We all know how superior the PC is to console hardware, with even future consoles from Microsoft and Sony not being able to begin a thumb war against PC hardware, let alone beat them - and now Microsoft has admitted it, too.
Microsoft's Senior Director of Product Management & Planning, Albert Penello, recently spoke with The Guardian about PC gaming's renaissance, and the huge leap in technology happening on PC. Penello said: "In the last five years, there's been a real renaissance in PC gaming, and that's happening with NVIDIA and AMD investing in really high-end performance - to the point where PCs have eclipsed consoles much more significantly than ever before. In fact consoles used to lead PCs and it would take a while for them to catch up".
Well yeah - duh, Microsoft. You're putting APUs into consoles that are slower than mid-range PCs from 5-6 years ago, and even Xbox Scorpio with all of its 'power', can't compete against a new mid-range card. This is all without the next-gen GPUs launching in 2017 that promise a good leap in performance over the current-gen cards, which already stomp all over the consoles.
Microsoft has been touting the 4K gaming abilities of its new Project Scorpio Xbox console, but when Microsoft's Albert Penello spoke with The Guardian recently, he talked about Microsoft's full 4K gaming on the Xbox Scorpio, and how developers will have to deal with new challenges.
It looks like we won't be seeing 4K 60FPS on the Xbox Scorpio anytime soon, and nowhere near the launch in 2017, as it will be up to developers to decide where to use the additional horsepower provided by Xbox Scorpio, in their games. Penello said: "But we've said very clearly that it's up to the developers how they want to take advantage of that power. Some developers focus on effects, some on frame rate some on resolution - it's up to them what they want to do".
Penello continued, saying that developers will be able to meet, and master 4K gaming on the Xbox Scorpio after a while. He added: "If you look at game engines like Frostbite and Unreal, developers have got really good at scaling - they're excellent at figuring out how to build textures at very high resolutions, then being able to optimise that artwork for various platforms. With that in consideration, it will be easier to take advantage of the performance difference of Scorpio because these guys are already building games that far surpass what consoles can do today".
Read Also: Project Scorpio renders games in native 4K
It looks like Microsoft is already preparing for the wave of gamers complaining about the performance of 4K games on Xbox Scorpio, with Penello adding: "The developers have to go through a transition, just like customers. We are spending as much time and energy on our dev tools as we are on anything customer-facing. Making it easier for developers to take advantage of the power, making it easier for developers who are working on an Xbox One game to get a great Scorpio game and vice versa - we're developing those tools now".
Sony might win the console arm wrestle for the rest of the year and into 2016, but Microsoft announced its new Project Scorpio console a year early which has some console gamers waiting, and that's something Microsoft intended.
Microsoft's Senior Director of Product Management, Albert Pinello talked with TechRadar recently, where he talked about the announcements of both the recently released Xbox One S and Xbox Scorpio earlier this year at E3. He said: "We wanted to let people know in advance so that we didn't run into the opposite problem which is next year we announce Scorpio and we have people that bought Xbox One S and went 'Why didn't you tell me this was coming a year later? I would have waited".
It makes sense, with Microsoft announcing Xbox Scorpio early, gamers will know when it's coming - and that it's a powerful console, and will save for it.
Nintendo has been eyeing down a March 2017 release for its next-gen codename NX console, which we broke the news on that it would be a Pascal-based Tegra design all the way back in May. The latest on Nintendo NX is from Emily Rogers, who had an update on NX that said:
- Toshiba, Megachips, and Macronix are all involved with the Nintendo NX.
- Toshiba is the world's second-largest NAND chip maker after Samsung. They also manufactured the flash memory chips for the Nintendo 3DS.
- NX hardware is finalized. Don't expect any drastic changes.
- NX is now entering a very early stage of production.
- Zero percent chance of NX being delayed from its March launch.
Right now, this is what we're expecting:
- Custom NVIDIA GPU chip
- Region Free (No region lock)
- Six inch (6.2 inch?) multi-touchscreen (Heard nothing about a stylus)
- The touchscreen has 720p resolution.
- 32GB of built-in internal storage
- SD card support
- Supports USB 2.0 and 3.0
- The dock has two 2.0 USB ports and one 3.0 USB port.
- The portable device is around 14 - 15 mm in thickness.
- The right analogue stick (or circle pad?) will be below the face buttons.
- Camera and microphone are not built into/inside the NX portable device.
- Cooling is still a little noisy
- Detachable controllers (motion controls and next-gen vibration technology) <- Everything Laura Kate Dale said in her article was correct.
- Share / Social button that Laura Kate Dale posted is true.
- There are *at least* two shoulder buttons.
- Battery Life - Ehhh not great. I haven't heard an exact number of hours, but it doesn't sound great.
- Below PS4 and XB1 in raw power.
- Supports Unreal Engine 4 and Unity Engine.
Upgradeable consoles would be a huge change to the current console slate, but according to President and Global CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment, Andrew House, isn't going to happen on his watch - at least not yet.
House recently talked with DigitalSpy about the upcoming PS4 Pro and Sony's goals with the PlayStation VR headset - which launches next month, where House was asked if he could see a future where the PlayStation would be upgradeable, like a PC. House replied: "It's very tough for me to envisage that at this point".
