid-stream console upgrade as the go-to choice for use with Ultra HD displays, to the point where high resolution textures will be exclusive to the console - even if the same game is running on an Xbox One or Xbox One S connected to an Ultra HD display.
Formerly known as Project Scorpio, the Xbox One X was announced earlier this month as a £449 mid-stream upgrade designed to be compatible with existing Xbox One games but offering what Microsoft's Phil Spencer called 'true 4K' games - including 4K upgrades to existing games. While the Xbox One X's significantly more powerful GPU is the key to getting games running at higher resolutions, the question remained about just how exclusive this functionality would be - especially with the less powerful Xbox One S supporting Ultra HD displays for media output.
The answer: Ultra HD (consumer 4K) gaming support will indeed be exclusive to the Xbox One X, according to comments from an unnamed Microsoft spokesperson speaking to Stevivor. In an article published late yesterday by Stevivor's Steve Wright, it was claimed that 4K assets such as textures will only be downloaded to an Xbox One X; the same game running on an Xbox One S, the spokesperson explained, will receive 1080p assets in their place.
The move makes sense from a performance perspective but may come as a disappointment to anyone who was hoping for a PC-style choice of high-quality visuals with a lower frame rate or lower-quality visuals at a higher frame rate. The Xbox One X launches on November 7th at £449 (including VAT).