You don’t have to cast your mind back too far to remember a time when the current generation of consoles had the full support of their manufacturers and the major competition was between Sony and Microsoft. However, things can move quite quickly in the world of technology and just last week at E3, we received confirmation that not just Nintendo, with its NX console, but also Microsoft and Sony are readying new consoles for release in 2017!
As you would expect, the news that new consoles are on the way came as a shock for the majority of current generation gamers. As it was only in November 2013 that Microsoft launched the Xbox One and Sony launched the PlayStation 4, so this time around they don’t have the 6-8 year gap that they have become accustomed to seeing between generations.
And Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo are all facing some serious negative pushback from their customers about this new hardware, but not just because they are early, but for a number of different reasons. So in this article, I am going to take a look at what pressures each of the manufacturers are facing as they look to release the new consoles prior to the end of 2017.
Microsoft and Xbox Scorpio
Microsoft has been working really hard to try and build a positive narrative around what is being called Xbox Scorpio. It wants potential customers and critics to believe that with its efforts it is convincing people that they should part with more money for a new console.
As it stands, the narrative it has used has centred around being open about what the console may offer, such as superior processing power and the fact that it will be VR compatible, plus probably upgradeable. Personally, I think the only thing Microsoft currently has going for it, is the amount of information it has chosen to share about Project Scorpio, because as it stands it is far more than either Sony or Nintendo has revealed.
At E3 last week, it revealed the true nature of the console, with its humongous 6-Terra-flops of power, which makes it four times more powerful than the Xbox One. And even more powerful than the yet to be officially announced PlayStation Neo. However, it wasn’t all good news for Microsoft, as it’s announcement of a re-hash of the current Gen console with a few design changes and improved support for 4K, seemed to throw a spanner in the works.
This has left many people wondering exactly who dreamt this up over at Microsoft, as it will be telling everyone next year to go and buy the Xbox One S, only a short time before telling everyone to go and buy another new console! All-in-all, Microsoft has done nothing but send mixed messages about which console consumers should buy.
Sony and PlayStation Neo
If you cast your mind back a few months, you may remember that it was Sony, not Microsoft that started this whole “Mid-cycle console” debate, as news about a potential PlayStation Neo aka PS4.5 was leaked a while before anyone had heard of the Xbox Scorpio.
As for the problems Sony has, so far it has only acknowledged that the console does exist, it refrained from announcing anything at E3 instead, it relied on software announcements and the PlayStation VR headset.
So, what is the problem? Well, only hours earlier Microsoft had announced the development of what could be the first super-console a beast with a huge 6-Terra-flops of processing power, which is much more than the 4.4-Terra-flops being rumored for the PlayStation Neo. So, if these power spec rumors are correct, this would mean that Sony would lose the crown of holding the most powerful gaming console on the market.
Plus, Whatever the final specs of the PlayStation Neo are,Sony still has the same problems as Microsoft. As it has to convince the nearly 40-million worldwide PlayStation 4 owners that they need to upgrade their console, and it won’t be an easy thing to do.
Of the three consoles in this article, it is the Nintendo NX that is least known about, however, what I do know is that unlike the PlayStation Neo and the Microsoft console, the NX is a full-on replacement for the Wii U.
As for the challenges Nintendo and the NX face, they are completely different from those faced by Sony and Microsoft. Whilst the Xbox and PlayStation have revelled in console glory, Nintendo’s previous console was an underpowered and almost devoid of third-party titles. Of the three current Gen consoles, it was easily the worst seller, in fact, most critics do not consider it to be kin to the Xbox One and PlayStation 3, instead, it can be compared to the Xbox 360 and PS3 for performance.
However, Nintendo has already begun to distance itself from a war on power with Microsoft and Sony over how many Terra-flops the NX may have and as instead focussed on Software. What this may mean is that the NX is yet again another underpowered console from Nintendo and something that it may find to be a hard sell.
Whilst at the moment the majority of all the specs for all three consoles are not known, what you can bet is that we’re in for an exciting 18-months or so. As you can bet that the rumor mill will keep a close eye on any breadcrumbs coming from the big three and try its best to extrapolate what it may mean.