It’s been obvious to see over the last 12 months that Microsoft is look to better integrate its software and hardware across a multitude of devices. The latest rumour to emerge supports this theory, claiming the upcoming Xbox Scorpio will be capable of running PC games natively at 4K resolution.
I say PC games but it is in fact a small subsect of them - namely UWP apps from the Windows 10 Store. Between Microsoft enabling UWP apps on the Xbox One and the Xbox Play Anywhere initiative, Microsoft is aiming to get all games playable across any Xbox or PC device.
In theory the Xbox Scorpio will just be able to run any UWP app from Windows 10 right out of the box, taking advantage of its stronger hardware to offer higher resolutions and greater resolutions than the standard Xbox One.
According to a source close to Windows Central, "The Coalition has previously confirmed that Gears of War 4 is ready to run at a 4K resolution on Project Scorpio. This is because Project Scorpio can run 4K Windows 10 Store Universal Windows Platform (UWP) games natively.
"Our source told us that any game programmed natively for UWP on Windows 10 will run on Project Scorpio with a trivial amount of changes. This has always been Microsoft's vision for UWP".
Developing for both PC and Xbox Scorpio is apparently almost indistinguishable with a very minimal amount of effort required to get a game up and running. It also works backwards, so the likes of Gears of War 4, Forza Horizon 3 and Rise of the Tomb Raider will all work natively on the Xbox Scorpio at 4K.
Saying it and actually doing it are two different matters entirely however. Running a game at 4K requires considerable hardware power. Roughly four times the GPU horsepower needed for 1080p in fact, a resolution which the Xbox One already struggles to hit a lot of the time. We'll have to wait and see just what the final hardware is truly capable of.
This is all well and good for console owners of course, yet Microsoft is still facing a huge uphill battle convincing PC players to use the Windows Store. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare recently released there and players were reporting there was only two people online in the world looking for Team Deathmatch. Games For Windows Live cut deep and it’s difficult to see Microsoft overcoming this, particularly considering there appears to be no cross-play between Windows Store and Steam users.