PlayStation 5 v Xbox Series X: how will the rival consoles compare? | Games – Blog – 10 minute

Last week, in a livestream watched by millions, Sony revealed the first games coming to its PlayStation 5 console. Due out this winter, the machine will be competing with Microsoft’s Xbox Series X in the first major console war since 2013. But what will these new devices offer that Xbox One and PlayStation 4 do not – and will this finally get the kids off Fortnite?
Technology
Like the Xbox One and PS4, the two new machines have quite similar tech, much of it provided by leading semiconductor manufacturer AMD. This is where things get a bit technical. Both machines use versions of AMD’s Ryzen series of central processing units, which are built around the company’s Zen 2 core architecture. This technology is designed to bring efficient processing to desktop PCs and mobile devices but the console companies have worked with AMD to produce custom versions. The PS5 CPU operates at 3.5GHz, while the Xbox Series X CPU can run at a peak speed of 3.8GHz, suggesting a raw processing advantage for Microsoft’s machine.
Both consoles also have dedicated graphics processing units (GPUs) to drive their high-detail 3D visuals, also based on AMD technology: its Radeon Navi RDNA graphics architecture. The PS5 version uses 36 compute units (individual blocks of computing resources) running at 2.23GHz and offering 10.28 Teraflops (a measure of how many trillions of floating-point operations per second a graphics processor can deal with). The Xbox Series X version of the AMD Navi GPU features 52 compute units, offering 12 Teraflops. This would seem to give Xbox Series X another advantage, but the PS5 GPU runs faster (2.23GHz compared to 1.825GHz) and developers will also be able to vary the frequency of operation, boosting the speed of the CPU and GPU when needed – during graphically intense moments of a game, for example – while the speed of the Xbox Series X processors is locked. There’s no clear winner here – it will be up to developers to get the most from these slightly different approaches.
Both Sony and Microsoft say their machines will be able to run content at screen resolutions of up to 8K, but it’s not clear whether this will be games or 8K movies. They will definitely both run games at 4K (ultra-high-definition) and up to 120 frames per second, making for extremely smooth visual performance at high definition (as long as you have a 4K-capable TV). The machines also support an emerging graphics technology known as real-time ray-tracing, which accurately calculates the interactions and reflections of light beams through a 3D space, making for naturalistic lighting. However, ray-tracing is costly in terms of processing, and too much may mean games run at 30 frames per second rather than 60 or 120. Consequently, ray-tracing might be limited to small areas such as windows and metallic armour. Insomniac Games, for example, has confirmed its Spider-Man: Miles Morales game will use ray tracing … in the puddles.

Ray of light … Spider-Man: Miles Morales. Photograph: Sony
Storage
Both PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X have switched from using hard disk drives (HDDs) for storing games and saves to solid state drives (SSDs), which are much faster. Games will be extremely quick to boot up and loading new environments or levels while playing should be almost seamless. The PlayStation 5 comes with an 825GB SSD which can send 5.5GB per second of raw data, or 9GB per second of compressed data, to the console’s CPU. The Xbox Series X comes with a larger capacity 1TB SSD, but its raw throughput is less than half at 2.4GB/s. Both have an expansion slot allowing owners to plug in a second SSD if they want.
Accessories
Both consoles will come with redesigned versions of their familiar controllers. The Xbox Series X joypad focuses on comfort with a new shape, raised D-pad and tactile dot patterns on the triggers and bumpers to increase grip. Microsoft is also making a big deal of how the Xbox Series X will eliminate latency, the delay between pressing a controller button and the corresponding action happening on screen. Its dynamic latency input system should make for incredibly responsive controls, which will make a big difference in fast-paced shooter games.
The PS5’s new DualSense pad features haptic feedback, which brings a sense of resistance to the analogue sticks simulating, say, rough road surfaces in a driving game. It also has adaptive triggers in the L2 and R2 buttons that simulate the feel of tension in an item, for example drawing a bow string to shoot an arrow. Finally, a built-in microphone array will enable players to chat to friends without a gaming headset. We know the PS5 will have a compatible HD stereo camera and a Pulse 3D wireless headset, designed to get the most out of the system’s supposedly revolutionary Tempest 3D audio engine.
Games
Sony’s recent Future of Gaming livestream was a huge success, revealing a 29 PlayStation 5 games and a variety of exclusive titles including Gran Turismo 7, Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Horizon Forbidden West, and updated versions of Grand Theft Auto V and From Software’s Demon’s Souls. There were also intriguing original titles such as cyberpunk cat adventure Stray, stylised shooter Deathloop and role-playing quest Little Devil Inside.

