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On the PlayStation 4.5 'Neo' and what it means for the Xbox One

Separate reports (opens in new tab) claim that Sony is working on a PlayStation 4.5, codenamed Neo, which will bring superior graphics as a result of more powerful hardware. The report also states that developers will be unable to make Neo-exclusive games, as to not alienate current PS4 owners. Instead, devs will be able to create games with two tiers of visual settings, with improvements for the more powerful hardware of the purported Neo PlayStation.

Fan reactions seem mixed. Some are excited about the prospect of upgrading to a more powerful console so soon. Doubtless, some of Sony's exclusives like the upcoming Uncharted 4 will be used to showcase the increased power of the Neo graphics settings. Others are annoyed that Sony seems intent on shortening the typical console cycle, breaking the covenant of a single, long-lasting investment for static gaming hardware.

For better or worse, I feel as though a console like the PS4.5 was all but inevitable, as tech innovation speeds up. Xbox head Phil Spencer has publicly stated that the Xbox One will not follow suit with a mid-generation spec upgrade and that he'd hope the next Xbox configuration would have significantly more powerful specs, rather than proceed at minor increments.

I'm no Oracle, but if Sony plays its cards right, I think the PS4.5 could pose a threat to the Xbox One, which has so far done quite well to weather the storm left in the wake of Sony's head start.

"Do not try and bend the spoon."

There is no spoon

Of course, Sony is walking a risky path by breaking the sacred promise that is the console cycle.

For the biggest PlayStation fans, getting even better visuals out of Sony's excellent exclusives is more than enough incentive, whereas others will feel betrayed, knowing that their basic PS4 will prematurely become a second class citizen.

Even though that reportedly, the PS4 will (for now) receive all the same games as the Neo, knowing they could look better on an upgraded version of your box disrupts the idea of what a console is while being coupled with all sorts of unanswered questions. Will the Neo version of Battlefield 5 offer longer draw distances, better resolutions, and more stable frame rates on the Neo compared to the PS4? If so, then more affluent players who fork out for the upgrade could buy their way to a competitive advantage. Not good.

It'll all depend on how Sony control the narrative, and respond to the growing concerns.

There's also the concern that Sony could set a precedent. If the PS4.5's incremental, smartphone-like refresh is successful with consumers at large, then will we be seeing new consoles every three years? Every two years? Every year?

Of course, the model is insanely successful for Apple, and standardized x86 architecture paves the way for that sort of system on consoles, on both the PlayStation and Xbox One sides (and possibly Nintendo's NX too, to complete the Trinity). One of the benefits of console gaming has always been the knowledge that your one-off investment will remain the best option for at least five years, which is a significant advantage for gamers who don't want the hassle of gaming PC upgrades.

Playstation @ E3

The PS4.5 could backfire with the influential core community, whose vocal indignation during the Xbox One's launch allowed Sony to take a head start in the first place. If Sony allows arrogance to cloud their judgment resulting from their pole position, they risk painting themselves as a money-hungry corporation willing to trample on the long-established cycle for a chance to grab a slice of Apple's lucrative planned-obsolescence pie. Worst case scenario: Sony dedicates their upcoming E3 conference to pushing their low-poly PSVR mini games while explaining to PS4 owners that to get the most out of upcoming exclusives, they need to drop another $500 on the PS4.5. It'll all depend on how Sony controls the narrative, and responds to the growing concerns.

Sony, at the end of the day, are a business, and when the tip of your profit spear is PlayStation hardware, the appearance of 'Neo' was… inevitable.

Matrix Resolutions

Matrix Resolutions

One of the jokes that sprung up immediately following this news was a comparison to The Matrix, of which Sony appears to be big fans. Previously, their PSVR was codenamed Project Morpheus, named after the main character's mentor, who so happens to be called Neo (who in turn, is somewhat ironically referred to as "The One" in the movies). The Matrix sequel movies are a point of controversy, as many felt they were less inspired than the first, and largely unnecessary. It's a poignant comparison, best illustrated by this popular parody account:

See more

Indeed, PlayStation has become Sony's flagship product, following the decline of almost every other segment of their business. The standardized x86 architecture allows Sony to create an upgraded console relatively easily, without cutting off the catalog they've built up with the PS4 already. You should expect future PlayStations and Xboxes to be compatible with every title launched this gen, and for the foreseeable future.

Reportedly the 'Neo' PlayStation already has developers concerned. Nintendo has a similar model for their handheld line, splitting development across multiple hardware versions of the Nintendo DS (and the GameBoy before it). As newer models cannibalize the old, it gives rise to games that are exclusive to the latest models, giving their devices a smartphone-like, slow-burning obsolescence.

'New' 3DS

The difference between the average AAA console game and the average Nintendo DS game, of course, is budget costs. The report states that Sony will forbid developers from making Neo-exclusive games, citing that every game launched on the PlayStation should utilize the PS4's base specs first. Developers can then create Neo graphic-tiers for their games. First party studios, like Naughty Dog, will, of course, utilize the latest specs to help Sony showcase and market the device, but for third-party developers, it will only add a layer to their development costs.

For third-party developers, it will only add a layer to their development costs.

For those devs that can't, or don't want to make Neo tiers for their games, they face criticism and scrutiny from people who do buy into Sony's two-tier system. Of course, the most passionate devs will jump at the chance to see their hard work rendered more beautifully, but there are always financial realities to consider. Right now, I don't feel like the Neo necessarily represents an economic opportunity for anyone other than Sony – but did Sony have any choice?

PC shipments might be on the decline overall, but PC gaming rigs are seeing growth. Everybody knows that if you want the best graphics, the best performance, a Windows PC is the only option. Every pre-built PC requires a Windows license, and that goes directly into Microsoft's deep, deep pockets.

By cultivating a focus on the scant performance disparity between PS4 and Xbox One, Sony may have unwittingly placed a spotlight on just how weak the current-gen consoles are when compared to the infinite potential of a Windows PC. For every PS4 fanboy gloating over a Xbox game missing out on a few pixels, there's a legion of PC gaming rig owners laughing from behind multiple monitors powered by SLI graphics – and these sorts of experiences are becoming cheaper.

If the extreme long-term endgame of the Xbox, Universal Windows Platform, and the Windows 10 Store is the option of a standardized console-like gaming experience on infinitely upgradable PCs, a more rapid release cycle for PlayStation hardware could become more of a necessity to entice people who feel invested in high performance. The threat of Microsoft turning their Windows monopoly into a compelling AAA option for affordable, but upgradable, TV gaming is something Sony would be foolish to ignore.

The Path of Neo

One vs. Neo

Xbox and PlayStation are locked in a vicious battle for supremacy, and it's no secret that Xbox is the underdog. After the PR disaster of its launch, the Xbox One found momentum in a games-focused strategy shift, and a new leader in Phil Spencer.

Simply having a lead helps Sony sell consoles, as many consumers will just purchase whichever console their friends have. Despite that, Phil Spencer's focus on games has been winning strategy thus far, allowing Microsoft a brief sales victory in the US following the launch of Halo 5. Gears of War 4 could achieve similar results.

Sony may have unwittingly placed a spotlight on just how weak the current gen consoles are.

Still, there are millions of gamers still holding on to the PS3 and Xbox 360, satisfied with the prolonged generation's massive catalog, and the occasional support the consoles receive from some of the most major publishers (and franchises).

While Sony fans seem divided over whether or not a PS4.5 is a good thing, for PS3 and Xbox 360 owners who have yet to make the leap, a PS4.5 could be just what the Oracle ordered.

