Microsoft says its Xbox One S can upscale games to 4K

Xbox One S 4K

During a morning session of the Xbox Platform update, a generally innocuous meeting that happens at every E3 to give journalists a look at the updates coming to Xbox over the next year, Jeff Henshaw, Group Program Manager at Xbox, dropped a bomb: You won't need to wait for Project Scorpio to play games in 4K, the Xbox One S is perfectly capable of playing games in 4K.

Henshaw clarified, "It's not native 4K, but the Xbox One S can upscale games from 1080p to 4K."

This morsel of information wasn't something Phil Spencer mentioned on stage at the company's keynote on Monday, instead focusing on the Xbox One S's ability to play 4K Ultra-HD Blu-rays.

More power!

The news of 4K gaming on the Xbox One S follows reports that say Microsoft is switching out the processor and GPU in the standard Xbox One model for more powerful components in the S, allowing higher framerates and HDR gaming in games like Gears of War 4.

What makes the news is somewhat baffling is Microsoft's reluctance to highlight that during the keynote, highlighting Project Scorpio's ability to play games in 4K but failing to mention that the Xbox One S already has the capability.

But it's important to point out that upscaled 4K looks different than native 4K content. The term "native 4K" refers to content that has been rendered in a higher resolution, specifically 3840 x 2160. This is opposed to upscaled content which has a native resolution of 1080p and is then "upscaled" or stretched to fill a 4K screen.

We've reached out to Microsoft to clarify this point and will update this article accordingly when we hear back.

Stay with us here for the latest E3 2016 details and commentary.

Nick Pino

Nick Pino is Managing Editor, TV and AV for TechRadar's sister site, Tom's Guide. Previously, he was the Senior Editor of Home Entertainment at TechRadar, covering TVs, headphones, speakers, video games, VR and streaming devices. He's also written for GamesRadar+, Official Xbox Magazine, PC Gamer and other outlets over the last decade, and he has a degree in computer science he's not using if anyone wants it.