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Microsoft announces a new super-powered Xbox console: Xbox One S and Project Scorpio

Microsoft and Oculus announced a close partnership at last year's E3, but we haven't seen much out of it just yet. That's changing today, as Microsoft just announced a new version of the Xbox console -- one that's optimized to work with 4K visuals and high-quality VR out of the box. Project Scorpio will launch at the holiday season in 2017, but most notable is the fact that all games and all accessories will work across the Xbox One, the Xbox One S and Project Scorpio.

Microsoft showed off a video in which a number of developers touted the console's massive power -- it'll feature "true" 4K resolution, 6 teraflops of GPU power and will run at 60Hz. It'll of course be VR ready, and Bethesda noted it'll run Fallout 4 in VR, as announced last night. While Microsoft didn't mention Oculus by name, the two companies have a partnership that was announced at last year's E3. So it seems highly likely that the Rift will be the headset of choice for Project Scorpio.

Phil Spencer alluded to such a development earlier this year, saying that he envisioned a future in which your game library stayed with you and in which consoles were upgraded faster in a more PC-like fashion.

Microsoft just announced a slimmer Xbox One, the Xbox One S. Okay, so the surprise was kinda ruined by a month of leaks, culminating in a picture of the thing finding its way into the wild yesterday morning. But at least now that it's official, we know exactly why Microsoft thinks you should buy a new Xbox.

The big-ticket Xbox One S item is 4K support. That doesn't mean that you'll be able to play games in crazy high-res, but if you have a fancy TV it'll provide plenty of options to watch content at 4K. In addition to supporting 4K versions of Netflix and Amazon Video content, there's also 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray support. The new console also supports HDR sets, and Gear of War 4 will be the first to support the wider color range. 

The Xbox One S is 40-percent smaller and can be safely used vertically with an official stand. Elsewhere there's an integrated power supply, meaning no more brick, and the option to include a more capacious 2TB hard drive. It's also mostly white -- a colorway Microsoft debuted for the original Xbox One.

Xbox One S – 2TB Console Includes Xbox One S console, 2TB Hard Drive (Internal), Xbox Wireless Controller (with 3.5mm headset jack), Console stand (for vertical orientation), HDMI cable, AC Power cable, 14-day Xbox Live Gold Trial.

Other changes include a USB port in the front for easy access and the dropping of the Kinect port -- there'll be a USB adapter if you want to plug in Microsoft's unloved camera accessory to the new machine. Oh, and there's a new controller! It has textured grips, improved range and Bluetooth for easy connection to a PC or laptop without adapters. It'll be bundled with the new console, but you'll also be able to buy it separately.

Naturally, there's no word on price yet, and we're guessing Project Scorpio won't be the console's launch name. But Microsoft's biggest fans clearly have a lot to look forward to in the coming year or so -- the big question for those who don't own an Xbox will be whether to buy a Xbox One S or wait until next year for Project Scorpio. But at least if you buy the One S, all your games will work if you upgrade to Scorpio.

The Xbox One S 2TB Console launches this August. The 2TB version (called the "launch edition") will set you back $399, and it'll be followed by a $299 500GB version and a 1TB version at $349. There are already pre-order links on Amazon, which list a December release date for the 1TB and 500GB versions.

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