Microsoft and Sony are both reportedly planning updates to their console line-up, with the former planning the so-called Xbox One S, while the latter is prepping the PS4 Neo.
With E3 2016 set to formally begin today with press conferences from both Microsoft and Sony, both new consoles are reportedly planned as mid-life refreshes for the Xbox One and PS4, both of which were launched in 2013.
Xbox One S
The Xbox One S is the console that just couldn’t avoid the leaks ahead of Microsoft’s press conference later today. Users on the NeoGAF forum have revealed certain details surrounding the device, and if true it could be the installer’s dream console.
Rumoured features include a footprint that is 40% smaller than the current Xbox One, while the power brick is supposedly now built-in to the console rather than the hefty external power brick that shipped with the initial Xbox One.
Other physical improvements include the ability to vertically install the Xbox One, something that was not recommended by Microsoft initially. With the new console, Microsoft will reportedly be actively encouraging vertical storage of the Xbox One – with the company looking to include a stand in the box. A new streamlined controller is also supposedly planned.
While those will come as welcome improvements for installers physically installing the device, there are a few new features that will make it even easier to specify for customers.
The AMD integrated graphics processor will supposedly be upgraded to include support for 4K 2160p video decoding, while High Dynamic Range (HDR) will also be supported.
It’s not known whether 4K will be limited to video playback or whether games will support the resolution, but given many high-end PC graphics cards still struggle with UHD support, it’s likely that Microsoft’s killer feature will be 4K video playback, rather than gameplay. Other unknowns include whether Microsoft will support standard HDR or include Dolby’s Vision standard.
For those using the Xbox One as a media centre device, the Xbox One S becomes an even more attractive proposition. That’s because Microsoft is reportedly planning a 2TB hard drive, which is double the current Xbox’s maximum storage capacity. While internal storage is great, the Xbox One also supports external storage – a feature the PS4 forgoes.
Microsoft’s E3 2016 press conference kicks off at 17:30 UK time on June 13 with a live stream available on YouTube.
Sony has dominated the latest console generation. While Microsoft has sold over 21 million consoles, PS4 sales have eclipsed over 40 million globally and they continue to grow. The Japanese tech giant wants to extend its lead and its weapon will reportedly be called the PS4 Neo.
While its name is not yet confirmed, nor are many of its details, the president and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment, Andrew House, has confirmed that a new high-end PS4 is coming and it will cost more than the current model.
Speaking to the Financial Times, the executive said that the PS4 Neo was designed “sit alongside and complement” the standard version of the PS4. He also noted that the company plans to sell both versions during the life cycle.
While exact details were sparse, Andrew did confirm that upgraded version will be designed to support 4K TVs and should also offer a smoother experience for those with their hearts set on PlayStation VR.
Earlier rumours surrounding the PS4 Neo noted that developers would specifically have to support the new console and it seems that is going to be the case. Andrew notes: “All games will support the standard PS4 and we anticipate all or a very large majority of games will also support the high-end PS4.”
Despite the confirmation of the existence of a new console, Andrew noted that the PS4 Neo won’t be making its debut at E3 2016. That would mean Microsoft will have a head start with its upgraded Xbox One – although even Microsoft is planning a more powerful Xbox, which is rumoured to be codenamed Scorpio and aiming for a 2017 launch.
With PlayStation VR set to be released in October, Sony has plenty of time to perfect the PS4 Neo before its launch. It’s also likely that the company wants to spend a significant amount of time talking up its upcoming VR headset at its E3 press conference.
Already EA has revealed a Star Wars X-Wing game that will launch on Sony’s VR platform, with more details likely be revealed during Sony’s press conference which starts at 02:30 UK time on June 14. Like Microsoft’s press conference, those wanting to watch Sony’s live stream can do so on YouTube.