Host, Xbox's Major Nelson
Larry Hryb: Hi, it's Larry Hryb, Xbox Live's Major Nelson, thank you for downloading the show. Jeff, good to see you.
Jeff Rubenstein: It's good to see you too, Larry.
Larry Hryb: Sitting across from you is an empty microphone, Laura is out of the office again, and you know what that means?
Jeff Rubenstein: We're playing hookie? Oh, we're gonna be off the rails.
Larry Hryb: No.
Jeff Rubenstein: What?
Larry Hryb: It means Albert's here. (laughs)
Jeff Rubenstein: Yes! We've never seen you two in the same place.
Albert Penello: No, we did. Actually, last time, it has been confirmed after many years that we are not the same person because we were in the same place at the same time.
Larry Hryb: Yeah, we did one show.
Albert Penello: But this goes back to the tradition of every time I'm on the show, she just decides to-
Larry Hryb: Well, it's funny, because when I was- when I was talking to him, like, "Hey, Albert, can you come on this show because we're gonna talk about some Scorpio stuff", we'll do that in a little bit.
Albert Penello: Never heard of it.
Larry Hryb: But you, uh ... I looked at the schedule, I'm like, "Oh, hey, of course Laura's gone, thanks, so ..."
Albert Penello: I- Did I do something? I've been so nice to her.
Larry Hryb: I know, we all have. She's a tough read, she is.
Albert Penello: She bails every time I'm on the show.
Larry Hryb: She's a tough read. But anyway [crosstalk 00:01:22] It's great-it's great to see you, you are-you are the, uh, the director of Scorpio marketing?
Jeff Rubenstein: Senior director.
Albert Penello: Come on.
Larry Hryb: I know, sorry.
Albert Penello: [inaudible 00:01:29]
Jeff Rubenstein: You know how I know it's senior? Because of the gray hair. (laughs)
Albert Penello: Really? (laughs) From this crew?
Larry Hryb: Anyway, we usually- we ... you know, the show ... I got Albert on the show because we had some news, um, this week, depending upon when you're listening to this, that just recently broke about Scorpio, and you were involved with that, and I wanted to kind of get you on because I-I read the- I read the story over at, um, over at Digital Foundry, watched the video, and I'm-I'm not the smartest person in the world, um-
Albert Penello: Oh, Larry.
Larry Hryb: But my god, the techno-the technology that's in that video and what was going over, I felt like I was in an electrical engineering class, I stumbled into the wrong room.
Albert Penello: (laughs)
Jeff Rubenstein: That being said, um, the article was called "Scorpio is console hardware pushed to a new level", and you should read it, even if you're not gonna understand every spec, which is why we've got you here, it is well worth reading.
Albert Penello: Actually, well he also ... oh, I mean, we're gonna be talking about ... he also has a great sort of article just for like what does it mean if you're not technically savvy, that's also really excellent.
Jeff Rubenstein: Scorpio made simple.
Albert Penello: Scorpio made simple.
Jeff Rubenstein: I'll link to all of those in the show notes.
Larry Hryb: But anyway, normally we do the show, we talk about what we're playing, and have some interviews, but I figured to let you know, there's such ... this is the first time, frankly, since E3 last year where we said, "Okay, we'll talk about Scorpio."
Albert Penello: Yeah, it was, uh ...
Larry Hryb: So let's do that.
Albert Penello: Yeah, we were joking before, what game have I been playing? The game I've been playing is getting ready to tell everyone about Scorpio.
Larry Hryb: Yeah.
Albert Penello: Uh, it is funny, because we have said very little since E3 last year.
Larry Hryb: Yeah.
Albert Penello: And I kind of joked that we announced, like, we said three numbers, we said 60 teraflops and eight cores and 320 gigabytes, and the most powerful console ever, and then nothing, really.
Larry Hryb: Well we kind of said four if you want to count 2017.
Albert Penello: Okay, and 2017, yeah, coming next year.
Larry Hryb: Right (laughs)
Albert Penello: So, uh, you know, people thought it was crazy to announce a new console at the beginning of the show, and then announce another new console at the end of the show.
Larry Hryb: But we did it.
Albert Penello: But we did it, and, uh, you know, the-the anticipation and the reaction was great. Um, and of course inside, you just want to, like, tell everybody everything right away.
Larry Hryb: Yeah. Now I must-I must tell a personal story, I'm sorry to cut you off, which is what I do in the show. Um, is ... Albert, I've known you a long time, you've been ... you and I have been working on the Xbox business for a long time, and I would- I stopped by your office frequently, "Hey, what's going on?", and you kind of tell me what, this is the plans for the next thing, you know, in this case Scorpio. So you and I have been chatting about this for quite some time.
Albert Penello: Quite some time, that's right.
Larry Hryb: And so I'm-I was so excited, obviously, when we announced it last year, and even more excited because we're sharing more details.
Albert Penello: Yeah, yeah, I mean, so the-the idea was, you know, uh, when we announce the specs last year, we made a claim, like, we stuck our flag, as it were, and said we're gonna build the most powerful console ever, and we're gonna deliver 4K games. And it was interesting because people, you know, they question things like that. "Are you really gonna be able to do it?," and "I don't understand? And I knew that we not only were gonna deliver it, I believe we would exceed it, and what's been great about today is that I think, um, we have been able to prove definitely with an outlet that is known for being very savvy and being very technically focused, we've been able to sort of tell the story that, yeah, we're gonna do exactly what we said we were gonna do, and better.
Larry Hryb: Let's talk about that for a second, because I saw some people online going, "Wait a minute, why would you- why would you just not do an event, why did you ... why Digital Foundry?" So tell me a little bit about why-why the decision to go with ... or to talk to Digital Foundry? I mean, they're well respected, as I always like to say, they're the pixel counters on the Internet. (laughs)
Albert Penello: Yeah. Look, I mean, here's the thing. The launch has been unorthodox, and I mean that in a great way. Like, we are doing things unexpected, and announcing a year early was unexpected.
