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Project Scorpio slightly outperforms Radeon RX 480, but that won’t last long

Although Microsoft is getting ready to launch the Xbox One S console that merely adds support for HDR visuals in games, 4K support for video playback, and upscaling for playing games on a 4K display, many eyes are glued to Project Scorpio, which the company teased during E3 2016 back in June. Project Scorpio is slated for fall 2017, and will supposedly be on par with today’s gaming desktops in sheer performance.

That bit of news arrives by way of Mateusz Tomaszkiewics of CD Projekt Red, the developer behind The Witcher series of games. He’s currently serving as the company’s narrative designer for an upcoming game called Gwent. Tomaszkiewics said recently that if Microsoft’s Project Scorpio console had existed when CD Projekt Red was brewing up The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, the game would have looked just as good on that specific console as it does right now on the desktop, perhaps even better.

Related: Without a 4K TV, you don’t need Project Scorpio

“This is my personal opinion: I don’t know that much about it. I think PCs are growing and developing super-fast,” he told GamingBolt. “New graphic cards are being released very often and more often than the new consoles being released. So I think it will put Scorpio on par with the PC is that we have at that point. But I think PC is growing so fast that it’ll outpace [Scorpio].”

That’s true. Unlike the console markets, PC components continue to evolve each year, thus the desktop market moves on at a steady incline. The consoles, however, have a staggered progression given that their hardware generally remains locked for four to five years, and will only go neck-and-neck with PCs in performance for an extremely short time. This is nothing new, and unless console makers finally crank out modular, upgradable products, the PC will always remain as the dominant gaming platform.

For example, the Xbox 360 has 0.24 TFLOPS of computing performance whereas the first-gen Xbox One has 1.23 TFLOPS of performance. The Project Scorpio console landing next fall will supposedly push 6 TFLOPS, slightly above the 5.8 TFLOPS of performance AMD’s new Radeon RX 480 graphics card generates today. By the time the console lands on the market, better cards pushing more performance per watt will be on the PC market.

However, consoles do have one important advantage. Because their hardware remains locked for years, developers can create an optimal, highly stable gaming experience. Head over to Steam or Direct2Drive to see the feedback from the same game on a PC, and you’ll undoubtedly find complaints on how said game plays/performs/crashes on a multitude of different hardware configurations. Even more, a single component can be just as expensive as an entire console.

Microsoft, for the most part, seems to be pushing to blur the line between the Xbox and Windows platforms, thanks to the launch of Windows 10, and in August, Anniversary Update. With apps and games provided in a universal storefront, and the addition of purchasing a game on one platform and being able to resume/play on the other without needing to purchase a second copy is a huge feat — one that will undoubtedly be propelled by the launch of Project Scorpio next year.