Microsoft has been left out of the console loop a little recently, with the gossip in the gaming world being largely focused on the forthcoming PlayStation 4.5. But the Xbox Two is still expected to be in the pipeline, with Microsoft hoping to close the gap on Sony in the next console generation.
Xbox Two – Spencer comments
However, Microsoft boss Phil Spencer has already confirmed that the Xbox Two will indeed go ahead. Spencer’s comments have been widely publicized, with the head honcho at the software and technology giant indicating that Microsoft remains absolutely committed to the Xbox brand and its key console customers.
Of course, Spencer certainly hasn’t elaborated on what we can expect from the Xbox Two, but he did raise anticipation for the video games console by stating that Microsoft doesn’t intend “to dilute what the Xbox console customer feels,” and instead wants “to expand what we’re able to do for more customers.”
It has even been suggested in some quarters that the Xbox Two will be released before the PlayStation 5, with Microsoft attempting to take advantage of a strategy that has worked previously. The Xbox 360 gained a massive market advantage over the PlayStation 3 simply by virtue of the fact that Microsoft got the console to market nearly one year ahead of its Sony rival.
The first absolute certainty for the Xbox Two will be for the console to deliver 4K compatibility. It is already suggested that the PlayStation 4.5 from Sony will deliver 4K gaming before the end of 2016, so the next generation Xbox Two will obviously need to offer this provision. Of course, there is considerable skepticism that it will be possible for Sony to produce a console in 2016 capable of true 4K gaming, but it certainly should be feasible by the end of the decade when the Xbox Two is likely to emerge.
Backward compatibility out of the box
Previous releases from Sony and Microsoft have failed to deliver backward compatibility as early as gamers would have desired. But this is set to be remedied with the Xbox Two, which will utilize an AMD chipset in order to ensure that the console is compatible with all previous Xbox games out of the box.
2016 could be a big year for virtual reality, and if this is the case then by the time that the Xbox Two emerges, the technology could be established as a major part of the video gaming landscape. This would make it essential for Microsoft to offer some sort of tie-in with virtual reality when the Xbox Two hits the stores, particularly if the PlayStation VR headset establishes itself as a market success.
Disc drives removed
There has been speculation in some quarters that Microsoft could consider removing disk drives completely when the Xbox Two is released. This is something that the previous conduct of the company has certainly threatened, and the hierarchy of Microsoft has also indicated that the company intends to collaborate more closely with the PC marketplace. This latter suggestion points to Steam functionality being built into the Xbox Two, and it could be that physical discs are eliminated when the Xbox Two is released.
More base models
However, far more likely is that Microsoft will retain physical discs with the Xbox Two, but offer consumers more choice in terms of base models. It could be that a more affordable version of the Xbox Two is released from day one without a physical disk drive, and Microsoft may also offer models of the Xbox Two with greater hard drive capacity. Consumer choice is becoming increasingly important in electronics and technology, and consoles must move with the times in order to remain relevant.
Windows 10 collaboration and more streaming
In accordance with the new PC focus of the Xbox range, the idea was floated by the aforementioned Spencer at the Xbox Spring Showcase event that Microsoft could align the Xbox One and Windows 10 under a Universal Windows Platform. Microsoft could also back this up with more live streaming of video games, while making the downloading of titles and more attractive, to deliver an entirely new console experience.
Recent reports suggest that the Xbox Two will be massively powerful when it is released, and that it will outrank the PlayStation 4.5 by a considerable distance. This is perhaps not hugely surprising, as the PlayStation 4.5 will be a mid-generation console that is intended to ne an upgrade rather than a revolution in the PlayStation brand.
But an Italian video games news site has suggested that the performance of the Xbox Two could be as great as six times more powerful than even the upgraded Sony console. This is a pretty exciting prospect considering that the PlayStation 4.5 will already more powerful than either the existing PlayStation 4 or Xbox One.
Thus, the Xbox Two will reportedly have a mammoth 10 TFLOPs of computing performance power according to some sources. It must be said that these reports should be taken with an extremely large pinch of salt, as this would make the Xbox Two so much more powerful than any previous console as to be rather implausible.
However, it is clear that Microsoft does not want to be left behind in the next console generation, considering the embarrassing headlines which were generated when the Xbox One was unable to run games in 1080p. Microsoft certainly seems to be aiming for 4K resolution at 60 frames per second at the very least, according to recent rumors and leaks.
No Xbox 1.5
Finally, despite the rumors of the existence of the PlayStation 4.5, it seems unlikely that Microsoft will follow suit before the end of 2016. Those in charge of the Xbox project have indicated that the corporation has no interest in producing an Xbox 1.5, so we should expect the next major hardware release from the corporation to be the Xbox Two.