Next-gen consoles – this time you should care

By Alex Maidment (nSanity Beach)

It’s been 6 years since the release of the current generation games consoles and we’re finally coming up to the launch of the next generation.

With Sony and Microsoft already announcing that the PS5 and next-gen Xbox (Project Scarlett) will wipe the floor with the current generation in terms of speed, gameplay and overall performance, we’re left wondering why we should care and what’s going to be different this time?

Afterall, as much as I love the current generation of console, they are still streets behind PC gaming on the whole, even with the entry of the Xbox One X and PS4 Pro. What really was lacking in the previous console launch was the lack of vision and future thinking.

When the Xbox One and PS4 were released 6 years ago, 4K resolution was already an up and coming thing and fast refresh rates and frame rates were the real winners in the PC gaming. Yet with the current-generation of consoles, not only did they lack the support Ultra HD, they also struggled at times to cope with 1080p at 60 frames per second.

Now, 6 years later and PC gamers are enjoying their high-refresh rate monitors and higher resolution gaming (QHD, if not UHD). While the console manufacturers tried damn hard to bring consoles up to speed, and did a pretty amazing job when you consider bang for buck, it’s still almost too late.

So here we are, a year to 18 months away from the new consoles.

Usually, I’d be tempted to say “So what? Another console? What’s new?”, but time, something’s different…

There may still be a community of PC gamers howling with laughter at the idea that a console might try to match the superior, upgradable PC, but this time, you should care.

Let’s start with power and promises. If what Microsoft and Sony are saying is true, in just over a years time, we might actually have consoles that play native 4k with variable frame rates and the possibility of 8K visuals. That’s not just thinking about today, that’s thinking about tomorrow, and let’s face it, that kind of a first in the console world.

With the knowledge that users can’t easily just upgrade their console in the way PC gamers can, games console developers are starting to realise that they have to create a future proofed console, and it feels like that’s what they’ve done.

But before we bow out and congratulate Microsoft and Sony, let’s just take into account something else that Microsoft announced in their E3 2019 briefing: Cloud Gaming – xCloud.

Although Google are already paving the way in cloud based gaming, in which the user doesn’t need hardware, just good internet, Microsoft developing their own cloud gaming technology with their audience and resource could be a winner.

The idea of streaming high-res games at high frame rates without the need for expensive hardware is a game-changer and potentially the end of gaming as we know it and a future of any device, any time gaming.

If you don’t normally care what the console providers are up to, now is the time to care and take note, as it could be something special!

My prediction: in 2020, we’ll see two new Microsoft Xbox Consoles – one, the beast they referenced in their E3 briefing, a true under-TV monster that brings the best that games can offer and the other, a cheap, small box that plugs into the router and allows you to stream games in UHD with variable frame rates and a massive library of games to choose from!

Let’s see what happens!

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