Today Microsoft released a new video showcasing the development kits for its upcoming console code named “Project Scorpio,” of which we have seen a few pictures and glimpses in the past.
The video, presented by Xbox Live Director of Programming Larry “Major Nelson” Hryb, stars Partner Group Program Manager Kevin Gammill as he explains the ins and outs of the devkit.
For those unfamiliar, a development kit (or devkit for brevity’s sake) is a version of the console used exclusively by developers, with the major difference normally being the ability to run uncertified code. It can also include additional developer-friendly features, and the Scorpio’s devkit has plenty of those.
Gammill explains why it’s more powerful than the actual retail console, and that’s because it makes it easier for developers to deploy their games when they’re not yet optimized to the console, enabling them to dial the power back as they progress. This way they can have their builds run on the actual console environment earlier, until iteration brings them down to the power requirements that fit the retail kit.
We also get a good overview of the front display panel (which won’t be on the retail consoles), allowing studios to run all kind of utilities on it, from FPS counters to simplified versions of their games in order to see what the console is doing without needing a monitor.
Another interesting feature is the transfer device, which comes with a transfer ratio of 450 Mb/s, letting developers deploy a new build of a full game from PC to console in about four minutes. With previous devkits, this operation could take about twenty minutes, which is a lot when you have to frequently debug and optimize.
Last, but not least, is the ability for the devkit to be stacked. Previous devkits had their ventilation ports on the top, which prevented stacking. This time around they are on the back and side, allowing studios to stack them up to ten high. This is very convenient to optimize office space, which isn’t a small problem when you have tens of development kits.
We’ll most probably know much more about Project Scorpio on June 11th at 2 PM Pacific time, when Microsoft will host its big E3 press briefing.