The future of gaming? … Halo Infinite. Photograph: Halo Infinite
Microsoft has also announced a list of Xbox Series X games, but only three first-party titles so far – Gears 5, Halo Infinite and Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II. Its own recent livestream was not as well received as Sony’s, relying heavily on unfamiliar indie titles and optimised versions of games available elsewhere. The company has stated that all 15 of its own studios are working on Series X games, however, so we can expect more announcements.
Backwards compatibility
This is somewhere Microsoft definitely has the edge. The company has announced that many hundreds of classic Xbox, Xbox 360 and Xbox One titles will be playable on Xbox One Series X, either via game discs or digital downloads – and they will boast enhanced performance, including smoother frame rates and shorter loading times.
Sony has so far only confirmed backwards compatibility with PS4 games. In March, PS5 system architect Mark Cerny said around 100 titles had been successfully supported, and more recently, PlayStation CEO JimRyan told CNET that a further 4,000 games were being tested – but again, only PS4 titles.
Digital services
Xbox Series X will support the Game Pass subscription service, which gives owners access to hundreds of games. It will also support the cloud-based game streaming service xCloud (currently in closed beta), which will integrate with Game Pass allowing fans to play the latest Xbox titles on a range of platforms.
Elsewhere, with the Xbox Smart Delivery programme console owners will buy one version of a game, and then be able to access that title on any compatible Microsoft platform. For example, if an Xbox One owner buys Halo Infinite but then upgrades to Xbox Series X, they get that version of Halo Infinite for free. Microsoft has also been talking about its Quick Resume feature, which will allow players to pick up games where they left off, without having to load save files each time they start a new title.
PlayStation 5 will support the PlayStation Now service, which currently offers more than 700 PS2, PS3 and PS4 games, which can be streamed and played on PS4 or a PC – again for a monthly subscription. We’re not sure yet how Sony will upgrade the service for the new machine.

Deep dive … Horizon Forbidden West for PS5. Photograph: Sony
Price and launch details
All we know for both machines is that they’ll be launched in autumn/winter 2020 – probably October or November. Price-wise we have nothing but rumours. A listing allegedly placed on Amazon France for a few hours, showed a price of €499 for the PS5 with the disc drive and €399 for the digital version, which would likely translate to £499 / £399 and $499 / $399. Rumours also suggest a 20 November launch for Sony’s machine. Separate rumours put the Xbox Series X at between $349 and $499.
Specifications at a glance
PlayStation 5CPU: x86-64-AMD Ryzen Zen 2, eight cores, variable frequency, up to 3.5GHzGPU: AMD Radeon RDNA 2-based graphics engine, variable frequency, up to 2.23GHz, 10.3 teraflopsSystem memory: GDDR6 16GBSSD: 825GB, 5.5GB/s read bandwidth (uncompressed)Game disc: Ultra HD Blu-ray, up to 100GB/discVideo out: Support of 4K 120Hz TVs, 8K TVsAudio: Tempest 3D AudioTech
Xbox Series XCPU: AMD Ryzen Zen 2, eight cores, 3.8GHzGPU: AMD Radeon RDNA 2-based graphics engine, 52 CUs at 1.825GHz, 12 teraflopsSystem memory: GDDR6 16GBSSD: 1TB, 2.4GB/s read bandwidth Game disc: Ultra HD Blu-ray, up to 100GB/discVideo out: Support of 4K 120Hz TVs, 8K TVs
Conclusion
Just like the last console war, the two machines are very similar on paper, but we’ll have to see how their system architects have enhanced the basic tech specifications with proprietary firmware, compression techniques and hardware features. Exclusive games will also be a vital factor, despite our era of cross-platform streaming services. With so much yet to be revealed, including prices and launch line-ups, betting on a winner at this stage would be foolhardy.
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Over 1.56-Billion Gaming Consoles Sold Worldwide | Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Sourced from LearnBonds.

