The latest rumors to hit the mill involves not just one, but two new Xbox One consoles in the works. One is said to be a smaller, cheaper Xbox One coming this year while the second is thought to be a much more powerful Xbox One 1/2 coming sometime in 2017. Let’s talk about these rumors and what effects they might have.
First, the Xbox One Slim as I’m going to call it. This rumor isn’t far fetched, and it’s also one that I would put money on. Microsoft is known for making their products cheaper as t the life cycles of their consoles continue, so this one isn’t a shock. A cheaper, smaller, more affordable version of the massive brick that is an XB1 only makes sense. More interesting details include a larger hard drive capacity (likely 1 TB) and the inclusion of HDMI 2.0, which allows for the streaming of 4k content. Again, this only makes sense. More are factors that would improve the experiences of the consumers, cheap to implement, and add features like 4k Netflix streaming with no real cost penalty.
Moving on to the meatier topic, a more powerful Xbox One 1/2 (code named Scorpio). It’s said to play all XB1 games, but with a much improved graphical fidelity and would also be capable of 4k output. This is a more interesting move. Now, the rumor is that the new XB1 will not only be more powerful than the base model, but also more powerful than the also rumored Playstation 4k (code named Neo). The target specs have put the Scorpio at a solid 6 teraflops of computing power (a good way to judge graphical capability) which is pretty similar to the gaming rig I’m running now. That being said, the new PS4 Neo is rumored to be pushing just 4 teraflops, up from the weak 1.84 teraflops for the original PS4, and even less for the XB1 at just 1.3 teraflops.
While 6 teraflops still isn’t enough power to push 4k gaming on visually complex games, it’s vastly superior to superior to what they’re pushing now and would easily offer 1080p gaming at a solid 60 fps with AA, better textures and more. More interestingly however, this would land them at being more powerful than Sony’s rumored PS4k. This would be an interesting shift. Going from the least powerful console (we’re not including the Wii U here) to the most powerful could offer a huge shift in customer appearances and could right some of the wrongs of the current generation. The biggest factor working against Microsoft right now is the fact that, out of the two under powered consoles available now, they’re on the bottom. That’s a rough place to be and has had a huge impact on their sales, given that the hardware struggles to keep up with the PS4 on multi-platform games, usually resulting in inconsistent frame rates and resolution drops. That change could be enough to sway some customers who prioritize or even just appreciate graphics.
Further rumors suggest that there may even be a partnership between the new XB1 scorpio and Oculus Rift, which the push to VR being a huge driving factor in the need for beefier hardware. This makes sense as they’re already pairing XB1 controllers with the Oculus out of the box and it’s compatible with Windows 10. With Microsoft working on unifying XB1 and Windows 10 gaming, this is an obvious move.
So what does this mean for gamers? We’ll have to wait and see. These are madatory updates, and the hardware you have now will still be just fine. These will be for those who don’t mind spending more for a better experience, and whether or not that’s received well is yet to be seen.