With games to one side, it's clear from the way resolution debates, comparison articles and performance referencing PR slogans have dominated this generation that visual quality remains a sticking point. When reaching out to the casual consumer with TV ads and billboards, being able to offer empirical, visual evidence that your console puts out the best graphics creates a powerful incentive to buy. Sony is playing to their hardware and manufacturing strengths with the PS4.5 because they simply can't touch Microsoft on the software front.

Backwards Compatibility

Xbox back compat (Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft is working tirelessly to bring gamers' existing Xbox 360 licenses and games to Xbox One via software emulation, and the company is investing a lot in sequels and new IP, buying up Gears of War from Epic Games and funding high-quality, big-budget experiments like Quantum Break.

Knowing that the Xbox One is technologically inferior to the PS4 where it counts to the mass market, Microsoft has been plowing new features into the console with software updates, working through requests on UserVoice, adding value.

On the other hand, Sony has jumped on the VR hype train, offering the cheapest point of entry for gamers interested in the tech. And now we have the PS4 "Neo", which Sony hopes will extend their hardware lead even further over Microsoft's platform. I've argued before that software will win the battle when it comes to the inevitable cloud-powered future, but by allowing Sony to continue to dictate the narrative over which brand creates the most powerful home consoles, it could prove even more disruptive for Xbox One in the short term.

The Path of the One

Xbox vs. PS4

As amazing as some of Microsoft's software innovations have been, a lot of them are hard to explain in a simplistic marketing narrative. Before we had a demonstration in the form of Crackdown 3, how do you explain Azure-powered cloud physics in a quick PR release? Gamers were notoriously sceptical of the cloud-powered proposition. How do you explain the benefits that UWP and Windows 10 will bring to the Xbox One in a single image? Microsoft needs something simple to explain, and monstrously compelling if they want to stop Sony stealing the spotlight at this year's E3.

Clearly, the Xbox team is already considering how to tackle the next generation of Xbox hardware.

It certainly appears as though Microsoft is gearing up to launch at least some form of Xbox One redesign shortly, and while there are reports that the company is testing out new Xbox configurations already, Phil Spencer recently stated that he's not a fan of modest mid-gen hardware upgrades. Spencer also said that he doesn't want Xbox fans to miss out on the latest technical innovations, as the industry moves forward.

Clearly, the Xbox team is already considering how to tackle the next generation of Xbox hardware, and presumably how not to be left in the dust.

The x86 architecture ensures that the Xbox One is designed with the future in mind. Phil Spencer's strategy of flooding the Xbox with the biggest library of games a console has ever seen via backward compatibility is a powerful argument for convincing Xbox 360 owners to choose Xbox One instead of PS4. Some of the biggest titles of last gen have yet to appear, though, with games like Red Dead Redemption, Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim still missing, but every time a new game does make its way across, headlines are made.

Phil Spencer also demonstrated how a single tool could repackage Age of Empires II and The Witcher 3 for the Universal Windows Platform, which features Xbox One as a deployment endpoint. With the combination of mouse and keyboard, classic (and modern) PC games could hit Xbox One with minimal development time. Many indie devs target PC almost exclusively, due to its openness.

Still, as mentioned earlier, none of these aspects are easy to market as features, and, while Microsoft has an incredible array of existing and upcoming games, the competition for gamer's free time has never been so voracious. Consumer fatigue is a real thing.

As noted, there's always the chance Sony could totally stumble with the messaging, and leave Microsoft wide open to present a humbler, simpler, more focused strategy that could resonate more strongly with that influential core audience. Microsoft could also opt to wait it out, deciding that catching up to the PS4 is impossible at this point, and offer an even more powerful Xbox 'Two' instead a little later, as suggested by Spencer's comments about incremental hardware updates.

They could even do something wildly drastic, dropping the fee for multiplayer for Xbox One owners, emulating the free upgrades of Windows 10 designed to drive growth from existing customers on previous generation software. This could be particularly attractive considering the fact Microsoft just announced the end of Xbox 360 manufacturing, but the hit to the Xbox division's finances would be significant.

I've said it before: since software wizardry of backward compatibility, it feels as though Phil Spencer's Xbox team can and will do everything they can to please both current and future users.

Either way, E3 2016 is going to particularly interesting this year. The fact that the PS4.5 leaked now gives Microsoft time to cultivate a proper response. It's a certainty that Microsoft have some explosive surprises in store.

The issue of mid-gen upgrades appears to have divided the community, and there are great points to be made on all sides.

How do you feel about the possibility of shorter, more rapid console cycles? Let us know in the comments!

Jez Corden is a Senior Editor for Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

