Even though the Xbox One and PS4 were significantly more powerful than the ageing Xbox 360 and PS3 when they were released in late 2013, the truth is that the hardware specifications of either console did not set the world alight, particularly the Xbox One’s, a machine which many considered underpowered.
Actually, the One’s inferior hardware when compared to the PS4, plus Microsoft’s mistake of marketing the console as a “multimedia machine” and shipping it at a price premium relative to Sony’s console, are the reasons why the gamer-focused PS4 has been ahead in sales throughout this console generation.
But although the PS4 has a more powerful hardware configuration than the Xbox One, both machines are not particularly powerful when compared to even mid-range PCs. It was a different thing in 2006 though, when both the Xbox 360 and PS3 were miles ahead of the average PC with their fast multi-core processors and powerful graphics chips.
It seems though, that Microsoft and Sony are looking to remedy the situation, and will be launching upgraded versions of their consoles in the near future. Sony will be first with their PS4 “Neo” console, a machine featuring a faster processor and upgraded graphics hardware which will likely be unveiled during the 2016 E3 show in June.
How the 40 million plus owners of Sony’s “vanilla PS4” will take this is another matter though, as they will now have to upgrade to the new console to enjoy the best PlayStation experience… Although it is clear that Sony’s move makes perfect sense, as the new Neo model helps futureproof the PS4 platform while maintaining backwards compatibility, plus it will also offer new buyers a better virtual reality experience with Sony’s upcoming PlayStation VR headset.
Microsoft is not resting on its laurels either, and is rumoured to be planning to release a new upgraded Xbox One sometime in 2017, according to Polygon. This will be a serious hardware upgrade though, as the new Xbox One (codenamed “Scorpio”) will be more than four times more powerful than the current Xbox console, plus it will also be able to support the Oculus Rift VR headset, making it as powerful as the typical high-end PC out there.
Another plus is that the Scorpio will be backwards compatible with the current Xbox One catalogue, something that could entice those yet to get a new-gen console to go for Microsoft’s machine in 2017.
In the end though, it remains to be seen whether Microsoft can close the sales gap with its new Xbox One model or whether Sony’s lead is unassailable now, given the PS4’s huge user base and the upcoming release of the Neo and PlayStation VR headset. But if one thing is certain, is that things are about to get interesting in this generation’s console war…