With the magic of E3 behind us we are left in the wake of some truly extraordinary hardware announcements. Microsoft announced that they will be releasing two new Xbox consoles, the Xbox One S and the Xbox Scorpio. Sony steered clear of consoles this year opting to reveal their new VR capabilities, in the form of Project Morpheus. Nintendo stayed away from hardware all together and focused specifically on games, with no news whatsoever of the NX coming from the industry giant.
In the following days of E3 we have heard a little more from Sony and Microsoft about their consoles but still not a lot more from Nintendo. Although this picture of Nintendo’s American head honcho, Reggie Fils-Aime, checking out the latest Xbox One S speaks a thousand words.
Today we are going to round up what we know of each console so far. But before I do, I need to clarify one thing; what is a ‘teraflop’? This is something I get asked a lot and you will see it mentioned many times as you read on, so to clarify.
Basically, the more teraflops you have the more powerful the system is. It is a way of measuring how many operations a developer can create to happen within the space of a second. That’s the unofficial version, the official version is that it is a unit of computing speed equal to one million million - that is 1012 floating point operations per second. The more you have the better and more dynamic the creation will be.
The Xbox Scorpio
The Scorpio will be Microsoft’s midway point between generations of console – the Scorpio will, in effect, be Microsoft’s stepping stone toward the Xbox Two. The Scorpio was unveiled at E3 this year as the next giant leap in gaming and will apparently be the “most powerful gaming console” ever made. We are still a long way off a launch date with rumours suggesting a release to coincide with Christmas 2017.
This new Scorpio will peak at 6 teraflops with 320GBGB/s (a bandwidth shared by top end PC’s) and will be capable of running 4k gaming seamlessly. The bare minimum I would expect in terms of memory is 8GB of graphics memory. It will be four times as powerful as the original Xbox meaning that VR will also run incomparably better on the Scorpio.
As a comparison, the PS4 peaks at 1.84 teraflops compared to the Xbox Ones 1.32 – the PS4 Neo aims to peak at 4.14 but the Xbox Scorpio will boast a massive peak of 6 teraflops – that’s four times faster than the original Xbox One.
The PS4 Neo unit will ship with a bigger GPU, CPU and Ram, it will peak at 4.14 teraflops and will boast 218GB/s and a GDDR5. The console will have a faster clock speed, but the HDD will remain the same. It is believed that the Neo will share the same memory stats as the Scorpio with a similar 8GB of graphics memory.
It has been built specifically to cater to the exploding VR market. Although there was no mention of the PS4 Neo, E3 2016 saw the reveal of the official Morpheus release date. Morpheus is set to launch October 13 of this year. This could potentially coincide with the reveal of the Neo as the console is geared specifically to the VR market.
Not only will it play the latest in virtual reality but it will output all content in 4K, meaning those of you with 4K televisions will experience your new games in a much higher resolution. The games will not have to be 4K native.
Sure, the Scorpio will be a much more powerful machine than the PS4 Neo but the Scorpio is still a long way away. The Ps4 Neo is reportedly set for release very soon, speculation into when and where this will be is taking us to such potential venues as Cologne (Gamescom), Tokyo (Tokyo Games Show) or even Paris for Paris Games Week.
The stats between the Xbox One original and the PS4 Neo are about as uneven as a blind cobbler’s shoes. The Neo trounces the Xbox One but the Scorpio betters the Neo. Take a look at the graph.
Xbox One S
As for the Xbox One S or Xbox One Slim, this is not necessarily an up rated machine. It does however have a little more process power but only to support the new addition to the Xbox S which is High Dynamic Range gaming – this basically allows for a higher level of fidelity compared to that of the original Xbox One but unless played on an HDR TV you will not be able to tell the difference.
The unit is a whopping 40 percent smaller than the original Xbox One and includes a built in power pack. It will not allow for 4K gaming but will allow for 4K bluray output. Basically the Xbox S has a HDMI 2.0a, which allows the machine to output 4K at 60Hz which the original cannot.
What you don’t get with the S is a dedicated port for the kinect, instead it has been replaced by an IR Blaster which basically allows you to access the Xbox S via other devices like surfaces and phones.
Nintendo failed to wow us with hardware this year at E3 but my gosh they nailed it with games. The NX was on every bodies E3 wish list this year but sadly it was not even mentioned. Nothing, nada, zip. Nintendo have kept this project a secret for months and months and unlike Sony and Microsoft have done very well in containing leaks.
What we do know is that this console will be unlike anything we have seen from Nintendo before. Speaking with Time's Matt Peckham, Kimishima, Nintendo’s President stated.
As far as NX goes, I've said it's different and obviously a new experience. That being said, I can assure you we're not building the next version of Wii or Wii U. It's something unique and different. It's something where we have to move away from those platforms in order to make it something that will appeal to our consumer base.
It is rumoured that the NX will incorporate a portable element and be accessible remotely from other devices. Some of Nintendo’s greatest creations came from the biggest leaps of faith and I sincerely hope that they have taken this philosophy forward again with the NX. The world doesn’t need a new Wii.
NX has the potential to throw Nintendo back in to pool with the big boys – Microsoft and Sony both know that Nintendo have the capability and could be another reason why they are frantically building bigger better machines.
To sum up, The Xbox One S is a better machine than the original Xbox One; it is smaller, quieter and ever so slightly faster but not really worth the upgrade without the TV to support the console.
The PS4 Neo is twice the machine the PS4 is but again without the TV and the VR to play on, it is not a necessary purchase. For those that want that 4K gaming experience however, the Neo or Scorpio are your only console options.
The important thing to note here is that, there will be no Xbox One S or PS4 Neo specific titles released.
The Xbox Scorpio however is worth the upgrade if you have the cash. Part exchange the old machine to bring the price down a little more. It is a faster unit by far but with the NX and a potential Sony rival to the Scorpio on the horizon, my advice is to wait.