Phil Spencer: Leap to 4K, HDR Not As Transformative as SD to HD

The Xbox boss believes the current visual leap is different.

Posted By | On 03rd, Nov. 2016

xbox scorpio

Much has been made about the benefits of the PS4 Pro and even the upcoming Project Scorpio from Microsoft. How big are these leaps in gaming though, especially compared to the days when standard definition was making way for high definition?

Game Informer Australia posed this question to Phil Spencer, head of Xbox. With regards to whether the leap to 4K and HDR is transformative, he said, “Big leap is an interesting one…I’ve been around Xbox since the original Xbox and I remember the shift from SD to HD. I remember seeing Gears of War 1, which for us was the first game that I saw on pre-release 360 hardware, and I went, ‘Wow, that just looks like something new…’ The first time you saw a sporting event on live TV in HD, you went, ‘Okay, that is something different.’

“One of the challenges for the generation we’re in now is the jump from 360 to Xbox One, or frankly PS3 to PS4, is visible on screen but not at that same level. It’s not a 2D to 3D transition or an SD to HD transition. You have to be closer to understanding the content and appreciating the content, because those late-gen 360 games look pretty good.

“When I see 4K games, they look demonstrably better, but it’s not the same difference that we saw from SD to HD, or from 2D to 3D when gaming went that direction. HDR is the same way: I love the way movies and games look in HDR, but I don’t think it’s that same transformative thing that we saw with [earlier leaps].”

How will that affect the success of the PS4 Pro and Project Scorpio then? We’ll have to wait to find out with the PS4 Pro out on November 10th and Project Scorpio arriving in Holiday 2017.


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