Larry Hryb: Never happened before.
Albert Penello: Um, typically people think, "Oh, they're gonna do a big reveal event and they're gonna parade people out on stage", and we said, "No, like, this product is for core gamers. This product is a technical achievement beyond just a bunch of numbers on a page." And really, like, the guy, Richard and the guys at DF, that's what they do, they're an unbiased, well respected source, they're very knowledgeable, there's nobody like them, and we thought, "You know what, why, if I go out and tell the specs, and if anybody follows Neogaf they'll laugh at that, but if I go out and talk about it, you know, then people are just gonna say, "Well I'll just wait for Digital Foundry."
Larry Hryb: "Well that's just Albert", yeah.
Albert Penello: Well, exactly. And so I'm like, "Why don't we just go to Digital Foundry?" Then you don't have to wait.
Larry Hryb: Cut to the chase.
Albert Penello: So yeah, it was-it was-it was a, I think it was a, uh, I don't want say bold decision, but I think it was an out of the box decision, and for what we were trying to do I think it was a good one.
Larry Hryb: And let's be clear, it was a bold decision because, my understanding is you invited Richard-Richard-Richard Leadbetter from Digital Foundry to come in here. And we showed him everything, we didn't know ... and this is an honest to god true story, we did not know until the morning that article went up what was ... what he was gonna say, right?
Albert Penello: Uh, 100%. In fact, I, uh, you know, we, you know, you prepare for something like this.
Larry Hryb: Sure.
Albert Penello: We-we read his stuff, I read his stuff, your listeners read his stuff.
Larry Hryb: Yeah.
Albert Penello: You know what he's been thinking, you know what he's been saying. So we had a good idea that we were gonna exceed his expectations, because we knew what his expectations were.
Larry Hryb: Sure.
Albert Penello: So you plan, you have a day prepared, you want to ... you-you know what questions he's gonna ask.
Larry Hryb: You studied for the test.
Albert Penello: We studied ... but more-more than that, it's like, we didn't ... look, we built a great product. I mean, the people that have been reading the reviews, they know that, we're building a great product. And so we were gonna let the product speak for itself, and we were gonna have an expert come in. And the fact is that I was up at 5:40, I was up at 5:15.
Larry Hryb: So was I.
Albert Penello: I was here at 6:00, 5:56 with the crew, with hitting refresh on my browser just like anyone else, because again, when you do that, it's like ... look, you know the movie business, you make your movie, and you put it out and you're waiting for the reviews to come in, or you're waiting for what the feedback is.
Jeff Rubenstein: Can we back up a little bit? All three of us, I know, have read this article, but for those who ha- or are listening here now and haven't read the article, what did you show Richard?
Larry Hryb: Yeah, let's go through what-what he say and kind of ... because I know certainly he was ... he wrote a ... he did some videos, he wrote a lot of words about it, but tell us about it.
Albert Penello: Yeah, well I think, you know, we were really focused on the tech. So one of the pieces of feedback I'll just start with is, like, "Hey, they didn't show or announce any games, they didn't announce a date or a price." And, like, we all knew from going in, that wasn't what the goal ... there are other events, maybe some events that happen, you know, in the summertime, and later in the year.
Larry Hryb: In Los Angeles.
Albert Penello: In Los Angeles, perhaps, where things like that happen. But we-we knew that people were gonna have questions about what- about these numbers, and about what we were doing. So we wanted to bring the foremost expert in to do that, and so this was a tech, spec, and hardware unveil, it wasn't intended to be a game unveil. We did show him some-some engine demos, a Forza tech, we took him to Turn 10.
Larry Hryb: Yeah, he talked about that in the video.
Albert Penello: And he talked about in the video. Because we knew we needed to punctuate this with content.
Larry Hryb: Yeah.
Albert Penello: We needed him to see something running to validate the claims. Um, and so he did, but it wasn't a game reveal, it was a tech and hardware reveal. So what we basically did is we brought him in, and Mike Ybarra and myself just gave him a little bit of background on-on Project Scorpio and what our goals were. Um, we kind of told him, "Hey, you know, we want to-we want to get our mojo back, we want to be the platform where the best games are played on Xbox." That was our drive.
Larry Hryb: That's the goal.
Albert Penello: That's the goal. And we wanted to hit four things, you know, we wanted to hit ... we wanted to own 4K, we really wanted to hit a big beat around 4K. Um, we want it to be a great platform for developers, and I think people will hear maybe more news around our developer story. We have a really awesome developer story.
Larry Hryb: Yeah.
Albert Penello: Uh, we want it to, um, be, um, excellent, uh, for people who have 1080p TVs and we could talk a little bit about the fact that not everybody is gonna have 4K this year. And it needed to be a great Xbox, even if you don't have 4K. And it-it ... everything needed to work, and all the effort and energy we put into compatibility and upgradability, and things like that. So those were the four things we wanted to take him through, and we just spent the day, you know, taking him through all those- all those areas.
Larry Hryb: We-we heard a lot, or we saw a lot in the video, and we've seen some chatter online afterwards about the Scorpio engine. Explain, you know ... I want to kind of ... if we can go through his article and maybe talk about some of the things, and bring them down to, you know, to something I can understand.
Albert Penello: Yeah. (laughs) Well frankly, or something I can understand, too, because I still- I still sit ... I've been doing this for years and I still sit in awe, um, over guys like Andrew-
Larry Hryb: Yeah, these electrical engineers-
Albert Penello: You know, Kevin, and talk about the software and the hardware, still-
Larry Hryb: But I would like to point out that you-you do have an honorary pocket protector, so you are kind of a nerd. (laughs)
Albert Penello: You know what, they let me in the club, right? I'm the class clown, it's like, "You can come in. That guy's cool, let him in."
Jeff Rubenstein: Yeah, exactly.