Sony’s PlayStation 2 remains the best selling game console of all time, two decades after its release. Data gathered by Learnbonds.com indicates that by March 2020 approximately 1.56-billion game consoles of different brands have been sold globally with PlayStation 2 accounting for 10.07%.
Among the top sold units, Sony, Atari, Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sega brands have more than one version of game consoles. Since its release in 2000, the PlayStation 2 consoles have sold 157.68 million units. The Nintendo DS is the second-highest selling game console with 154.9 million units globally followed by Game Boy at 118.69 million units.
Notably, the PlayStation 2 has outsold the popular Playstation 4 which has 109.86 million units globally. In fifth place, there is the first PlayStation console that has sold 102.5million units. The Wii console is sixth with 101.64 million units sold globally.

Sony’s third PlayStation series has sold 87.41 million units globally followed by Microsoft’s Xbox 360 at 85.8 million. Game Boy Advance (GBA) total sold units stand at 81.51 million while the PlayStation Portable closes the top ten categories with about 81.09million units. On the other hand, Dreamcast’s first version has the least units sold at 8.2 million. Sega Saturn (SAT) only unit has the second least sold devices at 8.2 million.
The PlayStation 2 success is due to several factors, for example, the length of time it remained on the market before the release of PlayStation 3. Furthermore, the console has a huge library of games that made it more popular than the initial PlayStation. PS2 also had the functionality of a DVD player, something that sold the console both as a home theatre device and as a modern gaming device.
Europe Accounts for More PS2, PS4 Sales Globally
The Learnbonds.com research also overviewed the sales of Sony’s PS2 and PS4 based on regions. Interestingly, Europe has emerged as the biggest consumer of Sony PlayStation platforms. The PlayStation 2 has sold more consoles in Europe at 55.28 million while in North America the units stand at 53.65 million. In Japan, there are 23.18 million sold units while the rest of the world stands at 25.57 million.
On the other hand, PlayStation 4 sales have dominated Europe with 45.12 million units followed by North America at 36.34 million. To date, about 9.12 million PS4 consoles have been sold in Japan while the number for the rest of the world stands at 19.28 million.
Even with the release of its successor, the PlayStation 3, the PS2 remained popular with Sony continuing with production until 2013. Sony finally announced the end of the production after twelve years. The PS2 also had several hardware iterations following the release of the slim version. The PS2 slim was a much smaller version that took up less space with a built-in ethernet port in addition to fast processing.
Sony Consoles Enjoy High Popularity
Following the release of the PlayStation 4, it became a hit immediately becoming the second most selling console for Sony. It emerged a top hit even surpassing Xbox One. With the release of PS4, it became a direct competitor to Xbox. However, the Sony game console remained popular due to various factors.
One of PS4’s popularity is due to its technical superiority compared to Xbox One. Generally, PS4 offers gamers an immersive game experience. Additionally, Sony’s idea to include more independent game developers on the PS4 has also contributed to its success.
Over the years, game consoles released under Sony have been popular due to the brand name. It’s the clear sequential successor to a brand of consoles that has been in the public consciousness for at least two decades. The PS4 has an edge over Xbox due to clear messaging. From the start, Sony announced that the PS4 was meant for gamers while on the other hand, Xbox also confused consumers after promising controversial multimedia features. The confusion ensured Sony retained its loyal fanbase.
Despite the popularity of PS4, its sales might not surpass the PS2 considering that Sony is set to launch the PlayStation 5 in 2020. On the other hand, Microsoft has announced it will also release the Xbox Scarlett – AKA The Xbox Series X. With the upcoming PS5, Sony has assured gamers that additionally hardware enhancements like a much faster hard drive, a 4K Blu-ray drive, and a more adaptive controller in the console’s next iteration.
Edited by Luis MonzonFollow Luis Monzon on TwitterFollow Tempemail on Twitter

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Gaming hardware, software spending falls again as consumers wait for next-gen consoles – Blog – 10 minute

