In some of our early Xbox Series X reporting, we uncovered the codenames for the next-gen console family, dubbed Project Scarlett. Among these consoles included "Anaconda," which we now know to be the Xbox Series X, and "Lockhart," which we've heard repeatedly from trusted, repeatedly-accurate sources to be a more affordable version of the Xbox Series X, albeit at the cost of power.
This two-pronged console launch approach has yet to materialize officially, however, with Microsoft only announcing the Series X thus far. Similarly, Sony has only announced a single console for its next-gen efforts, the PlayStation 5, which is broadly expected (although unconfirmed) to be less powerful than the Xbox Series X on paper. In practice is a whole other matter that either company can only prove down the line, when the games start shipping, but another "rumor" making the rounds suggests Sony may be gunning for a two-pronged console assault as well.
Tom's Guide among others have been circulating a "rumor" from NeoGAF, via a supposedly vetted game industry insider, who claims that there will be a PlayStation 5 "Pro" launching simultaneously with the "9TF" PlayStation 5, to compete directly with the 12TF Xbox Series X. Does this info really make any sense, though?
Even a 9TF console is presumably going to be top-end expensive, with Bloomberg reporting that Sony is struggling to keep PS5 manufacturing costs below $450. An even more powerful system would push that price even higher, possibly beyond that even of the Xbox Series X, if indeed it does exceed 12TF. I'm not sure it makes a whole lot of sense for Sony to ship what is effectively two top-of-the-line consoles, making this rumor sound more like someone's wishful thinking rather than hard reality, in hopes that Sony can deliver a system more powerful than Microsoft when the two console manufacturers go head to head later this year. But who knows?
The desperation for next-gen information has even the vaguest of rumors storming the internet. I'd argue that even if the PS5 does turn out to be less powerful than the Xbox Series X on paper, Sony's consistently incredible software lineup, ubiquitous brand, and the likelihood of even more sequels to heavy-hitters like God of War, Spider-man, and The Last of Us means PlayStation can sit comfortably being a few teraflops below the Xbox Series X.
Microsoft hasn't broken cover on Lockhart either, yet, which is supposedly going to be significantly cheaper than the Xbox Series X and PS5, designed with financial accessibility in mind, albeit with some next-gen features like SSD speeds and possibly ray-tracing at 1080p. Building a cheaper "next-gen" console with 1080p gamers in mind makes far more sense to me than building two "higher-end" consoles, but again, who knows?
Hopefully, both firms will start opening up about the full breadth of internals, features, and prices of its next-gen consoles sooner, rather than later, these "rumors" are getting annoying.