Albert Penello: But so, no, you know, I've been working with those guys for along time, so-so I understand, but still, like, the passion and the deep depth and history of game development and hardware development-
Larry Hryb: From the Silicon point of view.
Albert Penello: Yeah, from Silicon, and Andrew from graphics, and Kevin, you know. [Gamel 00:10:06] from the platform perspective, these guys are wicked smart.
Larry Hryb: Yeah.
Albert Penello: Um, but no, like, uh, I think your question was explaining it-
Larry Hryb: The engine.
Albert Penello: Yeah, the Scorpio engine.
Larry Hryb: Well more about the engine, but more about explaining what we saw.
Albert Penello: Well there was two things, first off is when we announced Project Scorpio, you know, it's a cool name. And the Scorpio engine was really the sort of thing we're talking about.
Larry Hryb: You know that the Internet wants that to be the final name.
Albert Penello: I know the internet wants that to be the final name.
Jeff Rubenstein: It's already got an emoticon.
Albert Penello: Well, and it's now ... it is part of the final product in the Scorpio engine. That will be where Scorpio continues on into the product, that's-that's where that sort of, the beating heart of the product is the Scorpio engine. The other thing I like about it is, um, it is very easy, and I see this frequently, for people to think that building a console is like building a PC. That I just call up AMD and I say, "Give me that CPU and give me that GPU."
Larry Hryb: You go to PartPicker.com.
Albert Penello: It's like AMD's got a Fry's Electronics shop that we just go pick at, for those in the West Coast that know Fry's. And then that's it, that's how you make a console. And it's so much more than that.
Larry Hryb: Talk to us about that.
Albert Penello: It's so much more complicated. Well, you know, we, AMD is a great partner for ours, that AMD has IP, they have technology, we have IP and technology. Um, we work with them to scope the objectives and goals of the project, so there is AMD IP and there's Microsoft IP in these things, and we work together to build the Scorpio engine. It is not just simply a Radeon graphics chip and a Jaguar core that we've sort of just glued together. It's way more complicated than that, again, a reason why a guy like Richard Leadbetter's perfect to tell that story. So we wanted to sort of talk about all the customizations, because the Scorpio engine is something unique, and it's something that we're super proud of.
Larry Hryb: Should I think of it, you know, should people think of the Scorpio has like, this-this is the graphics engine, or this is the game engine, this is the sound ... what, is it all of those?
Albert Penello: Well that's the thing about a game console is you have what's called a system on a chip.
Larry Hryb: Yeah, SOC.
Albert Penello: SOC, you'll see an SOC which is the-the memory controller and the CPU and the GPU and the audio processing blocks and all of the command processors are all in one thing.
Larry Hryb: Whereas normally on a PC board they'd be broken out, correct?
Albert Penello: You'd have a ... well I wouldn't say sound card, but you used to have those. But in the old days-
Larry Hryb: Did I date myself again?
Albert Penello: I did.
Jeff Rubenstein: The sound blaster?
Albert Penello: You'd have a sound blaster, well you'd put your sound blaster in your 3dfx card. No, but you'd have these discrete components is what you'd call it, right, discrete components that do all these things. In the Scorpio engine and in modern consoles they're all in one place, and we call that the Scorpio engine.
Larry Hryb: Got it. So that's what ... so let's continue on with, you know, what he saw, and Jeff, you seem to have a question.
Jeff Rubenstein: Well yeah, I-I ... so we talked about six teraflops, I saw way more numbers come out in that. So six teraflops tells us something about just, like, raw power, but I think we're getting sort of a better idea of what that can now translate into.
Albert Penello: Yeah, I mean there's so many ... there are so many, um, numbers. (laughs) And each of them is important to do different things. Like, again, I hate ... I-I wish I could just come up with a great analogy, you know, about a car or something, because that's where I tend to go. But, you know, you generally think of the-the GPU as about rendering the pixels on the screen, and CPU is about AI and frame rate.
Larry Hryb: Moving those bits and pixels-
Albert Penello: And the memory, the amount of memory you have is how much, how much graphics quality can be stored, I'm really oversimplifying, I'll get slaughtered for describing it this way. And so all of these things need to work together. You need to have enough GPU to be able to-to drive, you know eight million pixels or whatever is on a 4K TV. You need enough CPU to feed that GPU fast enough so that your frame rates and your AI and all of that ... and by the way, things like load times are bound by your CPU as well. And then you need enough memory to store all those textures and all that information. And so the-the reason you see a lot of numbers is to sort of describe ... we've got six teraflops of GPU, that's about getting ... that's about driving a 4K display. We have, um, you know, we got to 2.3 gigahertz on our CPU which is crazy, both of these are crazy fast for the technology, but we made a ton of improvements like moving DX12 out of the CPU and into the GPU.
Larry Hryb: There's been a lot- a lot of people were talking about that and they're like, "Wait a minute, how do I get that?"
Albert Penello: Yeah, it's about freeing up ... it's about freeing up resources, so you take commands that you have to write in code and you embed them in the hardware, and then that frees the CPU to do other things. And then I have to have memory bandwidth, that's how fast the information and memory can feed the CPU and GPU. So all of these things have to work together.
Jeff Rubenstein: I guess to phrase it a little bit better, uh, when you mention, like, six teraflops, that talks about ... that's the GPU, but Scorpio's more than just about improved visuals, 4K visuals, correct?
Albert Penello: Well that-that's the thing about it. We built ... we had a goal, and as I said, the goal was to own 4K, to drive, to be able to drive true 4K games.
Larry Hryb: And we kind of started that, I'm sorry, with Xbox One S, because it's the only console with a 4K Blu-ray player.
Albert Penello: Yeah, we're ... look, we're committed, with HDR and 4K Blu-ray on Xbox One S, we're, like committed to 4K, like, we love 4K.
Larry Hryb: And there is a 4K, uh, drive in Scorpio we saw, right?
Albert Penello: Yeah. So we continue that-
Larry Hryb: We've confirmed that.