In a nutshell: It’s been another depressing month for the video games industry, with spending across hardware, software, and accessories all down by double digits compared to the same period one year ago. As has been the case for a while, consumers are holding back their spending in anticipation of the PS5 and Xbox Series X.
According to industry-tracking firm the NPD group, total video game sales for February 2020 totaled $755 million, a 29 percent year-on-year decline. Hardware saw the most significant percentage change, down 34 percent from $277 million to $183 million, while software was down from $477 million to $307 million (31 percent). Accessories and game cards, meanwhile, fell 11 percent from $308 million to $265 million.
Last month was a quiet one when it came to new game releases, with February’s most popular new title—The Yakuza Remastered Collection—only managing to place 33rd on the best-seller list. The dry spell was in contrast to February 2019, which saw Anthem, Far Cry: New Dawn, Metro: Exodus, and Jump Force all launch.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare remains the best-selling game for another month. It’s also the best-selling game over the 12-month period ending February. We saw Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 return to the charts at number five, thanks to its recent promotion that dropped the price down to $2.99. Nintendo’s Ring Fit Adventure was up one place, and it could quickly rise higher after reports of it selling out as people avoid gyms and outdoor exercise during the coronavirus outbreak.
While sales of the PS4 and Xbox One consoles continue to fall as their successors get closer, the Nintendo Switch beat the older competition in terms of both units sold and dollar sales. “And [it] remains the best-selling hardware platform of the year.” Said NPD analyst Mat Piscatella, via VentureBeat.
Top 20 games from February based on dollar sales:
1. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2019
2. NBA 2K20
3. Grand Theft Auto V
4 .Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot
5. Tom Clancy’s The Division 2
6. Mario Kart 8*
7. Ring Fit Adventure
8. Madden NFL 20
9. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*
10. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
11. Minecraft#
12. Luigi’s Mansion 3*
13. Red Dead Redemption II
14. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild*
15. Pokemon Sword*
16. Just Dance 2020
17. FIFA 20
18. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege
19. Need for Speed: Heat
20. New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe*
* Digital sales not included^ Steam sales not included# Minecraft digital sales on Xbox and PlayStation included

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Blade Runner is being remastered for consoles and PC by Nightdive Studios – Blog – 10 minute

What just happened? Nightdive Studios, the Washington-based video game company best known for modernizing classic games like System Shock and Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, has partnered with film production company Alcon Entertainment to create a remaster of 1997’s Blade Runner.
Per The Hollywood Reporter, Blade Runner: Enhanced Edition will feature updated character models, animations and cut scenes as well as support for widescreen monitors and new keyboard / controller customization options. The game will also have the original foreign language translations in French, Italian, German and Chinese, we’re told.
Nightdive CEO Stephen Kick said they’re using the KEX Engine to help “elevate the gaming experience in a way you’ve never seen before,” all while preserving Westwood Studios’ vision and gameplay. Westwood, if you recall, developed the original but ultimately shut down after being acquired by Electronic Arts in the early 2000s.

“While you can enjoy the benefits of playing the game on modern hardware, the game should look and feel not as it was, but as glorious as you remember it being,” he added.
Speaking of Nightdive, the developer is still hard at work on its remake of System Shock. There isn’t yet a firm release date but all signs indicate that the launch is on track for sometime this year.
Blade Runner: Enhanced Edition is expected to launch later this year for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC (via Steam). If you can’t wait that long, you can always revisit the original courtesy of GOG for less than $10. It’s compatible with Windows, Linux and macOS and of course, is DRM-free.

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The Future of Tech: Gaming Consoles, the Xbox and PlayStation of Tomorrow – Blog – 10 minute

Consoles have come a very long way since the arrival of first-generation machines from Atari and Coleco in the seventies. Even the original PlayStation (1994) and Xbox (2001) look dated compared to the 4K/HDR-capable machines of today, and that divide will grow even larger once the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X arrive at the end of 2020.
But what about the future?
More than once console makers have tried to break new ground, by focusing on functionality beyond gaming, but for the most part those attempts have failed. Nintendo has found the most success with specialized hardware that still focuses on games first, while Sony and Microsoft have seemingly understood that building powerful general purpose machines that are akin to PCs is their best and safest bet. Not unlike PCs, it’s that fast hardware that has let them update their consoles accordingly to the times, adapting and adding features via software updates throughout the consoles’ lifecycle.
So, how much more advanced will the next-next-gen consoles look next to the upcoming machines from Sony and Microsoft? In the second of our “Future of Tech” series, we predict what hardware the PS6 and Xbox series Z (placeholder names) might sport.
The processor: 3nm or smaller?

