It seems increasingly certain that gamers will benefit from new Sony and Microsoft consoles in the foreseeable future, with both the PlayStation 4.5 / Neo and Xbox One Scorpio seemingly on the horizon. There appears to be no singular settled branding for the new PlayStation as of yet, with reports frequently indicating that PlayStation Neo is a working title. But what we do know is that a mid-generation PlayStation will appear before the end of the year.
Microsoft is thus not standing still with its own console range, despite the comments of management regarding the likelihood of an ‘Xbox 1.5’. Phil Spencer had previously seemed to suggest that this was something that Microsoft would not consider, while the consensus of opinion of analysts is now that such a release is inevitable. If these two machines come to fruition, it would certainly be the first time in the history of consoles that both market-leading devices had been significantly souped up halfway through a console generation.
Xbox One Scorpio vs PlayStation 4.5 / Neo – Challenges
While both Sony and Microsoft will hope to dominate the marketplace when the two machines are released, the reality is that both corporations will be posed with similar challenges. The next generation consoles will face a difficult balancing act between being affordable, and also offering enough extra power to make upgrading worthwhile.
And perhaps even more difficult will be ensuring that the PlayStation 4.5 / Neo and Xbox One Scorpio are exciting enough for gamers to want to purchase them, while also retaining full support for the existing PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles, thus ensuring that the installed user base does not become alienated.
Both Sony and Microsoft will also want to have major launch titles in place by the time that the two consoles are released, although this could be a big challenge for Sony. The Xbox One Scorpio is not expected to release until 2017, while it is largely anticipated that the PlayStation 4.5 / Neo will be in the stores ahead of the release of the PlayStation VR headset later this year.
There is no doubt that the marketing of these devices will be rather problematical for both Sony and Microsoft, even if the two consoles are the biggest news in gaming this year. It is believed that Sony could unveil the next generation PlayStation 4.5 / Neo at the E3 trade show later this month, which would really put the cat among the pigeons for the remainder of the gaming year.
Sony vs Microsoft
So which one of the PlayStation 4.5 / Neo and Xbox One Scorpio is likely to come out on top? Well, the first thing to note, and certainly a big indicator of the ultimate success of the two consoles, is that Sony has a significant lead in the existing generation. If one is 100% honest, the Xbox One was disastrously marketed from day one, and it has never quite recovered from the blunders which plagued the early days of the console.
Sony has by now built up a significant installed user base, and this will be extremely valuable when the PlayStation 4.5 / Neo is released. The PlayStation possesses something of a more positive perception among the existing gaming community, and this will be something that will be very difficult for Microsoft to overcome, regardless of the quality of the Xbox One Scorpio. Conversely, it must be emphasized that the console marketplace has turned around rapidly in the past, and nothing should surprise us with regard to the way that this niche operates.
Ultimately, any console is dependent on its gaming, and the fact that the next generation PlayStation 4.5 / Neo will feature a brand new Gran Turismo game, reportedly with virtual reality compatibility, will be a big deal for the system. Sony will not have forgotten that GT3 was largely responsible for shifting the PlayStation 2 in its early days, and the Japanese company will hope for a similar impact with this seventh major iteration of the hugely popular driving series.
However, gaming moves very quickly, and some people believe that the Forza series on the Xbox has succeeded Gran Tursimo as the greatest driving game in the world. And relying on past strategies is not always successful in video gaming. While the PlayStation 4.5 / Neo may feature a 4K Blu-ray player, it is debatable whether this will be such a selling point as the DVD drive was in the PlayStation 2.
Aside from that, both consoles will feature some good exclusives, but it is a massive boon for the PlayStation 4.5 / Neo that Sony has signed up Naughty Dog to produce exclusive games. The recent Uncharted 4 received blanket outstanding reviews, and its previous game, The Last of Us, is considered an absolute modern classic. It is debatable whether Microsoft has anything exclusive of this quality for the Xbox One Scorpio, and thus this is a significant advantage for Sony.
With neither company having revealed anything regarding either console, there is still a huge amount of speculation regarding the specs of the two devices. Recent reports have suggested that the PlayStation 4.5 / Neo will largely be released in order to accompany virtual reality. Meanwhile, other suggestions have indicated that the Xbox One Scorpio will be the most powerful console ever released, with Microsoft targeting 6 teraflops for the console, significantly outranking the reported 4.14 teraflops of which the PlayStation 4.5 / Neo will be capable.
It is thus suggested that the PlayStation 4.5 / Neo will struggle to render games in native 4K, but some resolution upgrades may be possible. The Xbox One Scorpio is beginning to get into the territory where 4K gaming would be likely, if indeed the figures being linked with the console out to be accurate.
Another issue for Microsoft is even if it is able to deliver such an outstanding machine, and even if it can sell the Xbox One Scorpio at a competitive price point, it must consider the shelf life of the device. Consoles are being superseded by PC technology rapidly nowadays, and releasing a super-powerful base hardware configuration may now be a thing of the past for console manufacturers, particularly considering the practical commercial considerations.
Although there have been some intriguing media reports on this subject, the likelihood remains that the PlayStation 4.5 / Neo and Xbox One Scorpio will ultimately feature fairly similar specs. While technicians and engineers are capable of some pretty impressive achievements, the reality is that neither console is likely to be an absolutely mindblowing improvement over the existing console generation. Sony is upgrading to support its virtual reality system, and Microsoft in order to ensure that it is not left behind by its most obvious market rival.
With this in mind, the existing installed user base of the Sony will probably ensure that the PlayStation 4.5 / Neo remains ahead of the Xbox One Scorpio.