Albert Penello: In Scorpio, yeah, we've confirmed that with Scorpio. And so, um, we needed all these things to work together to be able to drive 4K. But that wasn't the only goal. So-so developers can decide what to do with this power, they don't have to build 4K games if they don't want to, that's one thing, they can go ... we're just giving them an unbelievable amount of horsepower to realize their visions, again, I always say we have to have a goal, our goal was 4K, but the developers are gonna choose their own path, and that's awesome. The other benefit is it just elevates the Xbox platform in general, it brings a ton of improvements to the library that you already own.
Larry Hryb: Yeah, and I think that's really important because when we talk about Xbox, we talked about Xbox One and Xbox One S and now Scorpio, that is the family of devices. And what does that mean, Albert?
Albert Penello: Well, there's a lot of analogies, and so I'll use two, and both of them break in their own way, but there's the analogy of the phone and there's the analogy of the PC. And when we started Scorpio, the idea was, this is the way that things work today. People upgrade their devices more frequently and expect that their-
Larry Hryb: Their tablets, their phones.
Albert Penello: Their tablets, their phones, and they expect that content just goes with them, and, oh, by the way, when I get the new iPhone or the new iPad, my old stuff is faster on it.
Larry Hryb: Yeah, works, looks great.
Albert Penello: And by the way, people then make, you know, improvements to those things that work on-
Larry Hryb: Those apps, right?
Albert Penello: Or there's the PC, which is game engines today are just inherently scalable, they have to work on game consoles, they have to work on low-end PCs and high-end PCs. And I can just ... I can ... the nice thing about PC is, I can buy as much performance as I can afford. And so neither one of those models are exactly what we're doing, but there-there's ideas in both. And so when I talk about the family, I guess the closest would be a PC, in that you can think of the Xbox One S as a great gaming PC, and you can think about Scorpio as a really badass gaming PC. I don't ... I don't, like, not get to play a PC because I chose one of the two, the settings might have to come down, I can only run it at 1080 instead of running it at 4K, I have to turn some effects off or maybe the textures aren't quite as good, but it's the same game.
Larry Hryb: It's the same game.
Albert Penello: And that was ... that's the model that we're using with Scorpio, is they are part of the same family, the games run on both, but we've designed Scorpio to be able to, sort of literally, turn the dial up to ... turn the dial up to 11 on Xbox One games if that's what's important to you.
Jeff Rubenstein: So I just got a 4K TV and my mind is currently still blown, I'm still just, like, walking around, like, my pupils dilated and stuff like that.
Larry Hryb: Well they're really gonna blow your mind, because I didn't tell you this, Albert, but I let him borrow my copy of, uh, Planet Earth II.
Albert Penello: Oh, I'm gonna watch that tonight at 4K.
Larry Hryb: I said that's the one.
Albert Penello: That is the one.
Jeff Rubenstein: So I'll be doing that. But I'm still just-just amazed at the size and all ... and just like the brightness and the resolution and everything, and I'm playing on Xbox One S. Um, and the HDR, ugh, yeah. So there's that. Um, but two days ago I didn't have a 4K TV, and we know that many people are gonna be adopting 4K in the next five, six years. For those that are still running 1080, what does Scorpio do for them?
Albert Penello: Yeah, I see that question a lot and I think it's great. There's a lot. I'll talk about the one thing that's probably the least understood last, I'll talk about the easier things first.
Larry Hryb: Go hard.
Albert Penello: So when we ... the first thing is, we have a, um, a hard drive in Scorpio that provides about 50% more throughput than the hard drive in the existing Xbox, and that's because we didn't want load times to be terrible when you're loading these big 4K textures. So we did a lot of work on-on a custom hard drive in our console. The nice thing about that is when I'm loading 1080p textures, the load times are much faster. So just by putting an Xbox One, uh, game in the Scorpio, your games are gonna load faster. Now, I think everybody knows today, load times vary from game to game, but all your load times are gonna be a lot faster on Scorpio for the existing games.
The second thing is as people might remember when we launched Xbox One S, that we upped the GPU clock just a little bit for HDR.
Jeff Rubenstein: Just a wee bit.
Albert Penello: And those that follow Digital Foundry will have noticed that a couple of games that have either dynamic resolution or dynamic frame rates saw a little bit of a bump. Um, you know, a couple of frames per second when running on the new box. That was one of our design goals with Scorpio, is that those games will also be able to take advantage of the power of Scorpio. So if you have games with dynamic, um, resolution or dynamic frame rate, you're gonna run at even better, higher resolution and higher frame rates, and in many cases, you should max out frame rate and resolution for an Xbox One game running on Scorpio. So there's another great reason.
Um, there is some filtering improvements, some texture filtering improvements that are inherent in the hardware. I will be out of my element to try and, um, try and describe what that means, but just assume that the texture quality, um, and the anti aliasing is a little bit better on Scorpio. This requires no work, by the way, on the developers, this is just inherent.
The last one is something called super sampling, and that's the one that the guys, that I think a lot of the enthusiasts are really excited about. And so, again I will give the ... I will give the way I would describe this to my wife. Um, when you ... if you're a photographer and you've got a 20 ... what's the latest, 20 megapixel camera? Like, what does an SLR take these days?
Larry Hryb: 20, let's say 30, 20.
Albert Penello: Okay, when you take a 20 megapixel picture, you've got 20 megapixels worth of information. Your phone screen is not 20 megapixels, but all of the data's there. So 20 megapixel pictures on a phone screen look great. When you shrink them down, none of the information is lost. So you kind of think of super sampling as the same thing. It's a way that you're ... all the 4K improvements that exist in Scorpio games, that-that information is still there even on your 1080p screen. So the better textures, the better anti aliasing, all that information is there, and then we do work and hardware to shrink it down to 1080p. So you basically get all of the 4K quality, but you're just on a 1080p display, just like you can see a 10 megapixel picture on your phone, but your phone isn't 10 megapixels.
