Sony has unveiled its next generation video games console the PlayStation 4 Pro, which was for a long time codenamed the PlayStation Neo. This new machine from the Japanese technology giant will arrive in the stores in October, well ahead of the potential release dates of its competitors; the Xbox Scorpio and Nintendo NX. But based on what we know about these three machines thus far, how do they stack up against one another?
PlayStation 4 Pro vs Xbox Scorpio vs Nintendo NX – Hard drive
Firstly, Sony has indicated that the PlayStation 4 Pro will feature a 1TB hard drive. While it is possible to upgrade the existing PlayStation 4 hard drive to this memory quantity, the original unit included with the console is only half this size.
Early indications for the Xbox One Scorpio suggest that this console may have double the storage quantity of the PlayStation 4 Pro. The Scorpio is not expected to release until the latter months of 2017, which means that Microsoft will be able to arm this console with outstanding specs. Indeed, while the Sony competitor is to some extent a mid-generation release, it is believed that the Xbox One Scorpio will be much more of a next generation machine, making a huge step forward over the already released Xbox One.
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Nintendo has been coy regarding the specs links with the NX, but the Japanese corporation usually takes a completely different approach to its main console rivals. Thus, we shouldn’t necessarily expect outstanding numbers related to the new Nintendo console, although some reports have been linked the machine with very much beefed up specs. There is no specific information available regarding the hard drive in the Nintendo NX, but it would be surprising if it was larger than 1TB considering the specifications linked with the console.
The PlayStation 4 Pro is fitted with an eight-core processor, and this is also thought to be the case with the Xbox One Scorpio. The Sony machine is capable of 4.20 TFLOPS, and also features an AMD Radeon-based graphics engine.
Microsoft has suggested that its consoles will significantly outrank the Sony machine in this department, with the Xbox One Scorpio possibly capable of processing power in the region of 6 TFLOPS.
Nintendo has declined to release any information regarding the capabilities of the Nintendo NX, and thus gossip on the matter has varied significantly. Some suggest that the NX will benefit from specs in the region of the existing PlayStation 4, but a report on Nintendo News indicated that the console could outrank this significantly. This leak linked the Nintendo NX with a custom Radeon HD RX 200 GPU and 4.60 TFLOPS of computing power. This would really put the Nintendo machine back in the mainstream gaming mix, if indeed it turns out to be accurate.
Sony refrained from making any particular reference to virtual reality at its unveiling event for the PlayStation 4 Pro. But there is no doubt that the new PlayStation 4 Pro machine is intended to offer an excellent virtual reality experience, and to some extent is a companion device for the forthcoming PlayStation VR headset, even though it is also compatible with the existing PlayStation 4.
Arguably this gives Sony something of an advantage over Microsoft, with the latter having no specific virtual reality hardware of its own. But Microsoft has stated that the Xbox Scorpio will be compatible with Oculus Rift, and that central to its strategy is delivering high-end VR.
Xbox chief Phil Spencer indicated that Microsoft views the Scorpio as far more than an upgrade in this area. “Because as we saw 4K gaming and really high-end VR taking off in the PC space, we wanted to be able to bring that to console. Project Scorpio is actually an Xbox One that can natively run games in 4K and is built with the hardware capabilities to support the high-end VR that you see happening in the PC space today…when it ships it will be the most powerful console ever built,” Spencer commented recently.
Nintendo had originally seemed to rule itself out from delivering virtual reality with the NX, indicating that it wouldn’t provide this functionality until it had proven itself to be mainstream. But recent comments have been more encouraging on the idea of virtual reality aspects to the Nintendo NX.
Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima confirmed that Nintendo is researching VR. “We are well aware that other companies are developing games and game-related products using VR technologies, and that consumers are interested in all of this. However, I cannot say anything specific at this time, but understand that we also consider VR to be a promising technology, and we are conducting research with much interest”.
Mario and Zelda creator Shigeru Miyamoto also offered room for encouragement, although he is cautious about the impact of VR as well.
“As for VR, we are researching not just VR but [augmented reality] and many other technologies. We have a range of core technology including 3D, and we are also considering the possibility of implementing these in our own hardware development. For VR in particular, we are continuing our research, and looking into development with a mind to how our current core products are meant to be played for a relatively long period of time. We are looking into the possibilities of providing an experience that gives value when played for a short time, and how to eliminate the concerns of long-duration use,” Miyamoto commented.
With Sony showcasing demos of 4K resolution in gaming at its PS4 Pro launch event, it seems certain that both the PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox Scorpio will deliver this advanced resolution. However, it seems unlikely that Nintendo will aim for 4K resolution gaming, with the Nintendo NX instead expected to rely on the unique functionality that the corporation is already pushing.
Sony Computer Entertainment boss Andrew House confirmed that both Netflix and YouTube will offer 4K video content on the PlayStation 4 Pro. It is extremely likely that Microsoft will follow suit with the Xbox Scorpio. The Nintendo NX will probably feature HD streaming, but is unlikely to embrace 4K resolution.
4K Blu-Ray discs
Microsoft has an advantage over Sony in the playback of 4K Blu-ray discs, with the PlayStation 4 Pro unable to offer this functionality. Considering that the existing Xbox One S already delivers this feature, it is pretty safe to say that it will also appear in the Xbox One Scorpio. However, Nintendo is extremely unlikely to include 4K Blu-ray playback in the Nintendo NX.
The PlayStation 4 Pro will retail at $399 in the United States; considered a competitive price point. Both the Microsoft and Nintendo consoles naturally have no fixed price at the time of writing, but it is believed by some analysts that the price of the Xbox Scorpio could be around £500 in the UK. Considering that the PlayStation 4 Pro will go on sale at £349 in Britain, this would suggest that the retail price of the console in the US could be around $575. Certainly this seems realistic if Microsoft is to include the sort of the specs which are being linked with the machine.
Nintendo has a history of delivering affordable hardware, and thus the NX has been linked with a price tag of approximately $260.