  • It doesn't mean anything for the Xbox One. Microsoft screwed their own pooch with the launch of the Xbox One. Sony didn't do anything to Microsoft. Microsoft had all of the momentum coming into this generation and they threw it away with their arrogance and stupidity.
  • No, the arrogance and stupidity was that of the screaming childs that said 'wah, I can't leave my Xbox connected to the Interwebz at all timez'. We the consumers, got screwed because of those morons. I for one welcomed the disc-less generation. I buy all of my games exclusively thorugh the Xbox One Store. But when Sony announced what Microsoft did 2 years ago at E3 (which you say was a disaster), everyone is making Apple-like praises as if Sony came up with the idea.
  • 100% Now my Xbox One is botched due to Microsoft good health giving in to the people who complained and ultimately left... I stayed but got gipp'd! Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • This is exactly why Microsoft needs to change the time and date of their E3 conference. They always go before Sony and that opens up the door for Sony to propagandize, just like they did at E3 2013 where they painted Microsoft as "anti-consumeristic". What they should do this E3 is let Sony go first and announce their anti-consumer, anti-developer PS4.5 Neo folly, and then have their E3 be about how they are not fragmenting their user base, not screwing over current Xbox One owners by launching new hardware with new specs, and not screwing over developers by forcing higher development costs onto them for no good reason.
  • Yea, those people who don't live in areas with access to broadband internet or live in countries with low data caps.  What a bunch of whining babies!  How dare they complain that MS's decisions would essentially make it so they can't participate in an entire generation of video games.  What jerks!
  • You do realize that it was for DISCLESS play, right? For those, you would still need to have the disc in the Xbox. It did NOT prevent you from playing games with the physical disks. For them, they likely wouldn't have purchased the digital version. And this is exactly the lack of knowledge. It was easily explained at the E3 briefing. I guess it is just too 'techy' for those folks.
  • You specifically mentioned leaving the xbox connected to the internet all the time in the post I replied to "'wah, I can't leave my Xbox connected to the Interwebz at all timez".  People with low data caps don't want to risk a system potentially doing updates they dont want or need when worrying about data usage.  If the x1 had to be online regularly you know it would force you to do updates.  Additionally they mentioned at E3 that you would need a broadband connection to use the X1.  No broadband meant you couldnt use an X1.  They also talked about the inability to resell games.  That wasn't peoples imagination.  They talked about each disc having a unique id that would be locked to your user profile.  This would make it so you couldnt lend/borrow, sell, buy used, or rent games.   Most people here in the US, and obviously you included, have the benefit of great internet access.  However there are still many areas in this country where is isnt the case. I have great internet, but my in-laws who live less than 5 minutes away from my house cannot get anything better than dial-up.  Some countries, Australia and New Zealand tend to be the most mentioned, have incredibly low data caps and in some cases couldn't even download an entire x1 game with the whole data allowance for the month. Some countries have such unreliable service that some games dont get released there.  Look back at the original titanfall, I believe it was South Africa that didnt even get the game at all because the devs said internet connectivity was too poor for the game to be played properly.
  • You are making my point.  The only requirement for online connectivity was once every 24hrs for DISCLESS play.  If you had the physical disc, no need to be connected.  How is that so damn hard to understand???  Updates?  Yeah, why wouldn't someone want a title to be fixed?  If you didn't want automatic updates, turn the console completely off, not into Stand-By.
  • No, the online was for more than just discless play.  It was for the discless play, it was to check for updates, it was to check and make sure the licenses for all your games and apps were valid, it was to check for status of the one time digital loan, the family sharing plan heavily involved being online and anybody you shared with had to get the game digitally, there was also the azure cloud plans where your xbox would use the cloud for some processing.  Having to have your X1 connected to reliable broadband internet with a fairly high data cap, or none at all, was required to use the console the way MS intended it to be used.  People who didnt have that were justifibly upset and made their voices heard.  They didn't force MS to change anything, they simply let it be know that if MS went ahead with the console as they described it at E3 they wouldn't buy it.
  • No, that is completely wrong. Just like the recent 'Windows 10 is spying on your' crap. Family Sharing exists TODAY, and you do NOT need to be connected to the Interwebz to utilize it, unless you add a new XBL Account to the Family.
  • No you are talking about is called Home Gold and is for sharing on the same system.  The original xbox 1 planned family share was going to involve a list of 10 other xbox 1 users in your country that you could share your games with.
  • You can share your games now, but only with one person me and my buddie do it so now we get to play each others digital games, i have an uncapped 2MB line here in South Africa and it works perfectily with the Xbox One hell i even play Titanfall perfectly and that wasnt even released here. I prefered MS first idea before everyone started to complain becuase they didnt understand the mechanics of it, and i doubt anyone is noticing it now but all those things they spoke about are slowly coming back into play.
  • Just as a point of referance. I had to take down my phone line because we ere getting trees cut down and the only way they could go was towards the cable, so no internet. I live 40 miles out side Dublin and mobile phone signle never goes above 3G, for the most part it sits on H. I get everything, including tv over the phone line. got well bored so went to play Black Ops (digital purches) and my xbox said I couldn't because my Xbox wasn't set as My Home Xbox. Need to be online to set that. So I made my phone a hotspot just so I could set My Home Xbox up and play a bit of offline, for the buzz I went to see what my connection was like in a lobby. 2 hours later with an average K/D somewhere near 1.7 I realised gaming from a phone is well possible, if i was in Dublin with access to LTE it'd be even better. Second, in all that I realised my friends Xbox was set to My Home Xbox. Now i'm not sure where that whole lending a digital game stands. I thought he was playing my Fifa on his box because you were alowed lend 1 game. Now i realise he could of played as many as he wanted while his box was set as mine. I never had a problem because I always have the net so was like me playing one of my games on someone elses boxes even though it was in my house. Not sure if he can play them now i have it set right, be nice if you could. If he can't i'm just gona set his as mine again. Sure why not. The only downside is if its not set as your home xbox, none of the progress is saved for offline use. I do know all my digital games work offline now though. And set as mine I have all the saves offline
  • I am from nagaon,Assam,India and have a 2mbps connection which is more than enough and you do know that the Xbox when idle won't use more than 2mb in an hour
  • You're wrong, actually. There was no difference between disc-play and disc-less play, as you call it. Discs were merely for installation only. All games became digital licenses in the original Xbox One policies, and this is why the original policies were so much better: it would've mean insanely cheap digital games due to every retailer being able to sell "digital" and only digital copies of games (in the form of installation discs). Instead, what we got was Microsoft having a monopoly on digital distribution, and now digital buyers get screwed over. The original policies were far better, and no one seemed to undrerstand that (you still don't) until it was too late.
  • I was gutted when people complained and this plan go scrapped. It would have been amazing. Getting the digital copy but also having the inital data available on disc for the install, then you just need to get any updates. Would have been getting digital licenses with physicl installation media and it would have been great for consumers. People just didn't see it for some reason, and I guess the idea was too far ahead of it's time for some people.  
  • I have to agree. This is already a reality on PC and I have no problem with it. The entire market will eventually go this way but people love to trade games with friends and traide in. Sony was indeed quick on the draw for milking that. But of course, the messaging Don Matrick put across was so mixed that it devided Xbox fans and gamers in general. I mean even Zynga Kicked him out after a while. Shows how much he sucked at his Job. All I can say is its not a possibility. Its an eventuality. All that remains to be seen is who will pull the trigger first and do it in a way that makes sense to the consumer.
  • man I live in a Caribbean 3rd world country, I gotta ask, how in hell do you own a thousand+ dollar console(including ship&tax) and NOT have internet of some kind?
