If gaming news was a ship titled the S.S.Sony Nintensoft, then someone should check the hull, because baby, this ship appears to be a-leakin’. Over the past few months, various outlets have been reporting that all the major players, Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo all have ‘new’ consoles on the horizon. The internet has named Sony’s hidden beast the PS4K and is more of a hardware revision than a new console, Nintendo’s successor to the Wii U is codenamed the Nintendo NX and up until now, we haven’t really had a codename for the new Microsoft system, nor any information on what it is/where it sits in terms of hardware upgrade or brand new console.
Enter, the console codenamed ‘Scorpio’
The news of this new Xbox broke earlier on both Kotaku and Polygon, both sites also confirm that their separate sources have corroborated the story. It appears as though Microsoft will announce the Scorpio at E3, along with a revised Xbox One that is more in line with previous generation’s revised ‘slim’ consoles.
Polygon went on to state
The other console, codenamed Scorpio, is unlikely to be released until late 2017, according to Polygon’s sources. It will likely be announced in the next month, though plans are somewhat in flux. Like the all-but-confirmed PS4 “Neo,” Scorpio represents an evolution of console generations, one that straddles the line somewhat between an entirely new installment of the Xbox platform and a continuation of the existing Xbox One.
So it appears as though we will be getting new consoles next year, that are slightly more powerful than the consoles sitting in our homes today. The Same way that apple releases an updated iPad and iPhone each year, with slightly better hardware, it appears as though the PS4 ‘Neo’ and the Xbox ‘Scorpio’ will offer more power, without being an entirely new generation of console.
But…. exactly how much more powerful will they be?
The power behind the revised consoles
In regards to the power of the not-quite-nex-gen-consoles, Polygon stated the following
Power is a primary concern for Microsoft with Scorpio. The PS4 has remained a constant leader over the Xbox One in this respect, with games on the platform running at higher resolution and a higher framerate on the PS4 than their Xbox One counterparts. Microsoft is determined to end this narrative.
The Xbox One is believed to operate a peak target of 1.32 teraflops, compared to the 1.84 teraflop performance numbers attributed to the PS4. Meanwhile, per documents secured by Giant Bomb’s Austin Walker — and corroborated by our sources — the PlayStation 4 “Neo,” at approximately 2.25 times more powerful than the PS4, is likely to have a peak performance number of 4.14 teraflops.
The current performance target for Microsoft’s Scorpio is approximately 6 teraflops.
What the fuck is a ‘teraflop’ and why should I care?
Despite being a pretty funny word, Teraflops are used to measure the performance power of a computer system. ‘FLOPS’ or ‘flops’ is an acronym that stands for ‘floating-point operations per second’. Using floating-point encoding, computers are capable of dealing with incredibly long numbers, relatively easily. Considering game code and application code more or less boils down to lots and lots and LOTS of 1’s and 0’s, it’s not hard to understand, at a base level, why FLOPS are theoretically important when guestimating a systems power. Understanding it in more depth, requires a university degree, so this is about as far as my knowledge goes.
Doth superior Teraflops, a better console maketh?
Not in the slightest. It means that the console theoretically has more power, but it doesn’t outright make it a better console. The PS3 was capable of more Teraflops than the Xbox 360, but according to sales figures, the 360 smashed the PS3 throughout the last console generation. Plus, despite what you may have read elsewhere, a new release game can still be worth playing, even if it runs on an older engine/graphics aren’t as technologically groundbreaking/doesn’t run at a constant 60 fps/doesn’t push each and every boundary of the console.
So if teraflops can’t help me decide which console to buy, how should I chose?
There are PLENTY of other aspects in regards to consoles that you should factor into your choice
- Console Exclusive Games
- What your friends own
- The online experience
- 3rd party support
- Controller shape and design
- Backwards Compatible Library
So if I can’t count on teraflops to tell me which console is the best, then how will I decide who to side with in the great console wars?
Simple! DON’T SIDE WITH ANYONE. More games, available on more systems, is better for everyone in the long run. Console superiority is stupid, I dream of the day I can buy a single platform and know that I’ll be able to play all of this generation’s best games. Not to mention, if power is all you are concerned with, then you should probably pick up your console and throw it in the bin. Instead, invest your money into a PC and then berate your casual as fuck friends for still playing their inferior consoles… To be fair though, PC’s are far superior to consoles in terms of power and graphical output.
So, what is this post all about then?
Getting back to the topic at hand, the console market is about to enter a very interesting time. This is the first time in console gaming’s existence where a mid-generation hardware revision has been carried out to this level. We aren’t just talking about a slimmer version of both consoles with an extra in-built peripheral or slightly updated architecture here, we are talking about consoles that are effectively 4 times more powerful than the current consoles sitting in homes. In 2 years, will games require the PS4 Neo or the XBOX Scorpio to run effectively? Will this trend continue each and every year much like the current Apple peripherals? What about online play? If the not-quite-nex-gen consoles are capable of higher framerates, will they be able to play online with the current consoles?
I guess we will just have to wait until E3.