Video gamers are set to witness a major battle in the console marketplace in the coming months, with Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo all seemingly intending to release new machines. The Nintendo NX was the first of three next generation consoles to be confirmed, but industry rumors make the PlayStation 4.5 / NEO a virtual certainty, and it is also expected that Microsoft will release a souped up sequel to the Xbox One, which is tentatively titled the Xbox One Scorpio.
Xbox One Scorpio sequel
To deal with the Microsoft device firstly, it seems that the software and consumer electronics giant is intending to release an upgraded Xbox One console that will be more powerful than both the existing PlayStation 4 and its rumored PlayStation 4.5 / NEO upgrade. The codenamed Scorpio console is believed to run at 6 teraflops; potentially a four-fold processing upgrade over the standard Xbox One.
By way of comparison, it is expected that the 4K PlayStation 4.5 / NEO unit which is anticipated for release in September or October, will run at just over 4 teraflops.
It does seem that Microsoft will need to release an improved machine with Sony preparing the PlayStation 4.5 / NEO For release, but the specs linked with the Xbox One Scorpio do seem particularly optimistic. Whether Microsoft is really in any position to manufacture such a powerful console considering the fact that it trails behind Sony significantly in the existing marketplace is debatable.
And the corporation has declined to comment on the existence of the Xbox One Scorpio, meaning that this machine remains very much a matter of speculation. While the PlayStation 4.5 / NEO is considered a certainty, analysts are less confident that this Microsoft project will see the light of day, and certainly not in the same timeframe as the Sony unit.
Microsoft is also expected to make universal compatibility a major focus of the Xbox One Scorpio, and a powerful machine capable of playing all generation Xbox titles could be a big seller for the corporation.
However, there is still some industry doubt over the Xbox One Scorpio owing to the comments of Xbox boss Phil Spencer. The Xbox supremo seemed to rule out the possibility of a mid-generation Microsoft release previously, stating that there would be no ‘Xbox 1.5’.
The PlayStation 4.5 / NEO is intended to time-in with Sony’s new virtual reality technology; the PlayStation VR headset. Indeed, one anonymous industry insider this week suggested that this was the major motivation for Sony releasing a new console, with the individual in question rather scathing about the potential of the PlayStation 4 to run virtual reality technology adequately.
Sony has already produced a development kit, which has been leaked to the media, which provides developers with advice on how to convert gaming to 4K resolution in the PlayStation 4.5 / NEO generation. However, there is scepticism that it will be possible for game studios to deliver 4K gaming in the foreseeable future, and certainly not with the PlayStation 4.5 / NEO.
Nonetheless, the console will have the ability to output in 4K resolution, which should mean collaboration with major streaming services such as Netflix in this ultra-high resolution. In order to provide as much processing power as possible, recent reports indicate that the PlayStation 4.5 / NEO will utilize the same CPU as the PS4, but with each of the eight Jaguar calls included clocked to 2.1GHz instead of 1.6GHz.
Another exciting prospect for PlayStation 4.5 / NEO users is that Gran Turismo Sport will be available in the early weeks of the console’s release, and will possibly collaborate with virtual reality from day one. This will bring back memories for Sony aficionados of the PlayStation 2, sales of which were hugely boosted by the release of Gran Turismo 3.
Ultimately, although Sony wishes for the PlayStation 4.5 / NEO to be as powerful as possible, and deliver next generation video game technology such as 4K, virtual reality and advanced streaming, it will also be a practical device. The pricing of the unit is anticipated to be around the same as the launch version of the PlayStation 4 console, or possibly even less, with Sony viewing the PlayStation 4.5 / NEO as very much a mass-market console.
Nintendo has always relied on innovation for its console products, and this is certainly expected to continue when the Nintendo NX is released. The corporation has already described the machine as a brand new concept, with the sadly late former Nintendo CEO, Satoru Iwata, stating that “if you only expand upon existing hardware, it’s dull. In some shape or form, we’re always thinking about how we want to surprise players as well as our desire to change each person’s video gaming life.”
So the Nintendo NX is not so much about mind-blowing specifications, and instead will be more focused on innovation in the industry. However, it is expected to be significantly more powerful than previous Nintendo consoles, with the Nintendo NX being linked with processing power in excess of the existing Xbox One.
Nintendo is also expected to have a pretty impressive raft of games available for the console out of the box. Dragon Quest X and Dragon Quest XI, courtesy of Square Enix, have been confirmed, while new Mario and Zelda titles are already anticipated.
Sony is in the strongest position to release a new console, and the motivation for Nintendo to do so is obvious. It seems that Sony is looking to back up new technology with the PlayStation 4.5 / NEO, embracing virtual reality and attempting to deliver some form of 4K content as well.
Meanwhile, Nintendo will attempt to move on from the Wii U, which was not a massive success for the corporation, with an innovative new machine. At the time of writing, it is not entirely clear what Nintendo has in mind for the NX, but previous releases have indicated the boundless capacity of the Japanese corporation to surprise us. The NX will probably remain something of a niche machine, but still has the potential to attract large numbers of casual gamers if Nintendo is able to pull something particularly interesting out of the hat.
The Xbox One Scorpio is the wildcard of the three, with Microsoft having even denied its existence publicly. This doesn’t necessarily mean anything; corporations frequently mislead consumers with regard to their intentions. But the rumored specs of the machine do not seem particularly likely, especially considering the current market position of Microsoft. Thus, the Xbox One Scorpio is the hardest of these three machines to predict, and may even never be released.