  • The US is a big country, some areas are very spread out and broadband providers dont want to spend the money to run lines capable of high data transfer to areas where they feel they wont get a return on investment. I had a discussion one time with an Irish friend about rail service.  He just couldnt understand why the US didn't have trains everywhere.  I had to point out that just my one state is 8.5 times bigger than his entire country and the major population centers were more spread out as well so the owners of the rails would have to first purchase the immense amounts of land needed, build the lines, and then maintain the lines for many areas that would get little use.  In some areas the cost would be worth it but in many many others the cost would not.   As it stands we do have rail lines in isolated high population areas but not countrywide like many smaller countries do.  Its the same thing with broadband.  Companies spend money where they feel they will get the best return on investment.  (and I know there is options like amtrack that use the commercial cross country lines for customer travel, but this discussion was for general public use rail lines like you find all over europe) Also, I don't know what kind of import taxes your country has but here in the US they are a bit less as an X1 or PS4 will run you about 4-500 bucks, not 1000.
  • Crappy ISPs I'd imagine.
  • What a ridiculous thing to say. There are many people that cant be connected to the internet all the time, and what happens if your internet is down by no fault of your (or Microsoft's) own? Then you have no system to use and no games to play and you would be on Facebook and twitter telling the world how Microsoft "screwed" you by making the system online only. Also some people like to be able to buy physical copies of games and be able to trade those games back in toward new games. Not everyone is made of money my friend. Microsfot screwed themselves becasue they made sure to not only add features that would leave a lot of their customer base out but also to make comments like "Dont have internet? Well we have a system for you aswell... its call the Xbox 360!" They also made some bad choices on the other end with developers and hust some relationships. A firend of mine is on the team that developed a game that originated on 360 and is now out on PS4, Vita, WiiU and 3DS but they wont release the game on XBOne becasue of it. Just becasue you think a certian way doesnt mean its the only correct way to think.
  • What part of 'needing to phone home once per 24hrs' and 'this is for discless play only' do you and the others not understand???  MS never stated that your Xbox One had to be connected to the Internet at all times for game playback IF YOU HAD THE PHYSICAL DISK.  MS was in NO WAY removing the Physical Disk medium.  Yet, your comments are perpetuating the same garbage statements the minority cried foul, and began to complain back at that E3 briefing.  That screwed the vast majority of customers out of a great feature, and one that IMO would propel the advancement of how games are pruchased and even 'traded'.
  • Here’s where Microsoft addresses “always on” head-on, so to speak: “While a persistent connection is not required, Xbox One is designed to verify if system, application or game updates are needed and to see if you have acquired new games, or resold, traded in, or given your game to a friend,” the firm notes. “Games that are designed to take advantage of the cloud may require a connection.” More explicitly, Microsoft says that Xbox One lets you “game offline for up to 24 hours on your primary console, or one hour if you are logged on to a separate console accessing your library. Offline gaming is not possible after these prescribed times until you re-establish a connection.”   It doesn't say only for disc-less gaming. I have a friend that lives in the country where there is no high speed internet at all. He wanted an Xbox one but bought a PS4 out of fear for not being able to play after 24 hours. He isn't alone. And when did I say anything about the disk drive being removed? I was commenting on Howe you said you buy all your games digitally, but not everyone does that.   Also on a side note... I CAN WRITE ALL IN CAPS AND MAKE SOME WORDS BOLD AS WELL!!!  ;) It's just a conversation, relax.
  • Yeah, this is a conversation, but folks ignore facts. The fact was that if you had the physical disk, none of what you posted would be affected. If you purchased the digital version, or wanted to not use the disk for verification, your console must be connected to the Internet. That was a fact. Not opinion. Game updates must come from the Internet, which the Xbox 360 has always had. So why is that a concern or issue?
  • Not totally true. The system itself wanted to connect to the internet once every 24 hrs., regardless of what type of game you were playing. You could have been using it to watch DVD movies and it still would have wanted to connect to the net after 24 hrs. When that story broke I was writing for a video game website and hosted a video game radio show and we covered it extensively. Microsoft wanted you on the internet all the time, using physical discs or using games from the store. It was something that made sense to the people at Microsoft because they have internet and can always be connected. Not everyone can do that. Also insiders did say way back then that MS was looking at releasing both a regular XBOne and a cheaper version that had no disc-drive at all (which I was all for). I'm not saying that people don't whine and cry too much, but I am saying that some complaints were warranted. Microsoft was absolutely at fault with their PR blunders before the XBone launch and they also acted like their stuff didn't stink and that they could do as they pleased and you would just take it and like it.
  • Seems like you're the one ignoring the facts. Keith White is right and you're wrong. The internet check was for all games, digital or physial. If you had no internet at all, you would not be able to play games on the Xbox One. A lot of the backlash came from not being able to share games between friends and only being able to resell games through approved retailers. Microsoft never explained how exactly that would even work. The internet check was needed because the game license would be tied to your console/account. If there was no check for disc-based games, the used game market would've been unaffected.  
  • Again, you clearly did not understand Microsoft's original Xbox One policies. Look at this Xbox Wire post by 343 Industries in June 2013 (link here). It clearly states that discs were to be used only for installation purposes. Once installed, they became digital licenses. This was far better than what we have now: physical and digital existing separately, resulting in pricing disparities and feature disparities.
  • Again, clearly you just proved my point lol. People didn't want the disc to just give them a digital license that couldn't be traded in at gamestop or sold or given to a friend/stranger. some people want a physical game disc that they can keep and do with as they please.
  • I think coip was agreeing with you. It's hard to tell who's responding to who on here sometimes.
  • It was in reply to me so I assumed it was directed at me lol. It does get a little tough to tell. If that is the case, my apologies coip.
  • My reply was to ChrisLynch. Once a parent thread on Windows Central hits a certain number of children, it becomes impossible to know who's talking to who, and the notifications from Windows Central get sent do everyone in that thread. Having said that, I understand your point that some poeple wanted physical games, because they take advantage of re-selling or buying used. Personally, though, I preffered the all digital route, where the physical discs were only for installation--it would've meant cheaper digital prices and more exciting features, for me. I was totally on board with Xbox One's original vision--it, along with "Kinect is Xbox One" is the only reason I preorderd a Day One console all the way back in June. That ship has sailed, though.
  • @coip i agree with you 100%, im from a country where internet is not the best but im sitting with an uncapped 2MB line and its perfect i mean hell i would love it to be more but cost wise its just too damn expensive, i love the fact that MS had the idea to share games with friends it was perfect for me and my buddie so we were going to go all digital and then each get games to share with each other, when that idea got scrapped we were so bummed cause games this side are flipping expensive, untill recently we found a pretty good work around that lets us share games, sorry went way off topic.
  • Which leads us to the main problem: YOU DO NOT OWN ANY GAME AT ALL. PERIOD. What you own (and that's since the beginning of video games) IS A LICENSE TO USE (or play) A GAME, NOT OWN IT.  Heck, just check every single game in your library (xbox 360, ps3, ps4, steam, etc) and you'll find a piece of paper that says "license agreement" (a paper that nobody reads) that clearly state that "your games" are not actually your own and that you can only use and do with them within the parameters specified in that agreement. So... using the physical disc as an install media and then treat the game as a license is just enforcing the license agreement that exists today, but nobody reads.
  • No body complained about the disc-less features or the push to buy more stuff from Xbox Live... But the issues were related to the lack of options... Not everyone is in the same boat in terms of Broadband or is willing to go Disc-less... They tries to do too much too soon... They said they would offer Trade-in and  Sharing of games but didn't give any details or even summary of how it would work... It was all in the air... People spoke with their wallets (when compared with PS4) and MS was humbled...
  • Microsoft is foolish not to take advantage of Sony accelerating the ending of this gen so early. If Xbox alone had announced an upgrade after only 3 years it would've looked bad. Sony just gave them cover to put out a new console that is even more powerful than PS4.5. Just make it focus on VR and AR exclusive experiences while also back compat with Xbox One/360 games.