AMD is providing the computational and graphical power for both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. Sony and Microsoft have confirmed their consoles will feature a custom, eight-core CPU based on the 7nm Zen 2 architecture. The Xbox Series X promises performance four times that of the Xbox One X, so expect something similar from the PS5.
Looking to the future, the main question is whether console makers will stick with AMD or turn to Nvidia or Intel for their processors. Judging from recent history, Team Red will likely remain the manufacturer of choice when it comes to providing the hardware.
AMD is rumored to launch its Zen 4 consumer processors in 2021 or 2022 — it’s said to be one of the first three companies locked in by TSMC for the manufacturer’s 5nm process. And while AMD hasn’t revealed any long-term roadmaps, TSMC has already started to focus on manufacturing 3nm process nodes and beyond — the Taiwan firm has started construction on its $19.5 billion fab that will manufacture 3nm chips, which are scheduled for mass production in 2023.
While there will doubtlessly be problems to overcome when going so small, expect the technology to appear in future PCs, mobile devices, and consoles, bringing with it high-efficiency performance and low power draw. With console generations lasting between five and eight years, 3nm could be the standard by the time the next generation of consoles arrive.
A dedicated discrete GPU, faster refresh rates as the norm

Xbox Series X and PS5 come with GPUs from the Radeon Navi family, with Sony’s machine said to feature 36 compute units running at 2,000MHz, while its rival reportedly has 56 units at 1,700MHz. Despite technological advancements, many console games are still locked at 30 fps — something PC gamers won’t stand for. With the next-gen machines, we’re promised 120 fps at 4K, 8K support, ray tracing, and variable refresh rate (VRR).
While more TVs support 120 fps+ and VRR, these are still a relatively new addition to home televisions, and the number of 8K sets owned by consumers is minimal owing to their very high price and lack of content. The PS5 and Xbox Series X will likely encourage more people to invest in high-end TVs, but will everyone eventually follow?
4K televisions are only just becoming the standard in most countries. Technology moves fast, but it’s hard to imagine that in, say, 10 years, 8K will be as popular as 4K TVs are today, yet tomorrow’s consoles may offer 8K at refresh rates higher than 60 fps.
The machines may even support 16K — a resolution Sony already offers in its Crystal LED display system and is supported by DisplayPort 2.0 (at 60 fps). This will obviously require a monstrously powerful graphics processor and could even result in the first console to have a dedicated GPU.
Custom graphics options, PC-style

One of the biggest advantages PC gamers have always had over their console cousins is the slew of graphical options offered by games. Resolutions, textures, aspect ratios, effects, frame rate caps, they can all be altered in the majority of PC titles, but with the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X, it’s usually a choice between ‘Performance’ or ‘Quality.’ That, however, could change.
Samsung has confirmed it is “pushing” Microsoft for the Xbox to support widescreen monitors, which are becoming increasingly popular among PC gamers. It might arrive as a feature of the Xbox Series X, but if not, expect it, and many other settings, to be part of the machine’s successor, especially as Microsoft strives to make its consoles more like PCs.
The main reason for having graphics settings on PCs is because of the differences in each system, meaning those with beastly rigs can set everything to max, while potato-owners can drop things to Minecraft-style levels (without the ray tracing). So why include them in consoles? It could allow for much higher frame rates. Those who want 60 fps+ at 8K on the console of the future can lower the textures. Or maybe they’ll be happy dropping to [email protected] fps with full effects enabled. Whatever happens, more ample options are always a good thing.
Fast storage = Shorter loading times

Loading times have been one of the worst elements of modern consoles, but this year they’ll feature a big upgrade to PCIe 4.0 solid-state drives. It’s difficult to predict what the future will hold in this area, but we can at least expect to see capacity and speeds improve over the coming years as hardware costs drop.
As we wrote in our Future of Tech: The Desktop PC feature, it’s also possible that the consoles of the future may rely on the cloud for their storage needs — the machines do often follow in the footsteps of their PC counterparts, after all.
As multi-gigabit internet plans start to become the norm, we might see the next-next-gen consoles storing most of their content in the cloud, while featuring smaller capacity but super-fast local storage. They could even use universal storage such as UltraRAM, which combines the best aspects of flash storage and DRAM into one.
Virtual reality accessories. Sony: Yes. Microsoft: Who knows.