If we rewind to just last week, I wrote an article where House himself said that one of the driving reasons behind the beefier PS4 Pro consoles was that so gamers didn't jump to the PC for 4K gaming goodness. House said: "I saw some data that really influenced me. It suggested that there's a dip mid-console lifecycle where the players who want the very best graphical experience will start to migrate to PC, because that's obviously where it's to be had".
Sony thinks that gamers will migrate to the PC for better graphics, yet it doesn't want to make an upgradeable console - but it is completely fine with releasing two mid-cycle PS4 refresh consoles, without jumping to the PS5. Sure, Sony... keep playing the game like this, but when Xbox Scorpio drops next year, then what?
Crytek seems to be happy about the new PlayStation 4 Pro (check out my rant on that here) and Xbox Scorpio consoles from Sony and Microsoft, respectively, with some new comments on the refreshed consoles where the studio says the additional horsepower helps remove some of the limitations of current-gen consoles.
In a post on Crytek's official blog, Crytek Game Designer Niklas Walenski said that developers are limited to some extent. This limitation is normally due to various hardware limitations in consoles, but the additional horsepower inside of the new PS4 Pro and upcoming Xbox Scorpio will remove some of these limitations.
Walenski said: "We are always limited to some extent in videogame development, and we have to work within certain constraints that are usually related to the power of a system versus what we would like to do. But new hardware inevitably removes some of the limitations. We can create bigger worlds, render much more, and have more complex systems running our ideas".
A few days ago I sat in front of the camera and talked about Sony's new PlayStation 4 Pro in a FB Live video, and for the first 20 minutes or so, I went on a huge rant about it. I had a few people tell me to make it into a separate video, and here it is.
In the video I point out that Sony Interactive Entertainment's President and CEO Andrew House said: "I saw some data that really influenced me. It suggested that there's a dip mid-console lifecycle where the players who want the very best graphical experience will start to migrate to PC, because that's obviously where it's to be had. We wanted to keep those people within our eco-system by giving them the very best and very highest [performance quality]. So the net result of those thoughts was PlayStation 4 Pro - and, by and large, a graphical approach to game improvement".
Yeah, well I wasn't about to take that lying down. I had a personal rant in the original story, and continued in the FB Live stream from a few days ago. It's truly ridiculous that Sony think a Radeon RX 470 level graphics card inside of a constrained console can pump out 4K games - and that gamers will buy the new PS4 Pro over the PC if they want "the very best graphical experience".
The Last of Us was one of the best-received games on Sony's console, with the news of The Last of Us Remastered running at 4K 30FPS on the new PlayStation 4 Pro to keep fans happy. Remember that Sony made the PS4 Pro so that gamers wouldn't be incentivized to jump over to the PC. Ugh.
The news broke during the recent PlayStation Meeting where Sony unveiled the new PS4 Pro, with Digital Foundry's Richard Leadbetter saying that The Last of Us Remastered "clearly wasn't running at native 4K on the demo they were showing. They could do the HDR toggles on/off, they could turn off and turn on 1080p and yeah, you could see the difference there. But it was actually talking to the developer that things really became interesting".
He continued: "The PS4 version has that 30Hz mode which has higher-resolution shadow maps but otherwise it's just a locked 30fps. Now that mode on the PS4 Pro, well you keep the enhanced shadow map detail but you also get native 4K. So we have actually got a confirmed case of full native 4K game that will be available for PS4 Pro at launch, which will be The Last of Us Remastered".
Imagine being in the boardroom when Sony decided to start planning the mid-cycle refresh console that started out as the PS4 Neo, and turned into the PS4 Pro. At the time, Sony reportedly decided in favor of making the PS4 Pro as they were scared that gamers who wanted the "very best graphical experience will start to migrate, because that's obviously where it's to be had".
During an interview with The Guardian directly after the recent PlayStation Meeting where Sony unveiled the PlayStation 4 Pro, Sony Interactive Entertainment's President and CEO Andrew House said: "I saw some data that really influenced me. It suggested that there's a dip mid-console lifecycle where the players who want the very best graphical experience will start to migrate to PC, because that's obviously where it's to be had".
House continued: "We wanted to keep those people within our eco-system by giving them the very best and very highest [performance quality]. So the net result of those thoughts was PlayStation 4 Pro - and, by and large, a graphical approach to game improvement".
It looks like Nintendo could reveal details on their next-gen NX system early next month, something that was kind of hidden in a new article from The Wall Street Journal that covered Nintendo's jump into mobile gaming with Super Mario Run on iOS revealed during Apple's recent iPhone event.
In the report, WSJ's Takashi Mochizuki said: "The challenge now for Nintendo is leveraging all the attention into sales of the next-generation NX console, which it has said will go on sale by March. The company hasn't given any details on the NX, but people familiar with the matter say it is likely to be designed for use both as a living-room console hooked up to a television and as a portable device to carry around town. Analysts said they expect Nintendo to release NX details by early October".
That last sentence is the golden nugget, with analysts expecting Nintendo to reveal details on NX early next month - which isn't long away now. With increased competition from Microsoft in the form of the Xbox One S and the upcoming 4K-capable Project Scorpio console in 2017, and Sony's newly refreshed PS4 Slim and powerful 4K-ready PS4 Pro consoles, can Nintendo stand away from the competitors with NX?