Microsoft is expected to unveil its next generation Xbox consoles at E3 2019 in just a few months time, with a previous rumor that I posted not too long ago detailing some of the purported specs on the Next Xbox X and Next Xbox Streaming consoles.
The latest news on the new Xbox is that it will reportedly feature an internal physics engine, according to a new patent from Microsoft. The on-board module would calculate all of the physics for next-gen games which if true, could change things quite a lot. If we look at games like Crackdown 3 and what Microsoft wanted to achieve with it (off-loading all of the physical destruction to the cloud) and did some of it in-console and the rest in the cloud, it would really change games.
At the start of the month I reported on a newly-surfaced patent that suggested Sony's next-gen PlayStation 5 would be backwards compatible with PS1/PS2/PS3/PS4 games, and here we are again with a new patent that was filed yesterday and is registered to Sony Interactive Entertainment.
PlayStation hardware architect Mark Cerny has his name attached to the patent as an inventor, and should be leading the PS5 charge. The new patent is titled "Simulation of legacy bus operation for backward compatibility" and was registered alongside the "CPUID impersonating method" that we reported on earlier this month.
With these patents, we can only guess that Sony will have backwards compatibility as a huge feature on the PlayStation 5. If the PS5 can 'emulate' previous-gen PlayStation consoles, it would open up playing thousands of PlayStation games from all generations. Not only that but the previous post I wrote on the PS5 backwards compatibility patents teased the SRGAN process that would see "remastering by emulation" that would upscale SH/HD games to 4K using AI technology.
Sony attempted to battle Nintendo on the front of re-hashing their old consoles in a smaller and cheaper unit, it seems that isn't going so well for the Japanese dominator of the console market.
Back at the end of last year we reported on that retailers were already dropping the price of the PlayStation Classic due to its lackluster sales. The Classic console begin its journey on the market with a price tag of $99.99, that price was soon brought down to just $60 from retailers such as BestBuy, Walmart and Amazon. Some of the main contributing reasons to the abysmal sales of the PlayStation Classic is it's poor performance and disappointing list of games.
While $60 sounds pretty damn good for a Classic console that comes with 20 games, that price just got better as Amazon and Walmart have marked the console down to just $40. Despite the consoles poor performance, $40 sounds like a much better deal on what was once a console that retailers were charging $99 for. I have provided the full list of games that are available on the PlayStation Classic within the entirety of this article.
Sony Japan has reportedly just registered a new patent that would allow for full backwards compatibility on its next-gen PlayStation 5 console from "previous consoles", something that could see PS1, PS2, PS3, and PS4 games working on the PS5.
This new patent teases something that popped up last year that we covered, where it would see the new CPU in the PS5 (which will be a custom Zen 2 processor from AMD) being able to "interpret" the CPUs of previous-gen PlayStation consoles. Mark Cerny, the brains behind the PS4, filed the patent that could provide the backwards compatibility on PS5.
The patent would have the PS5 playing previous-gen PlayStation games smoothly, with its more powerful hardware able to iron out the sychronization errors between the frequency and core counts of the processors. For example, the PS3 and PS4 have radically different CPU architectures, frequencies, and core/thread counts than the upcoming PS5. Games made for the PS3 are made for that very specific hardware in only the PS3, making it difficult to 'simply emulate' it on PS4.
Sony's full internal development focus for its first-party developers is now the next generation PlayStation 5 console, something that industry analyst Daniel Ahmad has teased.
Ahmad said to ResetEra: "in general, most of the focus for Sony [first party studios] is on PS5 right now. It is still early to talk about next gen but I imagine we'll hear some whispers come out of GDC. PS5 dev kits are out there and I've heard positive things about it", but we already knew the last part.
The first part where close developers and Sony itself is fully focused on the PlayStation 5 is great news as we are close to GDC 2019 and E3 2019, with the latter event Sony pulling out of - so expect the rumors of a mid-2019 announcement of the PS5 to be true. We already know that 18% of game developers are working on games for next-gen platforms, something that will include the rumored Next Xbox X console which sounds like it'll be even faster than the PS5.
Sony's next-generation PlayStation 5 console will have a Navi GPU inside of it from AMD, with Sony having large control and influence over its design with the Radeon Technologies Group. The latest news on internal specs will see it having an 8C/16T processor from AMD in the form of a custom Zen 2 chip, while it'll also feature a custom Navi GPU and undisclosed amount of shared GDDR6 memory.
We are getting closer and closer to next-gen console announcements as E3 2019 approaches in June, but now we've had Xbox boss Phil Spencer speaking with Major Nelson where he said: "This is going to be a fun E3 for us".
There was a previous conversation at Microsoft regarding E3 2019 when Sony pulled out of hosting a press conference there, with Spencer adding: "There was some news about E3 back in the fall. We had a discussion internally about, 'Should we go big?' 'Should we save some money?' 'What does that mean?' We decided, no [we're not going to save money], we're going to do our thing. We're going to go and be as big at E3 as we've ever been. I love that opportunity".
Microsoft will lay out its greater plan for the future of Xbox at E3 2019 where we will better learn about what they have planned for the future, as well as what the Xbox brand means - beyond what it means as a physical console. Spencer underlined the fact that there are millions of people who spend time and money on platforms off of the Xbox including PCs and mobile, and he has plans to show people at E3 2019 that they won't need an Xbox to be part of the Xbox community.