Virtual reality has been a relative success on Sony’s current console, thanks to its popular PSVR, and that commitment will continue with the PS5 where a PSVR 2 release is expected. Conversely, Microsoft has said VR won’t be a focus for the Xbox Series X — Phil Spencer, the software giant’s VP of Gaming believes “nobody is asking for virtual reality.”
After some stagnation, VR headsets have improved drastically in recent times, with cutting-edge units such as the Valve Index, Oculus Rift S, and HTC Vive Cosmos. We can expect to see the technology to keep improving with per-eye resolutions of 4K and above, 165Hz+ refresh rates, and better controllers that offer more interaction. But the most compelling feature will be for these headsets to connect to a console wirelessly — a technical challenge, but it could be a game-changer for the industry. It’s rumored that the PSVR 2 will have this ability, but we’ll have to wait and see.
Whether Microsoft does finally embrace VR on its consoles remains to be seen — it could all depend on whether headsets experience a surge in popularity and some must-have games are made. But one thing’s for certain: the prospect of ultra-immersive VR gaming is certainly something to look forward to.
Will there still be physical copies of games?

It’s long been said that physical games will disappear completely, replaced with their digital versions. It’s almost happened on the PC, so shouldn’t consoles go down the same path in a few years?
Microsoft has tried this already with the disc-less Xbox One S All-Digital Edition (above), which omits the standard 4K Blu-ray drive, relying on digital downloads only. While it’s $50 cheaper than a regular Xbox One S, it hasn’t set the world on fire. Many believe its price should be lower, especially as it removes the option of buying cheaper, second-hand games from stores.
While not everyone is a fan of disc-free consoles, it’s appears to be the direction the industry is going. Games-on-demand subscription services such as the Xbox Game Pass and PlayStation Now are gaining popularity, companies are pouring millions into their streaming services, and more console owners are purchasing games digitally rather than going out and buying a physical copy. The same thing is happening with digital TV shows and movies, which are eroding the DVD and Blu-ray market rapidly.
In 2018, a few analysts predicted that all games would be digital by 2022. Both the PS5 and Xbox Series X will ship with disc drives though, so that’s not going to happen, but it’s not unrealistic to think that discs and cartridges will have gone the way of the VHS tape by the time 2030 rolls around. If they are still with us, perhaps an 8K disk drive will have become the standard for consoles.
Controllers & add-ons: Bring back the lightguns!

Nintendo has been the major driver of innovation here for the past couple of generations, but in the case of Sony and Microsoft’s console controllers, other than some minor changes and a few extra bells and whistles, they are not very different from their predecessors — and we’ll likely find the same thing in the PS5 and Xbox Series X.
A drastic design change for future consoles is unlikely. We can expect to see certain improvements such as better connections, improved battery life, and a few new features, but they’ll still be recognizable as a PlayStation/Xbox controller.
What we’ll probably get, however, are some new accessories. Remember when Guitar Hero ruled the world before the genre faded away? Advancing technology will mean new, innovative products of the same ilk. How about full bodysuit controllers that work in conjunction with VR?
A gaming chair that can simulate G-Force (like a more practical version of this)? And, it might not be innovative, but we’d like to see the return of lightguns — imagine how technically advanced they could be, while sitting in front of today’s inexpensive 70-plus-inch TVs. And yet, many console owners would probably settle for better mouse and keyboard support.
Design and looks

The design of consoles tends to be influenced by their hardware. We know the Xbox Series X looks like a small form factor PC, but we’ve only seen the PS5’s alleged dev kit, and those often differ vastly from the final product.
The Xbox Series X’s size is almost double the volume of the Xbox One X, and it’s said to pack the largest console processor ever made at around 405mm, which is about 11 percent larger than the one found in the Xbox One X. Microsoft’s upcoming console is hefty, but high-end hardware needs high-end cooling — the company doesn’t want another Red Ring of Death horror show.
Historically, consoles had been considered smaller and more discreet than PCs, but with increasingly small form-factor computers packing the likes of RTX 2080 Ti cards, that’s no longer the case. So, will future consoles get even bigger?
With Microsoft’s years-long quest to close the gap between console and PC, it’s likely that a future version of the Xbox will be slightly larger, especially if — as mentioned in the previous section — a dedicated discrete GPU is finally introduced. We could, however, see Microsoft repeat what it did with the Xbox One and introduce later iterations that are smaller (Xbox One S/Xbox One X).