  • 1) How is Microsoft screwed? They are selling more X1 at this point in the cycle than they did with the 360. Sony is selling more, too, in this point of the cycle, but Sony really screwed up the PS3 launch. The PS3 was supposed to have 2 Ethernet ports because it was supposed to be so data hungry (the shipping version didn't), it was supposed to have 2 HDMI out ports that could drive 1080 full resolution games (the shipping version didn't), it was supposed to be 5x faster than the 360 (the shipping version wasn't), it was supposed to be future proof (the shipping version didn't), the Cell processor was the most powerful CPU available (it wasn't) and so on, and so on, and so on. Then they kept delaying the device over and over, then the price of the 60GB was $600, a price that you should, according to their marketing, want to go out and get a second job for. 2) A lot of the problems was caused by Sony. Microsoft had some hand in it, but most was Sony. Sony had plans to use the same phone home system that X1 had. Microsoft had gone first in the E3 presentations, Sony saw how the media reacted so they didn't talk about it in their presentation. Then there were the reactions of the people booing when Microsoft announced it, the thing is those same people were booing when the conference started so there were a number of Sony fans in the audience who would complain anyway. Sony did that stupid "how to share games" skit, that if Microsoft were to do the same people would be calling it tacky, unfair, the usual Microsoft attacks on their competitors, etc. Finally, there was the bit about how Microsoft didn't care about games, just media. The PS3 release was all about media, not the games. They talked up how you should buy a PS3 just for Blu-Ray, how it would stream movies, music, and more. They released a TV tuner. At the E3 conference they talked about how more people use their PS3 to stream NetFlix than play games, then went on to attack Microsoft for focusing on media with the X1. Sony went all out to attack Microsoft rather than showing off what they could do. They got the media to go along with it (as if that would be hard to convince the media to attack Microsoft), and as a result Sony was made out to be the hero. 3) When the last gen of consoles were released, Nintendo was the clear leader. Then their sales dropped at the end. X360 was well ahead, then at the very end the PS3 caught up. Sony's PS4.5 will completely change how consoles will be counted, people may go for or stay away from a new Sony console, will the media count sales of 4 + 4.5, or will they count them seperately (I guess add the totals, since it will be another way to "prove" that Microsoft failed). I am not saying that X1 will come out ahead, but there is precidence for things to change dramatically at the end of a cycle.
  • "They are selling more X1 at this point in the cycle than they did with the 360." Do we know this to be true still? I mean, this is what they said initially, but they stopped giving us an official sales update like 1.5 years ago. I'm not so sure that the Xbox One is still outpacing the Xbox 360. You are right: Microsoft needs to stop going first at E3. There is no advantage to that. It only makes you vulnerable. Stupidly, though, they are again going first at E3 2016. Microsoft would be smart to delay their conference till after Sony's and then make their entire thing about how they're "for the consumers and for the developers" by "continuing to support our current console, as is, instead of making it outdated for consumers and cause more work for developers". They should use this as an opportunity to NOT follow Sony's folly and, instead, mock them for it.
  • Based on projections from EA about how many consoles have sold in total, the XB1 should still be outselling X360 over the same period.
  • I don't think it matters who goes first at E3. What they present at their press conferences is already decided beforehand. At most they'd be able to change some talking points depending on what the other reveals.
  • Sony did a HUGE U-turn on a dime after seeing how PPL misinterpreted the XB1 always online thing, and used their hastily revised E3 launch to perpetuate the FUD that those idiots created. Even now I get asked why I bought a console that has to be online all the time.  The FUD stuck and sony went out of their way to make sure it did.
  • "I don't think it matters who goes first at E3" Did you watch E3 2013? Sony pretty much won E3 that year and this entire console generation based on their ability to mock Microsoft's press conference at their press conference later that day. Going first is always a huge disadvantage, in pretty much every aspect of competitive life, and I never quite understood why Microsoft does it. With the potential backlash from PS4.5 from customers and developers alike, Microsoft now has an opportunity to stick it back to Sony at E3 2016, but they can't do that if they go first again (which they are).
  • Im glad they revered their decision and fired Mattrick, and so do the vast majority of consumers. I like reading sites like this to see how out of touch blind fanboys are though, its entertaining. I wouldnt have bought my Xbone if it had to phone home to MS to keep working.
  • Look at all the wc fanboy apologist. You got -12 thumbs for telling truth.
  • Hmm, it's less them being WC fanboy apologists and more people who prefer digital only who are downvoting anyone who objected to the original Xbox One plans to essentially force people to go all digital whether they wanted to or not. The fact that Microsoft's backtracking on their original plans is the only thing that saved the Xbox One from bombing terribly is just going over their heads. There's nothing to be done in this case as it's a debate that goes beyond Xbox and covers all the major consoles and the people who are for digital only get very emotional about the subject.
  • The PC is kind of becoming an Xbox One. .5. You could argue.
  • Bring all the Xbox One exclusives to it, and you have the same game with better graphics.
  • One problem with that, the PC has a game store that most people use that Microsoft collects absolutely no royalties from. Not exactly an even playing field with PlayStation's closed ecosystem. Also most people don't have their PC connected to the big screen in their home. I would be ok with MS treating Xbox like Steam Machines, but the only way they can keep the hardware price down like PlayStation is if they own the ecosystem and collect money on every game and controller sold.
  • I don't know why people don't connect PC's to TV's. You can make them similar sizes as consoles, although usually slightly bigger. PC + ~50" + surround sound. It's amazing. I think it's women... Lol. Posted via the Note 4/Nexus 7 (2013)/Lumia 1020/Lumia 2520
  • Microsoft Should be responding right now with the AMD Polaris Based Xbox one, shrink size and better bandwitch allocations.
  • They should BUY AMD.  That company is so close to the edge the purchase price would be pretty good and they'd have control above and beyond what either MS or sony currently have.
  • No they shouldn't. How exactly does it benefit MS to start competing with Intel and NVidia on the semiconductor front? They already have their hands tied with software.
  • That would be ill advised.  Especially considering Intel's cozy relationship with Microsoft right now.  And that's totally ignoring the licensing issues and AMD's actual worth on the marketplace.     tl;dr: No they shouldn't buy AMD. 
  • "The report also states that developers will be unable to make Neo-exclusive games, as to not alienate current PS4 owners. Instead, devs will be able to create games with two tiers of visual settings, one that utilizes the new hardware of the purported Neo PlayStation." If this is true I can't see how Neo is going to welcomed with open arms.  I can't see how developers wouldn't want anything to do with this as it just ads to their workload.
  • Aye, I've certainly heard concerns from developers that state exactly this. lt'll be interesting to see how Sony sell it conceptually.
  • I guess if they find a way to compensate them financially it could be worthwhile to them.
  • And if you think of it this way....At least for a while (unless existing customers really jump on the new console in large numbers) there's going to be a lot more "Old" PS4 and Xbox One consoles out there in the market. So for a while it's going to make sense to make sure the experience is excellent on both, with enhancements on the Neo console being a nice to have. I'm not a Game developer, but from what I've heard from online sources with most modern game engines it's easier than ever to enable graphics settings on a sliding sale (It's been on PC since...forever too), so maybe it won't be a huge deal for them to bump up the resolution and AA + Others when running on the Neo console. One thing we can't have in console gaming is having to tweak settings manually in the same way you do on PC - Might sound stupid but I play both Xbox One and PC and I'm happy to adjust some settings on PC versions of games, but I don't want that on my console. That's the one I can fire up and get an experience the developer intends instantly. Maybe stupid to say I'm willing to do it on PC but not console, I suppose it's just something I can't accept after years of gaming.
  • Yeah, it's seems a bit high-handed and might alienate developers but Sony is comfortable enough with their lead that they feel it'll work out. As arrogant as MS was with their original plans for the Xbox One, Sony has a long history of displaying the same kind of arrogance whenever they get ahead in gaming (see the Vita and the fact that they made the exact same mistakes with it as the original PSP).