This is a big deal because we know there are cloud-based platforms that Microsoft is working on, including a game-streaming service with Project xCloud. It might be years away, but we should expect some massive cloud-based announcements and a new 'Next Xbox Streaming' console with a rumored price of $249, codenamed Lockhart. It'll reportedly feature an 8C/16T processor, cut down Navi GPU and 12GB of GDDR6. We're also told this could be a disc-free streaming box, while the higher-end Next Xbox X rolls out with monster specs and a rumored $499 price.
We know that the next-gen Xbox and PlayStation consoles are both in development and both use AMD technololgy in the form of a Zen 2 processor and Navi GPU, but now a new leak on Reddit is teasing some monster specs for what the purported next-gen Microsoft consoles: Xbox Streaming and Xbox X.
The rumors are coming from a Reddit post which teases the codename Lockhart as the Next Xbox Streaming console that will reportedly launch for $249, and it'll pack a custom 8C/16T Zen 2 processor from AMD. Microsoft is reportedly using a custom Navi GPU with 4 TFLOPs of performance, 12GB of GDDR6 (which will most likely be shared memory across the system and graphics side of things), and a huge and super-fast 1TB NVMe SSD with 1GB/sec of speed.
Xbox X spec (codename Anaconda) - $499:
CPU: AMD's custom Zen 2 CPU with 8C/16T (should be on 7nm)
GPU: Custom Navi GPU (12 TFLOPs of performance, also should be 7nm)
Memory: 16GB GDDR6 (surprising, but will be probably shared with GPU)
Storage: 1TB NVMe SSD @ 1GB/s+ bandwidth
API: DirectX Raytracing + MS AI (DXR being used will be HUGE, enables ray tracing)
Xbox Streaming (codename: Lockhart) - $249:
CPU: AMD's custom Zen 2 CPU with 8C/16T (should be on 7nm)
GPU: Custom Navi GPU (4 TFLOPs of performance, 1/3 the Xbox X)
Memory: 12GB GDDR6 (2/3 of the Xbox X)
Storage: 1TB NVMe SSD @ 1GB/s+ bandwidth
API: DirectX Raytracing + MS AI
There is a large amount of hype quickly building around Slightly Mad Studios in the last week or two, with our first real news about its upcoming next-gen Project CARS 3 game and then the weird-but-real news about the developer working on its own console known as Mad Box.
I want to be clear about this. The best slogan for the 'Mad Box' gets 10K and free games for life. This isn't a joke. Hit me.— Ian Bell SMS (@bell_sms) January 6, 2019
Now we have studio boss Ian Bell taking to Twitter announcing that whoever comes up with the marketing slogan for Mad Box will get $10,000 as well as "free games for life". Bell added that this "isn't a joke". After what would've been a flood of suggestions, Bell tweeted out that he couldn't keep up with everyone, but he will "get my guys in to vet every single suggestion and the one we use (if we use it but at this rate I think we will) will see the cash and the games".
Bell has previously commented that the Mad Box will be the "most powerful console ever" but is that for today's standards with the Xbox One X and PS4 Pro? Or is it already better than what we'll see inside of Xbox Scarlett and PlayStation 5? I guess we'll have to wait and see, just like we'll have to wait and see what the marketing slogan is for Mad Box. I hope it's something so completely cheesy.
Now that we're a few days into 2019 the hype train for next-gen consoles begins, with analysts talking with GamesIndustry.biz about what the potentials and predictions of the gaming market for 2019 will be. Some interesting things were said about Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo that tease new hardware releases this year, and into 2020 and beyond.
Dr. Serkan Toto of Kantan Games predicts that in 2019 we'll see Nintendo release a '2019 Switch Pro' as well as a 'Switch Lite' or a reduced price on Switch. As for the next-gen PlayStation 5 and Xbox Scarlett consoles, Dr. Toto said: "I predict no next-gen PlayStation or Xbox launches for 2019. However, Sony and Microsoft should officially reveal first details, including an increased focus on cloud and subscription models for their next consoles".
This is what I expect to see, with Sony's away-from-E3 2019 event being a huge PS5 tease as well as the last wave of PS4 games, before the PlayStation 5 is released in 2020. Sony will have their first Navi samples back from AMD by then and can start ramping numbers up to get them ready for 2020, as Sony is just now celebrating the fact that PlayStation 4 sales have hit 90 million units. The road to PS5 is nearly here, the same with Microsoft's next-gen Xbox.
The hype for next-gen consoles is beginning to get louder and louder, and while we have been hearing more about Sony's next-gen PlayStation 5 console, that doesn't mean Microsoft's new Xbox Scarlett console has been invisible.
The latest news for the next-gen Xbox comes from Windows Central write Jez Corden, who tweeted the next-gen Xbox development kit is codenamed "Anaconda", with Microsoft staying with its reptile-themed codenames. The original Xbox One was codenamed "Durango" while the beefier Xbox One X console was codenamed "Chuckwalla".
Microsoft should be using AMD's upcoming CPU and GPU technology inside of the next-gen Xbox Scarlett include Zen 2 as well as the custom-made Navi GPU architecture which will be refitted for a new PC graphics side. The new Xbox 'Anaconda' console will see a Navi-based GPU that will use GDDR6 memory technology, over the HBM2 used in Vega and GDDR5 used on the Radeon RX 400/500 series and the Polaris-based GPU inside of the Xbox One/S/X consoles.
- Xbox One - Durango
- Xbox One X - Chuckwalla
- Xbox Sclarett - Anaconda