Future PlayStation designs are harder to predict, especially if the PS5 dev kit does bear any resemblance to the console’s final design. Barring the original PlayStation, the console has always maintained a similar rectangular shape. It’s likely that Sony will keep with that style rather than going the PC-esque route; if the PlayStation 5 logo is anything to go by, the company’s not one for major design changes.
Additionally, Sony has released “slim” versions of its consoles since the PS2, so don’t be surprised to see that trend continue.
Game streaming… the future?

Most game streaming services are in their infancy, which means we’re still seeing plenty of teething problems, but we can expect the industry to grow and improve as internet speeds and the technology powering the likes of Google Stadia improve.
But will consoles go the same way? A few years back there were rumors that part of Microsoft’s next-gen Xbox lineup would include a streaming-only version of the console, one that was less powerful but a lot cheaper than the Xbox Series X. Phil Spencer put those rumors to rest in 2019, but perhaps there will be a streaming-only option offered alongside a future machine — assuming the game streaming industry doesn’t collapse.
It’s certainly interesting to think how streaming will influence machines of the future. In our PC feature, we predicted the rise of a desktop PC as a dumb machine with limited capabilities, the heavy processing work being carried out in the cloud and streamed back to the machine — which could mean cheap PCs that perform better than what we have today.
Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot in 2018 said that within the next ten years, game streaming would replace all platforms, eliminating the need for distinct gaming hardware. That does seem highly unlikely, and right now developers are focusing much more on next-gen consoles than streaming services, but then many people thought video streaming wouldn’t kill off much of the physical media market — and look what happened there.
Masthead credit: Concept Creator

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Trade agreement between US and China means no price rise for next-gen consoles – Blog – 10 minute

Why it matters: The trade agreement signed by the US and China last month has seen both video game fans and the industry breathe a sigh of relief, as it will prevent an increase in price for the PS5 and Xbox Series X.
The “Phase One” agreement put a hold on Donald Trump’s proposed 25 percent tariffs on $160 billion worth of goods made in China, which included consoles. In all likelihood, the tariffs would have made the next-gen machines from Microsoft and Sony more expensive due to them being manufactured in the country.
In June last year, the threat posed by the tariffs resulted in Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo joining forces and jointly writing an open letter to the office of the United States Trade Representative. The gaming giants said the extra import costs would cause “disproportionate” harm to the industry.

A few months later, a Sony executive reiterated that if the tariffs went through, the company may be forced to pass the costs onto consumers.
But the signing of the Phase One agreement appears to have put fears of a price increase to rest. In a statement to Polygon, the Entertainment Software Association said: “We are encouraged that the Administration suspended the implementation of tariffs on video game consoles and controllers. These tariffs would have significant implications for our industry, which boasts a trade surplus for the American economy. Tariffs will erode innovation, decrease job opportunities for American workers, and increase prices for consumers.”
It’s not just consoles that have been spared a price increase. The agreement has also stopped tariffs on some of Apple’s most popular products, including iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks, which could have seen the company increase its prices.

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Developers are focusing more on next-gen consoles than streaming services – Blog – 10 minute

In brief: More than 10 percent of developers questioned for the annual Game Developers Conference State of the Industry survey said they are currently working on games for next-gen consoles.
Breaking it down, a full 11 percent of respondents said their current project is being developed for the PlayStation 5 while nine percent are working on projects for Microsoft’s Xbox Series X. By comparison, 59 percent of those polled have projects in the works for PC while 39 percent are developing mobile titles.
In what may come as a surprise to some, support for streaming services remains nascent. Only six percent of those surveyed said they are developing for Google Stadia and just three percent are investing effort into titles for Microsoft’s Project xCloud.

GDC organizers have made a point to ask developers about which “immersive reality” technology they believe will be dominant in five years. Augmented reality is usually the top answer, as it was again this year, but the margin has narrowed.
Last year, only 19 percent of those polled believed virtual reality would be the dominant vision tech in five years. In 2020, that figure jumped to 25 percent although as mentioned, AR still won out with 32 percent of respondents believing it will prove most popular in half a decade.
For what it’s worth, 19 percent said they expect AR and VR to be equally as popular. Meanwhile, 16 percent said they didn’t think either tech would be important in five years while six percent said they flat out didn’t know.
The 2020 Game Developers Conference kicks off on March 16 and runs through March 20 in San Francisco. You can read more from the eighth annual State of the Industry survey by downloading a copy for free.
Masthead credit: VR by Yuganov Konstantin. Stadia by Cody Engel.