  • "Games running in NEO mode will be able to use the hardware upgrades (and an additional 512 MiB in the memory budget) to offer increased and more stable frame rate and higher visual fidelity, at least when those games run at 1080p on HDTVs. The NEO will also support 4K image output, but games themselves are not required to be 4K native." I don't see how it necessarily requires extra developer effort.
  • If it didn't require extra effort then Sony wouldn't feel the need to mandate that game developers support both systems.
  • Of course it would require extra effort. The question is how much exactly. I don't think it would be too burdensome considering it would be running off the same OS with very similar hardware.
  • At the very least, Neo users would get a more stable framerate without any extra effort.
  • If this did happen i could see PS4 games becoming rediculously expensive.
  • For the same reason that games are still being developed for Xbox360/PS3 because they have a huge base... Ofcourse not all games would release on both current and past gen, but you get the drift. They are already doing it with PC ports/development anyways...
  • I'm interested to see if they do anything with DirectX 12 on the Xbox. MS has been very mum about what they are going to announce at E3 but that's not bad since it lets your audience be wowed by awesome surprises like backwards compatibility.
  • I think the best answer is Xbox One Slim, with the same hardware, but smaller size, power consumption and lower price...
  • I am sure Sony will do the same with the basic PS4. All console manufacturers do it after a while. Posted via the Windows Central App
  • Xbox will be discontinued and replaced with Surface Box.
  • This further reinforces my stance of always going with PC. Smh
  • As someone very interested in PlayStation VR this is great news for me. I'm probably going to buy my first PlayStation console soon and I'd rather get new hardware than something 3 years old. I really like the innovative things that Sony is doing. The Xbox team needs to step up their game. Losing the HoloLens project to the Windows team really took the wind out of Xbox's sails this generation.
  • You do realize that HoloLens is a standalone computer, and had nothing to do with Xbox? HoloLens is not like VR. It does not have to be plugged into another device or console for it to work. Vis avis, the Xbox team did not lose HoloLens to adv anyone. It was never going to be plugged into an Xbox One in the first place.
  • Losing the HoloLens project to the Windows team really took the wind out of Xbox's sails this generation
    That is just factually wrong.  Hololens was shown how it could integrate with Xbox games, along with many other implementations.  It was never 'exclusive' to the Xbox team.    
  • VR is going to flop, and PlayStation VR in particularly is going to flop the hardest: the PS4, even this ridiculous PS4.5, just doesn't have the horsepower to do what the more high-end VR systems like Oculus Rift will be able to do, and those systems are way too expensive for mainstream adoption.
  • The CPU is absolutely underpowered, but the GTX 960 equivalent GPU and Polaris GPGPU offset means that the 4.5 should be able to handle well rendered VR games.
  • Just sell software to "Xboxize" a portion of your pc and allow Xbox exclusives through. Problem solved.
  • I think it's inevitable that consoles become upgradable. People like the latest and greatest tech, and a five-eight year cycle just seems too long these days. I mean I'm already on my second Lumina since I got my One on launch day, and looking at a third. Consoles in a way are the new cell phones.
  • Consoles have been a thing since the 1970s. Some people like "the latest and greatest tech", but most people like stability, simplicity, and affordability. That's why consoles are popular. That's why Sony's PS4.5 gaffe is going to backfire. 
  • Yeah... it's called a PC.
  • The last company to follow this incremental upgrade ruling fir consoles was Sega, it eventually killed off any good will general consumers had for their brand. Posted from Windows Central for Windows 10
  • Not N64? And GameBoy? And 3DS?
  • I wonder if new ps 4.5 graphics would even be noticable on non 4K screens. That's the main reason i didn't wait and got a ps4 last week. I am no where near getting a 4K tv yet.
  • WalMart has 50" 4K TVs for under $500. I suspect the prices are only going to decline even further as we near the 2016 holiday season. My point being, with prices already this affordable, you may be closer to buying a 4K TV than you think.
  • That TV might last you til the 2016 holiday season to buy it's replacement... Posted via the Note 4/Nexus 7 (2013)/Lumia 1020/Lumia 2520
  • If it doesn't improve your 1080p screen, then the new horsepower will work on your FPS at least.
  • I expect Microsoft will be forced to respond with an updated Xbox soon after Sony finds success with the PS4redux.  I will wait until the "new" Xbox One comes out to jump in.
  • I will too. And I don't feel hurt at all with all the rumors. If Xbox One+ happens, then I will sell my Xbox One for $150-200 and buy the better version for $399. Posted via the Windows Central App
  • Knowing Microsoft's "soon", they might as well forget it, as it will be time for XBox...2? by then.
  • I would love to have the option to upgrade the hardware in my Xbox sooner than the normal 10 years to take advantage of better tech but only if its makes for better games. You still (hopefully) have the advantage of not having to mess with drivers like on PC's so as long as the software is done sensibly, you get the best of everything.
  • So now the ps4.5 will have even better graphics than the ps4  ? It already beats the Xbox one in graphics now with this ps 4.5 they have no chance.....
  • Graphics aren't everything
  • Indeed, they are not. In fact, arguably never before in console gaming history has the more powerful system "won" the sales war.
  • Well if you ignore this current generation that is. Part of the reason Sony is winning this gen is the power difference. That and the PR nightmare Microsoft had with the reveal.
  • I'm not ignoring this generation; I'm letting it finish. It's barely 2.5 years old.
  • Wii U will be EoLed soon, so we know that at least the weakest console won't "win" this time.
  • Correct technically the Nintendo Wii won the last war with over 100 millions consoles sold. It was the least powerful by far
  • And PS2 before that, again least powerful
  • It was 'powerful' until the XBox came around.
  • It's been suggested before that Microsoft should release a hardware add-on component to boost the Xbox One's capabilities up to a new and matching level, and I've gotta say, I'm really warming to the idea. It means that for us customers, we don't have to replace our consoles but we can still benefit and MS can gain a little revenue off those who want more gaming power. I bought my Xbox only a year ago, I don't expect it to be outdated already. A small replaceable external unit, doing most of the heavy-lifting, would be great. It'd end up cheaper than a new console. I would happily buy one. And you know, it could actually be Microsoft's style. I'd presume that, say MS actually took this route, new consoles would have this baked in anyway and the same two-tier development system could be used. It'd become common practice.
  • Agree with you. I'd rather see hardware add-ons than replacing my whole console. And with their experience with the Surface Book it's actually more probable than an entire new console, which would require a lot more work and cost more in manufacturing.
  • A lot of people either have forgotten or simply did not know, that the proprietary Kinect port on RH he back of EVERY Xbox One, has a higher bandwidth rug throughput than USB 3.0. When you (first) consider the needs of an external CPU/GPU, and (second) consider the fact the Xbox One was designed from the ground up to work with external processors (the reason why cloud gaming works on the Xbox), the possibility of an external upgrade for Xbox One, will appear to be something Microsoft thought of years ago.
  • Yeah, just what I was thinking. A small, relatively low-cost unit plugged into that port (and allowing the Kinect to be plugged into that in turn for those that have one) would be a great and unique idea. It'd certainly make the Xbox brand seem more considerate and consumer-friendly than PlayStation. I really hope Microsoft is looking into this (or already actually doing it). No doubt their experts have theorised and considered it already (and perhaps even dismissed it), but if it actually gets taken up it'd just be a good move to tide over until the next model. I could see this being a trick up MS's sleeve, and it fits in with the idea that they don't want to bring incremental improvements and neither do they want to start opening up the Xbox like a PC. Ah well, gotta hope.
  • How affordable could an add-on unit really be though? It would most likely benefit from an upgraded GPU more than anything else and if you look at how much they cost for PC (A budget card could cost you half of the current price of an Xbox One I'd say, without checking) then it wouldn't necessarily be cheap, not if you wanted a significant boost. So I'm not so sure it would be affordable.
  • Oh yeah, it wouldn't be a cheap accessory, but when compared to a new Xbox it probably would be a noticeable amount less.
    Theoretically, getting rid of components already in the console that don't need upgrading would more than offset the costs of the more expensive GPU and bits.
    Of course, I have no experience so I can't really say :)
  • I dont think may realise that when you boost the performance of the console that puts more pressure and time onto the developers and then it will inturn increase the price of the games (I think this is what devs have already said, but i could be wrong), and hell games are already bloody expensive i dont think i would like to be forking out more.
  • Absolutely true, but if MS feel they need to match Sony's 4.5 then this would be my preferred way of them doing it. It's definitely not ideal to keep churning out consoles.