Larry Hryb: Got it.
Albert Penello: So that's probably the best way I can describe it. What it means is, anti aliasing, just the quality of the art, all the graphics improvements that they're doing for the 4K games, you'll still see it, you just won't get the native resolution.
Larry Hryb: Right. Okay, my head's kind of blown.
Jeff Rubenstein: Yeah, no, that makes a ... that was a good explanation.
Larry Hryb: Thank you very much for that. Yeah, I mean, because one of the questions we also see is, "Wait a minute, so-so should I buy an Xbox One S now or should I wait for Project Scorpio later this year?" What are we ... what are you telling people a-about that decision, because it's key, it's important to know, is that your-your ... and Phil said this last year on stage, your games go with you.
Albert Penello: That's right. I mean, the-the fact is that, um, people who own an Xbox One right now own Scorpio games. They have games that will be better on Scorpio. Their accessories work on Scorpio. Their, whatever you've got, your friends list, your achievements, your gamerscore, all that investment you've made on Xbox One is ... you're already a Scorpio owner in many ways.
Larry Hryb: So in some ways, this holiday, when some of these listeners, and many people hopefully will buy Scorpio, when they get their ... when they get it home they can just unplug their USB drive and plug it back in and they're off to the races.
Albert Penello: I love to tell that story, and this was one of my favorite ... you know, the things that go easy and the things you debate about at work always fun. One of the biggest discussions that I had to have with the hardware team was actually about the power supply. So we wanted the same ... you know, the-the power output of Scorpio, and I mean by watts, like-
Larry Hryb: Like gigawatts.
Albert Penello: 200 something watts of power, um, requires typically, you know, heavier duty cable. You think about how big the cable is in a PC. I wanted the same cable, so literally every port is the same. And look, we achieved it, we did it, but it was a bit ... it was actually a lot of work.
Larry Hryb: It was hard.
Albert Penello: And it was-it was a big discussion, because I wanted people who own an Xbox One S, if they choose to upgrade, they ... all you do is you set the new box on top, you don't even have to look, power supply, HDMI, HDMI, take the old one out, done, you're good. Plug your hard drive in, it's your box again. Um, and, like, that's a level of thoughtfulness we've put into the design that actually seems like a ... like, "Well, of course they would do that." But, you know, it was a lot of work.
Larry Hryb: It's one thing to-to design and in your head go, "Wouldn't it be nice if ...", but once-once you bring electrical engineers into the room, they-they put the pedal to the metal and they bring real facts.
Albert Penello: Yeah, exactly.
Larry Hryb: Right? Sometimes things can't happen.
Albert Penello: That's right. Well, there's all kinds of ... the big world you ship products in with varying rules and regulations that sometimes put a dampener on your-your party sometimes. But look, they-they knocked it out of the park.
Larry Hryb: Yeah. So the Digital Foundry, and again, Jeff, I'll put lengths in the ...
Jeff Rubenstein: Yeah, everything's in the-
Larry Hryb: Show notes, there's so much that Richard went over. Uh, were you surprised at, like, he must have been like a sponge just absorbing everything.
Albert Penello: It-it was interesting because, you know, again, I-I'll just use the sort of ... we made a movie and we sort of ... you brought a reviewer in to see it r-right off the bat. Um, it's funny, the truth is he actually said very little. I-I think you're right, I think he was absorbing a tremendous amount of information that was coming at home.
Larry Hryb: Right.
Albert Penello: Um, and, uh, you know, we didn't know. You know, I mean, obviously, I think he, uh, enjoyed getting to see things and enjoyed, uh, getting to-to be able to talk to people and ask questions directly. But, you know, he leaves and then you don't know.
Larry Hryb: Now also, um, we-we want to point out that, you know, everything that's over there, it's everything that he wrote about, I mean, that's accurate, right?
Albert Penello: That's-that's what we did, and we gave him the facts. We gave him the specs, uh, we gave him the tech, we let him ask questions of our engineers, and then it's up to him to report on his ... on his findings.
Larry Hryb: Lots-Lots of good stuff. Do you have anything else you want to add before we move on, because I mean, there's so much to go over. (laughs)
Albert Penello: You know what? Here's ... I mean, again, I'm-I'm just really, obviously, I'm tired. (laughs)
Larry Hryb: Yeah, you are.
Albert Penello: Because it's been a long and exciting day, I'm just ... I'm so jazzed about what we're doing, so jazzed about being able to talk to people about it. There's more coming, I mean, this is not the end of our unveils of Scorpio, it's actually the beginning, really, of our unveils around Scorpio. So, um, I'm just, you know, I can't wait for the holidays.
Larry Hryb: Last time we had you on, though, you were talking about 4K TVs, I think it was before the holiday, wasn't it?
Albert Penello: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Larry Hryb: And so I wanted to see if you can kind of give us the-the, uh, 2017 Albert pitch on 4K TVs that you've been tracking. Jeff said he picked up one. Um, what are you seeing in that, I mean, we're seeing momentum in that area, obviously.
Albert Penello: Yeah, I mean, I-I, if you look at the industry numbers, the rate of 4K, uh, TV sales versus other ... versus 1080 sales is gonna go through the roof.
Larry Hryb: Of course.
Albert Penello: And I-I think that probably by next year, most people, if you're buying a TV, will be buying a 4K TV. Still, people don't buy TVs once a year like they do phones, so it takes a few years for that, uh, technology to adopt. Um, look, I think right now the sets that are coming out right now are really good. I think actually this year's sets-
Larry Hryb: 2017, yeah.
Albert Penello: Um, are probably the first time I would say I wouldn't be afraid of buying a TV. Of course, sizes go up, costs come down, features get added, you could just decide you never will buy a TV because the next year's one ...
Larry Hryb: Is always bigger, yeah.
