Epic Games CEO Sweeney Calls Project Scorpio And PlayStation Neo ‘Best of Both Worlds’

Both Microsoft and Sony are on a path to shake things up in the console world by releasing upgraded systems with more powerful hardware equipped for gaming at 4K Ultra HD. Their plans represent a deviation from the traditional console cycle in which several years lapse in between brand new machines, and if you ask Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney about it, he'll tell you it's the "best of both worlds."

Taking a view of the changing landscape from Sweeney's perspective, porting over the upgrade cycle of a PC to the console world is nothing but a good thing, one that ensures the latest hardware (peripherals) and games remain relevant for the entire seven year period (and beyond, really) in between major new console releases. He also lauds the fact that refreshed consoles alleviates the need to build up a brand new user base.

Project Scorpio

"From an industry insider perspective, the console industry will grow and sustain its user base much better if it doesn't have to reset its user base to zero every seven years. The idea of throwing everything out and doing everything from scratch every seven years is completely crazy," Sweeney told Eurogamer in an interview. "And everything Epic's done with our new game development approach, involving these online games we're going to maintain over time, it's about building games where we don't have to reset our user base to zero when we want to add new features."

Right now the buzz in the industry is split between 4K gaming and VR, both of which put added demand on hardware resources, particularly the graphics. Microsoft's answer is Project Scorpio, an upgraded version of the Xbox One that will be up to four times faster than the original and will push 6 TFLOPS of computing power. The launch is expected to happen next fall, and when it does, it will be compatible with all existing Xbox 360 and Xbox One peripherals.

Sony PlayStation 4

Sony's going down the same road with PlayStation Neo, essentially a faster version of the PlayStation 4 that will also be equipped with hardware to handle 4K gaming and VR titles. Sony President Shuhei Yoshida was very clear that the PlayStation Neo wouldn't alter the lifecycle of the PS4 or consoles in general.

The other thing that Sweeney likes about these systems is that Microsoft and Sony plan to upgrade both the CPU and GPU, keeping them in balance with one another.

"As game developers, you can spend far more time doing far more optimizations for CPU than GPU—a GPU is a perfectly parallel brute force computing device," Sweeney noted, adding that GPU performance growth is likely to continue outpacing CPU performance growth.