  • Seeing how most games are cross-platform anyway, and seeing how they are already creating high fidelity assets for PC, I doubt it will increase the costs much. Besides, now Ubisoft can be even more misleading with early footage...
  • Funny, when I got my Xbox I named it Xbox "Neo" because it's the One.
  • Funny, when I got my Xbox I named it Xbox "Eon" because it took me forever to save the money to buy it.
  • Haha
  • loool
  • I think a Modular Xbox would be an amazing idea. People could just swap graphic cards, hard drives, and maybe CPU too, etc easily without needing to buy a new version each time . We could start seeing a whole community building up around this with mods, etc. This could be HUGE! Also, one thing Microsoft can do is allow PC games to be installed on the Xbox exactly like they would on a PC. Shouldn't be impossible since they both run Windows 10, and would allow people to just buy one game
  • Why not just buy a pc?
  • It doesn't run the same Windows 10 that a desktop does; it's missing the Win32 API that desktop gamers rely on. As to your first point, you literally described PC gaming.
  • Very much against .5 incremental updated hardware. I also think the the smaller devs are being kicked by Sony a bit. The big boys have more than enough staff and resources to deploy, but very small devs may struggle. Gamers too, will surely have an advantage with improved visuals if a more powerful system is launched. Ad for the Live fee, 100% keep it. Let it subsidise better hardware each gen. Thus is where MS could leverage an advantage. They could throw in some Grove music too, get the young invested in your ecosystem. Lastly, nit seen you guys announce the new Onecast yet. I've nearly got to the end of it. Another good one, but you sound a little echo-y on this episode.
  • The better visuals = competitive advantage argument doesn't seem like as big of a deal when you consider it's always been there in PC gaming - and with a bigger gap between the lowest and highest quality compared to what the PS4 to PS4.5 difference would be.
  • Nadella's plan is pretty straightforward, he wants the w10 pc gaming market to be the "xbox two" and sony is the one desperate for a competitor to the looming threat of VR being exclusive to Microsoft, sony will have to deal with "fans" and their infinite rage and craziness while Microsoft will be the nice guy keeping the old console were it is and winning a new community, that latter part is the hard one, but if they achieve some kind of steam competitor then yes, sony is screwed
  • Sure, VR connects to a PC, but how exactly does that help XBox owners? You've brought the PC into a console conversation, and ended with "Sony is screwed." PS4 is already outselling the XBox 2-1, and soon there will Play Station VR to make things worse. Microsoft building a Steam competitor(which it will never be) will not cause the XBox to start outselling the Play Station.
  • "It's the ECONOMY STUPID!" - (<-Not directed at anyone - just trying to make a point.) The cost to give consumers a console when PS4 and X1 came out had to be in a range they could afford and with that price we got consoles with slow PC specs. When the PS3 and X360 launched, times were different and we got consoles with high end specs. Nobody is talking about this aspect, but this is why we are here in 2016 talking about faster consoles 3 years after they launched. Sony usually offers more flare, but lacks substance - so not sure how things will go for them. MS has made many mistakes and people left and got fired and today we are here with them trying to play catch up. MS is doing a good job with playing catch up, but even they know they have to do something too with their console. Software is king, but if consumers continue to see same software run better on PS4, even though it's really not the same software, consumers will choose the better system. If MS wants to take the steam out of Sony, it needs to convince consumers in simple terms that it can do things the competition can't. Cloud computing, although adds more power to games, is not a visual cool selling point. MS isn't talking about VR like Sony is either and Sony has learned to capture consumers attention and keep it. MS must steal this attention away and they need to change the way the game is played or change the game. - And to be honest, E3 is great and all, but if you really want to STAND OUT with something that will grab people's attention, make a huge announcement a month before E3. Then at E3, you will have already have people's attention and then give the audience "CAKE" (Portal pun intended). Give the audience at E3 more that just blows the competion away "WORLDS AWAY". - - Well, this is what I would do, but I'm not tied up with shareholders who make decisions differently than what consumers want. Shareholders want to do things that make them money in the short term and maybe MS just can't do what it needs to do because of them. - Anyway, time will tell.
  • If Ms had done oh the hate but when Sony does it.. See that's innovative that is how a company should be all hail phony
  • Microsoft should pull the anagram card as well and call their 'new' Xbox One 1/2 version the Xbox Wot.
  • So many addons were the start of Sega's downfall with Mega CD and 32X frustrating gamers.
    Now the 3DS is cutting out people with an old 3DS from new games and even Snes games and frustrating gamers.
    Sony could be on a dangerous path with so many upgrades, changes and add-ons'
  • This article implies that there is not a highly similar upgrade coming for the Xbox. This seems pretty short sighted as it's looking like this is the way things are going these days.
  • There's evidence against that, at least in the short term.
  • I'd give MS a full year delay, at the most.
  • The real question is why a 4.5? Simple, Sony caught wind that the Nintendo machine was going to be more powerful. Consoles are a loss leader, nothing more than a licensing machine. In other words they lose money on the machine and make money on the licensing of games for that console. Sony is afraid... Afraid of becoming Sega, afraid the PS4 will become a Dreamcast of this generation.
  • I doubt that... the '4.5' coincides with the VR releas which directly explains the 2x GPU change. Nintendo has a lot of catchup to do on the dev side, since they were a-holes to 3rd parties for 2 generations now.
  • I thought it would be the other way around first with Xbox offering hardware upgrades since Kinect wasn't welcomed well and ps4 has somewhat overall better hardware. But honestly the games look comparable even after a couple years of development. I for one love the latest tech, so my patience in waiting will be difficult if I know a ps4.5 is available and no Xbox 1.5. It is too soon for Xbox 4k. So a similar strategy sounds good. It will make the high demands on win 10 more tolerable too.
  • So Xbox one (turbo) would work if in a smaller package and the price is right at $399 along with a $99 upgrade for existing systems. That said, upgrade hardware has never been sucesful. 32x, jaguar cd, Sega cd, hardware on specific cartridges, memory upgrade n64, etc. Of interest however is the Wii. It's basicly a fever up GameCube that's 100% compatible with GameCube. Wii was a success and inferior to the specs of ps3 and 360.
  • This move is going to further fragment console gaming and really tick off the majority of PS4 owners who just bought their console less than two Christmases ago (less than 16 months ago). I'd be furious and forever untrusting of a console from Sony. If this is where consoles go it's going to be a sucky future.
  • First, my biases: I am a decades long console gamer who has collected (hoarded? "collectoarded?") all those years, and have ended up with a fleet of roughly 35 systems ranging from all three of the current big name consoles all the way back to a Japanese Pong knock off which predates the Atari 2600 (which I also have). Between them, I have roughly 1000 games. My favorite generation is the 4th gen (aka the 16-bit console wars), and my favorite system is either Sega Genesis or Turbografx. I love consoles, and probably always will, and I will always approach gaming "through the eyes of" a console gamer. I've also never had a true "gaming PC" though I did have a few brief dabble periods with PC and Mac gaming, and over the past couple years, that desire to build a gaming PC and [quote unqoute] "join" the [quote unquote] "Master Race" has really begun to get very strong. I am finally in the process of building a rig. It's a bit outdated, but should still slightly outperform the PS4 (4.0, that is...whether it'd outperform this supposed "4.5" is still an open question). In fact, as the recent Windows Central winner of the $250 Amex gift card, I intend to use that money to buy the final components I need to complete the rig (the power brick, an SSD, an HDD, and the RAM.) It comes with Windows 7, and one of my very first acts after firing the machine up the first time will be making the upgrade to 10. So I'm a deep-seated, "in my very bones" true-blue console (and Arcade) gamer who's biases slant deep to that side, and who's heart will probably always be on that side. PC gaming is fascinating, boundless in promise, and something I very much look forward to joining in the very near future....but it will probably never be "my main thing", nor probably ever be my cognitive paradigm for "how gaming works". It's intriguing, it's fascinating, it's promising, it's majestic - but it will probably always be at least somewhat "foreign" to me. So with all that said:....... ......While fraught with peril, and potentially disastrous if done wrongly, at least on the ideological level, I am 100% on-board with the idea of "upgradable consoles". It erases one of the chief weaknesses of the console medium, while (if done right) still preserving the strengths. However, to not do more harm than good, in my opinion, here's what I would need to see: 1) Prohibiting, or SEVERELY limiting "4.5 exclusives". It sounds like they may already be doing that, which is very good news! Sure, it provides counter-incentive to developers to spend extra money without making extra money to produce a "two-tiered" game. But PC games are way more than two-tier, don't cost more than the console counterparts, and I would assume, still manage to be profitable. So, I'm not worried about this too much. Maybe make the two-tiered games $10 more expensive to help offset, and call it good. My point is that while there being no developer incentive to take advantage of the new hardware is a very bad thing, I'd still view it as the lesser of two evils by far than fragmenting the software library with upgrade exclusive games, and shutting out the existing "4.0" gamers. 