Albert Penello: But if I think about, you know, these things are really ... you know, really driving 4K pixels, really delivering HDR, really getting the latency down in game mode, this is a good year. Like, I think you're safe. And I ... you know, as Jeff talked about, Jeff bought, uh, um, a very nice, uh, TV, um, that you know, even in the mid range sets, they're great, if you want to spend money on an OLED, those things are excellent. But you can get a really great 4K TV, I think, at a really reasonable price.
Larry Hryb: I want to ... I just saw a question here online about Project Scorpio, just to get back to that because we're just all over the place. When ... one thing we didn't show, we didn't show the visual ... we didn't show the box. I mean, we kind of did because we saw ... you see what's in the box, but what's-what's going on there?
Albert Penello: Well one of my favorite ... yeah, go ahead.
Jeff Rubenstein: What's in the box?
Albert Penello: What's in the box? (laughs) Oh, come on. Uh, actually, one of my favorite parts of the day, I'll tell this story. One of my favorite parts of the day was when we talked about the hardware, so not the silicon, and not the specs, but they actual box itself. Um, and as it turns out, to, uh, productize this level of performance, um, I mean, think about how big, uh, 4K capable PC card is ...
Larry Hryb: Oh, I've got one, it's a big boy.
Albert Penello: It's a big card.
Larry Hryb: Yeah.
Albert Penello: And we're trying to squeeze that into something that fits in your television. And so there is just ... there is so much innovation and work put into the hardware. And so there was three things people probably heard us talk about, they heard us talk about the Hovis method, the vapor chamber.
Larry Hryb: Explain the Hovis method and the ... I want to talk about those two things.
Albert Penello: So I'll get into ... I'll get into that. So Leo Del Castillo, who runs all of our hardware, he's actually run hardware, um, since the original Xbox, he's built every Xbox.
Larry Hryb: Yeah, he has.
Albert Penello: He actually brought all the pieces out on a table and literally assembled-
Larry Hryb: It was disemboweled?
Albert Penello: In real time. It was just a cage, and he put it together in real time as he was describing it, and I think Richard mentions that in the article. And really, the-the craftsmanship into being able to do that, to just literally put it together and so how things like ... we have to keep the hard drive cable, um, secure and away from the ODD drive because the vibration, the minor vibrations from the Blu-ray drive can affect the signal quality between the hard drive and the motherboard.
Larry Hryb: So let's be clear, this is not just putting components in a box, this is looking at every-every cable and every electron that's going around there and making sure it's optimizable.
Jeff Rubenstein: I'm thinking, like, it's not just Tetris spatially, but in the way they actually-
Larry Hryb: Oh, it's-it's Tetris atomically. (laughs)
Albert Penello: I mean, look, that'll be a whole nother, like, the amount of density of this box. So, um, there was a couple things that we talked about, like in order to power the Scorpio engine and cool the Scorpio engine, what were the things that we needed to do? Um, vapor chambers are things that ... basically, it's a liquid cooling solution. Um, and really, if you go look, only the highest end PC cards have vapor chambers.
Larry Hryb: And what is a vapor chamber?
Albert Penello: It's a-it's effectively, um, a, um, a heat sink on top of a membrane that is filled with water. And just like a radiator in your car, as it heats up it turns to vapor, and then that vapor then is-is quicker to be cooled through the cooling process.
Larry Hryb: Sure, standard physics apply.
Albert Penello: As opposed to just typically on a PC when you've got the heat sink right on top of the chip. So we have a liquid cooling solution-
Larry Hryb: He seemed to like that idea.
Albert Penello: It is, well, because he knows that that's the kind of tech that's reserved for really high-end graphics cards. Um, and we've got it in the console, and is ... no other console has ever had a vapor chamber in it. Um, the centrifugal fan, you know, we use an axial fan today, um-
Larry Hryb: Okay, what does that mean? (laughs)
Albert Penello: Uh, so think about one as a ... one as like a squirrel cage, so one is a blower, and one, uh, god, I gotta think about how to describe this ... it's the difference between ... it's the difference between a fan that you have in your house, and a fan for like an eight track system. So like a regular fan is an axial fan, it just blows air. This-this takes air and compresses it.
Larry Hryb: Okay. So we see ... we usually see them as circles. Looks like-
Albert Penello: Yeah, so an axial fan would be like a typical PC fan you see that just looks like a fan.
Larry Hryb: And if you look at some of the graphics we released, you'll probably see the actual fan case right in the middle there.
Albert Penello: Yeah, the actual ... yeah, the actual cage for the centrifugal fan.
Larry Hryb: Okay.
Albert Penello: So basically what it does is it produces a much higher volume of air and cooling at a much lower fan speed, so that's how we're able to cool the box and not have it be loud. So we moved to a centrifugal fan for Scorpio. The last thing, one of my favorite things is the Hovis mes-method. So this is something that our team invented, um-
Larry Hryb: Who is this Hovis?
Albert Penello: There's really a guy, and I won't ... there's a really a guy whose last name is Hovis who works on the team, who basically came up with this method, um, for basically, uh, fine tuning the power, um, that each and every unique Scorpio ship with. So, um, anybody who overclocks their-their GPUs and stuff, the PCs kind of understands that you play with the voltages and you-you can run, um, your CPU at different voltages and-and sometimes you'll get a little bit more power, sometimes you can lower the voltage and get the same performance. So there's a distribution curve.
Larry Hryb: And this all lends to the fact that when those-those integrated circuit chips are coming off of the assembly line, there's a margin of error.
Albert Penello: There's a margin of error.
Larry Hryb: Right.
Albert Penello: They all perform-
Larry Hryb: They all perform this spec-
Albert Penello: Some require a little bit more power, and we're talking about, like, little tiny amounts of power to achieve the performance goals. Well, you actually waste power by just ... because you have to obviously power every chip to the needs of ...
Larry Hryb: Right, so you're like, "This is what we're gonna power this at x"
Albert Penello: That [inaudible 00:32:34] in Scorpio. Every single chip is running at the power necessary to power that particular chip.