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A newly funded startup, Internal, says it wants to help companies better manage their internal consoles – gpgmail


Uber and Facebook and countless other companies that know an awful lot about their customers have found themselves in hot water for providing broad internal access to sensitive customer information.

Now, a startup says its “out-of-the-box tools” can help protect customers’ privacy while also saving companies from themselves. How? With a software-as-a-service product that promises to help employees access the app data they need — and only the app data they need. Among the features the company, Internal, is offering, are search and filtering, auto-generated tasks and team queues, granular permissioning on every field, audit logs on every record and redacted fields for sensitive information.

Whether the startup can win the trust of enterprises is the biggest question for the company, which was created by Arisa Amano and Bob Remeika, founders who last year launched the blockchain technology company Harbor. The two also worked together previously at two other companies: Zenefits and Yammer.

All of these endeavors have another person in common, and that’s David Sacks, whose venture firm, Craft Ventures, has just led a $5 million round in Internal. Sacks also invested last year in Harbor; he was an early investor in Zenefits and took over during troubled times as its CEO for less than a year; he also founded Yammer, which sold to Microsoft for $1.2 billion in cash in 2012.

All of the aforementioned have been focused, too, on making it easier for companies to get their work done, and Amano and Remeika have built the internal console at all three companies. It’s how they arrived at their “aha” moment last year, says Amano. “So many companies build their consoles [which allow users advanced use of the computer system they’re attached to] in a half-hearted way; we realized there was an opportunity to build this as a service.”

“Companies never dedicate enough engineers to [their internal consoles], so they’re often half broken and hard to use and they do a terrible job of limiting access to sensitive customer data,” adds Remeika. “We eliminate the need to build these tools altogether, and it takes just minutes to get set up.”

Starting today, companies can decide for themselves whether they think Internal can help their employees interact with their customer app data in a more secure and compliant way. The eight-person company has just made the product available for a free trial.

Naturally, Amano and Remeika are full of assurances why companies can trust them. “We don’t store data,” says Amano. “That resides on the [customer’s] servers. It stays in their database.” Internal’s technology instead “understands the structure of the data and will read that structure,” offers Remeika, who says not to mistake Internal for an analytics tool. “Analytics tools commonly provide a high-level overview; Internal is giving users granular access to customer data and letting you debug problems.”

As for competitors, the two say their most formidable opponent right now is developers who throw up a data model viewer that has complete access to everything in a database, which may be sloppy but happens routinely.

Internal isn’t disclosing its pricing publicly just yet, but it says its initial target is non-technical users, on operations and customer support teams, for example.

As for Harbor (we couldn’t help but wonder why they’re already starting a new company), they say it’s in good hands with CEO Josh Stein, who was previously general counsel and chief compliance officer at Zenefits (he was its first lawyer) and who joined Harbor in February of last year as its president. Stein was later named CEO.

In addition to Craft Ventures, Internal’s new seed round comes from Pathfinder, which is Founders Fund’s early-stage investment vehicle, and other, unnamed angel investors.


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Phones, laptops and game consoles get tariff reprieve until December – gpgmail


Electronics manufacturers are no doubt breathing a collective sigh of relief this morning at the news that the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has delayed tariffs on a number of categories.

A long list of exports, including livestock, foodstuff and clothing will have the additional 10 percent tariff imposed on September 1. Others, including “cell phones, laptop computers, video game consoles, certain toys, computer monitors, and certain items of footwear and clothing” have simply been delayed until December 15.

It seems the fees are an inevitability, but many might be able to scrape through just in time for the holidays.

“Certain products are being removed from the tariff list based on health, safety, national security and other factors and will not face additional tariffs of 10 percent,” the USTR writes. “Further, as part of USTR’s public comment and hearing process, it was determined that the tariff should be delayed to December 15 for certain articles.”

That list includes a wide range of electronics, from “telephones for cellular networks or for other wireless networks” to “telephone answering machines” and “cassette players (non‐recording) designed exclusively for motor‐vehicle installation.”

Stock prices for companies like Apple have already seen a positive bump following the news. The White House is expected to have additional trade talks with China next month in Washington, though Trump has since cast some doubt.

Asked by reporters whether he might cancel talks, the President answered, “Maybe. We’ll see what happens.”


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