2) Offering an expansion module for less money as an alternative for existing PS4 owners so that they don't have to outright buy a new system every half-cycle. There -IS- precident for external upgrade boxes in the gamer laptop arena. You buy this box, it has a newer, beefier GPU, and maybe extra RAM and/or an auxiliary CPU to bolster the base one. This is sooooo important, and its lack of mention in the article is sooooo troubling to me. You see, it doesn't matter if we keep the software library unified if the price of entry to upgrade is too much at that frequency for your ordinary gamer to be able to handle it, it still fragments the market in a sense. I get that the PS4 people would still get to play the PS 4.5 games, but at reduced graphical / performance levels. Most of us can't afford a $400/$500 new console every two years or less. However, if they offered a 4.5 "upgrader add-on" to existing PS4 users for maybe $100, $150, that's a much easier pill to swallow on such a frequent basis. I mean, I agree that they should stop selling brand new 4.0s to make way for 4.5. Force those all-new to the platform to spring for the better one. I'm fine with that, and in fact, that will only help adoption, which will provide developer incentive. But don't stiff those already on the platform! Not only is that dirty pool to the loyal, but it will lower adoption rates which will in turn reduce incentive and in turn diminish the upper-tier software output - and besides, I don't really see this external box approach creating huge technical hurdles to overcome in order to pull it off. 3) Providing developers with incentive to take advantage of the new hardware. I know, I said nobody taking advantage of the extra hardware would still be better than fragmenting the market, shutting out and alienating the original system adopters.....and it is. But failing to offer the 4.5 adopters any content to justify their expense is only so much better, and would imperil the future of the "upgradable consoles" model that, in theory, I love! So, on paper, I love it! On paper, I'm all for it. But I can only actually support it in practice if we see things akin to what I laid out. If they build an external box, I'll buy it. But I probably won't buy an all new console - I'll just play the games I can play on my shiny new(-ish) gaming PC!!! :-D Cheers!
  • I read your whole thesis. It makes sense. As for PC Gaming, I don't think I can ever do that(not anytime soon). It just seems too complicated for me. I have Half Life 2 and I've never played it. There's something to be said of the simplicity of picking up a controller and voila...get right into gaming. I don't know if it's me, but I couldn't figure out a way to use a controller to play that game on Steam.
  • Yeah, it's definitely more complicated, and that has kinda scared me away in the past. Not so much in terms of the complexity of the games, but things like making sure the game works, and all of that. Way back in the 1999, 2000 era, I did try my hand at a custom build gaming PC, but I cheaped out on most of the components and that was a mistake. The only "good" component in there really was a Voodoo 3 2000 (PCI, though.) Back then, a lot of the games were still DOS, and the sound card, for instance, wouldn't work with most of them. Stuff like that. Part of why I didn't stay on PC gaming very long - but it was long enough to learn that the PC version of Doom is in fact much better than any of the home versions! :-) I know that PCs have come a long, long way in terms of getting things to "just work", and my components will be more name brand this time around. But that past experience did leave a mark. You're also absolutely right that there's a certain joy to just putting in a game designed specifically for a given hardware configuration, and just having it work. The current gen has mitigated that joy a little with things like forced installs, and DLC, and the like. So, the line has been blurred a little bit already. But I don't think these hardware upgrades will do much to blur the line further than it already has. Then again, the flipside of the coin is to see a game that you're used to seeing on XB1 and/or PS4 on a PC, and everything looks so much better, or in having a host of graphics settings, so you can find that perfect balance between beauty and smoothness. Pros and cons both ways, really. Again, I think my heart will always be with consoles and old arcade games....but I am excited to get into the one thing I've really been missing out on all this time. Thank you for reading my "thesis". :-) I'm sorry it was so "thesis length"! :-D Cheers!
  • If we're talking about the good ol' day's.. It wasn't hard to play DOS games. Most people figured out quickly how to get online using trumpet winsock, configure their sound cards, IPX with Kali & Gamespy. But that was the 90's and it's been getting easier every day to game with a PC. It's the bleeding edge hardware and silkiness that draws people in and why the PC.
  • This move also clarifies why Backwards compatible better be out of the box ready on all new consoles or F off. Perhaps going back 2 gens if we are becoming a .5 gen world. I blam Apple. People are dumb enough to go drop 600.00 every 2 years for a phone and Sony wants in on those morons.
  • SOmeone remind Sony that Neo dies in the end. 
  • I'm more excited at the mini xbox one version.  I feel like this decision that sony is doing is going to alienate their fanbase. 
  • Don't blame me, I voted for Kudos.
  • Microsoft needs to make the One in handheld form. 'Nuff said.
  • Game on, Sony... Go ahead release the 4.5. XB1 should Emphasize their dedication to the current generation to build trust with gamers and not screwing the current Gen gamers and developers. Release a diskless XB1 mini for $200 to get the low hanging fruit of budget gamers. Then completely demolish and outspec the 4.5 with an XB2 in a couple years, add Oculus Rift VR compatability after it matures to merge their gaming library with your store. Come in under the price of the 4.5 + Sony VR and leverage the PC/XB2 cross platform strategy. Add in backward compatibility to the XB1 and 360 to boot. This would be fun to watch!
  • A budget gamer is not likely to buy a diskless Xbox since they are also the people who are most likely to resell or trade in their used games. A diskless console at a cheap entry price only really benefits people with the disposable income to go all digital, ergo not really someone who games on a budget.
  • Somewhat true regarding budget gamer. A person can get Games with Gold, EA Access games and weekly deals in the store fairly cheap. Who's to say they won't revive digital sell back with the mini? One gamer I didn't mention was the casual gamer. This could appeal to them too. They could play Rocket League with friends on the weekend and utilize XB1 Apps for nongame use. I see a definite draw for a mini.
  • Hate to be a grammar ****, but this sentence: "Clearly, the Xbox team are already considering how to tackle the next generation of console hardware." Should read like this: "Clearly, the Xbox team is already considering how to tackle the next generation of console hardware." Yes, team refers to a group of people, but when using it in a sentence, treat it as singular.  If you said Xbox team members, then yeah, 'are' is ok.  Or, if is British based and therefore using British English.  Most of the time they treat groups as plurals.  The easiest solution, which sounds much more natural, is using a different word or adding another one like I mentioned with 'members'.  'Are' just sounds weird in that sentence. /rant
  • I'm British, and my editors keep slamming me for using British English haha, it's a VERY hard habit to break when it's implanted in your muscle memory to write that way.
  • The Xbox One has a more powerfull processor than the PS4. The PS4 has a better graphics card. When we compare the gaming on PS4 vs XB1 we see that the XB1 doesn't seem to suffer from noticable performance issues.
  • Has a higher clocked processor from what I can tell.  Not that it matters since both consoles run low end AMD CPU chips. 
  • Nice read; good article.
  • Well considering Spencer said he's against mild performance upgrades and he's also stated he wants to keep consoles closer to PC performance than before, coupled with the fact of the leaks sugesting a new XBOX already I'd wager to say there's a big upgrade coming soon. Now pure guess work here, but considering Intel just dumped many employees I doubt an intel powered XBOX but I do see MS pushing the brand new Zen-CPUs (14nm) and the polaris radeon graphics, and I hope they do so before sony gets their hands on the tech (I honestly want to see a WinAMD more than a Wintel).
  • Devs aren't going to spend the extra money making an extra tier of graphics, they wouldn't even make games 1080 on the Xbox when it came out since Microsoft only required 720
  • Never liked the console experience and only purchased one to play Halo. With Windows 10, I'm getting back to real gaming on real premium hardware.
  • As MS has locked Language to region they have said no to 20%+ of the customer base in Europe.