Larry Hryb: So it's dynamic.
Albert Penello: So it is-it's dynamic to each console, it's more energy efficient, um, so we don't waste any energy in the box, and it's one of the things that allows us, uh, to keep it cool, because we are only running the voltages required to power-
Larry Hryb: So hopefully no electricity is being wasted.
Albert Penello: We're not wasting ... we are not wasting any electricity in the box.
Jeff Rubenstein: Man, I have a new life goal, and that is to get a method named after me. Yeah, I want the Rubenstein method.
Larry Hryb: Well there's a sandwich named after you, that's all you get. (laugh)
Jeff Rubenstein: Man, not even the best Reuben.
Larry Hryb: (laughs)
Albert Penello: Not even the best Reuben. So no, I, like, I jokingly call it the su-supercharge, intercooled, and dyno-tuned.
Larry Hryb: Okay, there's your car terms again.
Albert Penello: Right? There's my car terms, we've got the supercharger in the fan, we've got an intercooler in the vapor chamber, and we dyno-tune each and every chip to make sure it's running optimally, um, at the factory, each and every unit.
Larry Hryb: That's crazy. I mean, I don't even know what to say, because I remember when you were explaining it ... I must ... like I say, you-you ... I've been aware, obviously aware of the teams, what we've been working on for many years, because you and I talk all the time. But every time I would stop by and see you, I remember you would just get up on the whiteboard and you'd pencil it out, and I was like, "This is amazing." So to see it all come to fruition in this really concrete way is really extraordinary.
Albert Penello: It is, the team is ... you know, I think that we had clear goals. Um, the team is just operating, like, it has just been such a fun and sort of inclusive, just like, brainstorming and arguing-
Larry Hryb: Kind of reminds me of-
Albert Penello: Doing all the great stuff you want to do.
Larry Hryb: Reminds me of when we were working on 360, doesn't it?
Albert Penello: It does. It has ... there's a lot of that vibe, there's a lot of that energy right now. It's like this is gonna be an excellent product, we got a lot more good news, I think, for people, and we built the most powerful console ever. And today we told everybody and we proved it.
Larry Hryb: And-and over the next ... over the coming months and obviously leading up to launch, we'll have more news. More games, of course, that's gonna be the theme of E3.
Albert Penello: That's gonna be the big thing, games, games, games. Look, I get it, I hear the feedback, I want everybody to know, games-
Larry Hryb: Yeah, but what about the games, Albert?
Albert Penello: It's coming, that's ... today was about the specs, today we told you what the box does, you're gonna see games, we know.
Larry Hryb: What's interesting is there's this shim in between the great games that are coming and the hardware we talked about, you talked a little bit earlier about the developer platform, and we've-we have this whole interesting developer story that probably is gonna be coming out in the future, right?
Albert Penello: Yeah, I think-I think one of the things I'll just sort of tease is, like, I think one of the things that people wonder about this transition to these ... to the two console model is, am I gonna get two slightly less versions of the game than I would have gotten in the old model where I can just work on one, um, one platform for 10 years. We have put as much care and craftsmanship and effort and energy into the process for developers as we've put into the product for customers. That's a story that-that will ... that I'm excited to, you know, to be able to tell at some point.
Larry Hryb: Which, and just to put a fine point on it, and that means more games.
Albert Penello: That means better ... it means better games, because the developers are spending time on the content and the quality and not spending time making things work.
Larry Hryb: Right, which is critical, fun. Jeff, you had something to say?
Jeff Rubenstein: No, I'm excited, I'm ready, I'm glad I bought my new TV.
Albert Penello: Yeah, that's right, get your 4K TVs now, kids.
Larry Hryb: All right, Jeff, thank you, Albert. Albert's gonna hang out with us a little bit, but we're gonna kind of ... we want to tick through some of the headlines before we get going, even though everything almost pales in comparison.
Jeff Rubenstein: I mean it kind of does, yeah, but there ... you know what, there's still new things to play this week. Including the April update for Gears of War 4, so that's gonna include some chocolate weapons. Remember back at PAX in Boston, where you were hefting a 39 pound chocolate Lancer?
Albert Penello: Team creamy.
Larry Hryb: Well to be clear, (laughs) I asked for peanut butter, and the text I got from [inaudible 00:36:18] was "Crunchy or creamy."
Jeff Rubenstein: You can't just say things like that out of context. But yes, we did have creamy peanut butter, anyways. Yeah, okay, so now that we've said that, I think we should just abandon ... but oh, yes, new ... there are some new weapons, new maps, obviously the Gears team, uh, up in Vancouver, continuing to, uh, to support Gears of War 4, and the new maps coming will be, uh, Hotel, and The Slab. Um, also, Dead Rising 4 has a major piece of DLC, which really, like a couple of new game modes, really. One is a, uh, like a mini golf mode, and the other one is called Frank Rising, I'll link to a trailer for that, but Frank has been infected and, uh, now you're actually a zombie, and so it sort of turns the-the gameplay on its-its head.
A couple of new releases I want to call out this week. One is an Xbox Play Anywhere game, we know what that means, you buy it on Xbox, you play it on Windows 10.
Larry Hryb: And?
Jeff Rubenstein: Vice versa, you buy it on Windows 10-
Larry Hryb: You'll also be able to play it on your Scorpio later this year.
Jeff Rubenstein: Yes, yes, exactly. So, uh, this one's an indie darling, it's called Enter the Gungeon. And so, uh, I know personally I'm gonna be jumping into this, but it's a very fast paced dungeon crawler shooter type of game, um, so you can definitely check that one out and, like all XPA games, you buy it once, you play it anywhere, and, uh, your save games, achievements, everything will go with you. Big release this week, Lego City Undercover.
Larry Hryb: Dun-dun-dun-dun.
Jeff Rubenstein: Yes.
Larry Hryb: Albert, you like the Lego games.
Albert Penello: I love Legos.
