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New iterative cycle may trigger console gaming collapse

By: Derek Strickland | Editorials in Gaming | Posted: Aug 18, 2016 10:25 pm

Buying $400 - $600 consoles every 2-3 years isn't feasible




Back in 2013, PlayStation 4 owners shelled out $399 for their system whereas Xbox One owners spent $499.



What about the cost? Sony has confirmed that the PlayStation 4 Neo is a "high-end" console, and it'll be more expensive than the $399 PS4. That's not so bad, right? Well, it is if you already own a PS4 that you paid $399 for three years ago, and it's even worse if you recently bought a system.


Microsoft's Project Scorpio, however, will be closer to $600-700 thanks to its new components, which will deliver performance we've never seen before in consoles. New high-end tech packs quite a premium price, and Microsoft is keen on delivering the world's first "enthusiast console".


"We're trying to shift the culture and put the power of when to upgrade in the hands of gamers, as opposed to it being driven by technology or a corporate initiative," said Microsoft exec Shannon Loftis. "I hope that we don't frustrate gamers. We're responding to them. The feedback we've received is that they want more choices."


But gamers will not be keen on spending even $400 on consoles every two or three years, especially not $600+ for premium tech. If the gaming sector sends signals to Sony and Microsoft that the iterative cycle is what we want, they could adopt the approach full force, which could ultimately cause the market to collapse.


If these companies try to sell us expensive consoles so quickly and make our current systems near-obsolete, gamers will likely just move to PC, causing the console industry to fall apart. Microsoft and Sony need to be extremely careful how they handle this, but we all know that both gaming giants want to keep the console wars going as long as possible and are clumsy at long-term planning.


But why is the price so high? Project Scorpio's price is so high because the console will likely use brand new top-shelf hardware.


We guessed that Project Scorpio would rock AMD's brand new powerful and efficient 14nm 8-core Zen CPU alongside a heavily customized GPU that could sit between AMD's Polaris and Vega architectures to enable native 4K console gaming.


Remember console GPUs are always heavily customized and scaled down and can't be directly compared to dedicated desktop-grade video cards, so AMD's 14nm Polaris line which apparently tops out at the RX 480 video card won't be able to hit Project Scorpio's performance target in a scaled form factor.

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