There isn’t a trend to release regular upgrades to gaming consoles within their own life cycles, but Xbox One and PlayStation 4 seem to be getting really awesome facelifts soon. Microsoft announced Project Scorpio at its E3 2016 press briefing, and Sony confirmed PlayStation Neo. Both consoles seem to be going for 4K gaming, increased processing power and better video playback to give the consumer an overall richer experience while they game.
Project Scorpio is being touted by Microsoft to be a powerhouse. Xbox Chief Phil Spencer says that it’ll be the most powerful gaming console ever built and that it’ll introduce Virtual Reality gaming to the console space. It will support 4K gaming, 4K video playback, will be 4.5 times as powerful as the Xbox One and will deliver 6 Teraflops of computing power (meaning the console will be able to do 6 trillion floating point calculations per second).
This doesn’t necessarily mean that the console will perform faster. It’s equivalent to a miles per gallon rating for a car. It doesn’t mean the car runs faster, only that it delivers greater mileage than cars with a lower ratings. That being said, the Xbox One currently delivers 1.33 Teraflops of computing power so there’s bound to be a noticeable difference in gameplay. Executives at Microsoft said that the 6 Teraflops is why they’re pushing the release to 2017. Until then the Xbox One S is here to fill the void but it’s only great for 4K video and HDR, it won’t be nearly as powerful as it’s big brother coming up next year.
Aaron Greenberg, the Marketing boss for Xbox started at E3 that they were building a beast. And the only way to beat one of those is with a bigger beast. Sony you’re up.
Sony plans to release PlayStation VR later this year, the company’s virtual reality headset that promises an optimal experience at a cheap price point. There are over 50 games planned for launch by the end of this year, and a lot of content promised for the coming years. And to top that there are unconfirmed reports that PlayStation Neo (also being called the PS 4K) will launch later this year too.
However, the 4K video playback, the 4K gaming and the increased processing power to match project Scorpio is a definite possibility.
Eye Candy or a big step forward?
The PS4 NEO and Project Scorpio don’t just seem like Eye candy to boost the popularity and sales of either company, these signal the start of a whole new competition. The virtual reality gaming experience has been talked about over and over for the last decade and nothing ever materialized but now, for the first time the two most popular gaming consoles are going at it for the crown.
Who will win is anyone’s guess because this is completely uncharted territory. All the previews for it look rich and immersive but the experience of playing it could be completely different. The ergonomics and physicality of the whole experience is what will really matter; whether gamers will feel comfortable playing VR games for as long as they do.