Larry Hryb: Yeah, I know you ... (laughs) I know you do.
Jeff Rubenstein: So like all Lego games, uh, two player co-op, which is always the best way to play through those. And then, um, want to call out an [inaudible 00:37:57] Xbox game, Use Your Words. So, uh, I know you've played, uh, Drawsome, or Drawful.
Larry Hryb: Yeah.
Jeff Rubenstein: You've played-
Larry Hryb: You Don't Know Jack, the Jackbox games, yeah.
Jeff Rubenstein: And one of the best parts about that is-is when you're playing with folks who aren't gamers, they just use their phone, it doesn't matter what kind of phone you have.
Larry Hryb: Any device, yeah, just use your device.
Jeff Rubenstein: Then you can go ahead and you can play along with, and this is another one of those games, so great party game for people, if you don't have enough controllers or people who aren't gamers are intimidated by a controller-
Larry Hryb: Controllers are scary.
Jeff Rubenstein: For some people, uh, this can ... no one in this room, but, um, they can play along with you and be just as good, so that's called Use Your Words, and if you're looking for a party game this weekend, uh, worth checking out.
Larry Hryb: All right. What else? Did you go over the Duke Nukem news?
Jeff Rubenstein: There was Duke Nukem news?
Larry Hryb: Well, didn't you see This Week on Xbox on Friday? With me dressed as Duke Nukem?
Jeff Rubenstein: (laughs) You sent me a picture with no context earlier in the week, much like team creamy, that gave me pause.
Larry Hryb: (laughs) What was it ... actually, Albert, did you see ... so This Week on Xbox, if you don't know, it airs on your console every week, and, um, I did a bit this week. Where is it? I've got it right here, here, show that to ... show that to Albert, here.
Albert Penello: Is this Mr. ... do I call you Mr. Nukem?
Larry Hryb: Well this is a little ... I'll let you kind of figure that part out.
Albert Penello: Major Nukem?
Larry Hryb: This was in front of the green screen, and I'll let you figure that one out. Uh, but yeah, go ahead and just tune on-turn on your Xbox.
Jeff Rubenstein: Two tickets to the gunshot.
Larry Hryb: Yeah.
Albert Penello: Bringing the guns.
Larry Hryb: That's right.
Albert Penello: Or I call them the pistols?
Larry Hryb: [crosstalk 00:39:25] More of a ... all right already, enough already. Hey, I don't see any of you guys in a tank top in front of-in front of five million people on the console.
Jeff Rubenstein: It takes moxie, yes.
Larry Hryb: Anyway, so that's ... but all the details you can find ... this news, much more over at my blog at MajorNelson.com, and This Week on Xbox, which airs every Friday right on your console.
Jeff Rubenstein: And this would, I'm assuming, be how to use Duke Nukem in Bulletstorm Full Clip Edition?
Larry Hryb: That's right, that's right. So ... great game, do you remember that game?
Jeff Rubenstein: I do remember that game.
Larry Hryb: That was so good. What are you playing right now, Albert, other than the ... other than the Scorpio game.
Albert Penello: Uh, I haven't had time to do anything.
Larry Hryb: I know you haven't.
Albert Penello: (laughs) I have not had time.
Larry Hryb: I know.
Albert Penello: I like games. I remember when I had time to play games.
Larry Hryb: Do you?
Albert Penello: Yeah. Feels like-
Larry Hryb: Did you get anything good lately?
Albert Penello: Did I get anything good-
Larry Hryb: Usually you find those good old school games that you're kind of collecting.
Albert Penello: Uh, I did finally get my NES Classic which I'm very excited-
Larry Hryb: With the really tiny cord?
Albert Penello: No, I bought the ... I bought the-
Larry Hryb: You bought the extender.
Albert Penello: I bought the extender and then I got the wireless ones. I like that thing a lot, actually.
Larry Hryb: What are you playing on it?
Albert Penello: Uh, you know, I went back and played a little Super Mario 3, oh, and Punch-Out!! I love the original Punch-Out!! I love that thing, it's great, they did a great job on that.
Jeff Rubenstein: Punch-Out!!, the first rhythm game. Once I started thinking about it like that I realized, "Oh, I'm not so intimidated."
Albert Penello: By the way, only time that I owned a Punch-Out!! arcade game for a while, and I was terrible at it when I was a kid, but once I played the-the NES version, I was able to go back, and I got pretty good at the arcade game after playing the NES game, which they're so different you wouldn't think that's true, but the rhythm is in the arcade game too, so there you go. I love Punch-Out!!
Larry Hryb: Love it. Have you got a chance to check out Zelda yet?
Albert Penello: Yeah, I bought my Switch, I got my Switch pre-order.
Larry Hryb: Zelda's good.
Albert Penello: Also a fan. That thing's really super cool.
Larry Hryb: Yeah, Ze-Zelda's amazing.
Albert Penello: Yeah, yeah, it's beautiful.
Larry Hryb: We talked about that on the last show too, lots of fun there. Anyway, all right, I think, uh, I think we're gonna let Albert go because you need to kind of relax, you've had a busy, busy day. I really appreciate you coming by the studio and kind of giving us the lowdown, explaining us to us in simple terms for me what all of it means. Um, but at the end of the day, all of ... what it really means is great games for you people.
Albert Penello: Great games. Thanks, guys, for having me here, I really appreciate it.
Jeff Rubenstein: Always good to have you.
Albert Penello: You can find Albert Penello, @albertpenello on Twitter, I'll put a link in the show notes, thank you, Albert. Jeff, you can find Jeff at?
Jeff Rubenstein: @jeffrubenstein.
Albert Penello: My name's Larry Hryb, Xbox Live's Major Nelson, uh, we may not be here next week, because I know I'm on the road, Jeff, you're on the road, too.
Jeff Rubenstein: Yes sir.
Albert Penello: So if Laura wants to do a show I'll leave her the keys to the studio. Till then, see you guys later, bye bye, everybody.