The era of the PS4 and Xbox One is finally coming to an end, with Sony and Microsoft both officially announcing their next systems. Though neither will hit the shelves until at least 2020, it's always good to see how they stack up. Below is the tale of the tape for both the upcoming PS5 and Xbox's Project Scarlett.
The first new console announcement out of the gate was Sony's newest Playstation. At the moment, the system is still going by the obvious name of PlayStation 5, continuing Sony's numbering scheme and making a strong argument for Sony having the best eye when it comes to brand awareness. Despite the fact that the PlayStation 5 has already been announced, though, we know precious little about the machine - at least, officially. There have been enough leaks and information drips to give consumers a fair idea of what to expect when the system is finally released.
If there's one thing we can be sure of when it comes to the PS5, it's that Sony isn't going to fix anything that isn't broken. There's a remarkable amount of continuity between all of Sony's systems, with the PS4 really being a natural outgrowth of the PS3. We can and should probably expect the PS5 to be a very similar beast to its antecedent, with a lot of new beefy features under the hood but with an interface that functions similarly to the current iteration.
One thing Sony's been very clear about recently is that it's not abandoning this generation of consoles without a fight. Sony's released some absolutely fantastic games over the lives of its last two systems and it looks like the company wants to let players keep playing them. Sony's putting a lot of work into emulating its older systems on its new consoles, which means that players should expect to see a type of backward compatibility that's very similar to what Microsoft is doing with its Xbox One. This is great news for PlayStation fans, especially for those who haven't really bought into PSNow.
Sony's also been very adamant that they're going to keep investing in the VR space. Luckily for consumers, this means that the current PSVR headset will continue to work with the PS5. Whether or not current PSVR games work, however, is yet to be seen. Given how much effort Sony seems to be putting into both backward compatibility and into keeping its VR efforts moving forward, it seems very likely that these will be among the first games ported over to the new system.
It wouldn't be a new PlayStation without some impressing tech running under the hood, and it's already known that the guts of the machine are going to be pretty impressive. Powered by an eight-core AMD GPU, the PS5 will be able to handle 8k gaming and might even be able to deliver on real-time ray tracing. The biggest surprise from Sony doesn't come from the graphical capability of the machine, though - it comes in the form of storage. The PS5 will be shipping with a custom SSD, helping players to load content more quickly and theoretically adding some impressive new capabilities to downloaded games. There's plenty of other tech new yet to leak about the PS5, but consumers can be sure that Sony is going to go all-out with the system.
E3 saw the official announcement of Xbox's newest iteration, currently code-named Xbox Scarlett. Unlike Sony's offering, we really have no idea what this one could be called - Scarlett is simply an in-house placeholder being used until the official console name is released. What we can infer so far, though, is that the new Xbox will probably build off the more successful aspects of the Xbox One X and have an even tighter focus on gaming than the current system. Microsoft made some serious miscalculations coming into this generation, most of which they're not likely to make again.
One thing is for certain - the new Xbox is a dedicated gaming machine. One of Microsoft's major missteps with the Xbox One was trying to make it more of a multimedia platform, something that turned off many gamers. The new machine is going to not only going to put gamers first, but it's going to have a number of features in place to make sure that it provides an amazing gaming experience. Though it's likely that these features will mirror what's available on the PS5, it's still nice to know that Microsoft learned a lesson from the previous generation.
Microsoft has quietly become incredibly successful with its GamePass service, which allows players to pay a single price to gain access to over one hundred games. It's almost certain that this service will find a home on Scarlett, especially with the recent introduction of the Ultimate Gamepass that combines both the game service subscription and Xbox Live. Coupled with the introduction of GamePass for PC, it's almost a given that Scarlett will showcase the service in some form.
It's also very likely to see the new Xbox integrated further with other Windows devices. October will see the introduction of Project xCloud, which will allow players to stream their games from their consoles to a variety of other devices. It's very likely that the new iteration of the system will make this even easier, with dedicated functions that allow players to access their games from phones or from PCs.
Perhaps the most notable thing about the new Xbox is the degree to which Microsoft is hyping the console's power. Reportedly significantly more powerful than the upcoming PS5, the machine uses fairly similar architecture to deliver performance about four times more powerful than the One X. Much like the PS5, it's also set up for potential 8K gaming and even has an SSD, proving that the SSD will be the go-to new storage option for the next generation of gaming.
Given that both of the systems are using similar hardware, it's harder than ever to choose between these two platforms. Neither system has a firm release date, though, so it will be some time until consumers are forced to make a choice. One thing is for sure, though - the new systems definitely look like a major step up from those that are currently on the market. The next generation is on its way and things are looking bright.