OPINION – While Sony is allegedly preparing a new PlayStation 4 (which will very likely to be not confirmed until their E3 conference), Microsoft might follow the footsteps of the Japanese and work on a stronger Xbox One. There are two other entries as well…
We also have Nintendo next to the Sony–Microsoft duo. They are working on the NX – however, we might see the group of three as a group of five shortly, as the second line of consoles is in the making…
You cannot underestimate China. Tencent, which was formed barely 17 years ago, quickly became a reckoning force in the country. They not only made their own MSN, but also a clone of Twitter and Facebook while also having a hand in gaming as well. In 2011, they bought themselves into Riot Games, the developers of League of Legends. They also have stakes in Epic Games and Activision Blizzard.
They only needed a small step to consoles… and guess what? They pulled it off. During CES Asia, Tencent revealed the Tencent TGP Box. TGP stands for Tencent Games Platform. Before you quickly write this console off, let us remind you that they have a different approach. The console would have Windows 10, and its hardware would support the sixth generation Intel i3/i5/i7 CPUs. We have no idea on their GPU so that might be an integrated solution.
Multiple franchises’ online versions were confirmed to launch: outside LoL, there will be NBA 2K, FIFA Online 3, Monster Hunter Online, Need For Speed, and so on. More titles will be announced later, and unfortunately, we cannot say more about the TGP Box, as the specifications are mostly unknown. The
The TGP Box will probably sell like hotcakes in China. As we can’t say much more about this console, let’s move on to the other one that has multiple details revealed about it…
FUZE is another Chinese company. Remember Keiji Inafune’s failed Kickstarter for Red Ash? FUZE was the company that stepped in and financed the team to make the game happen. They also want to make a console. Here it is; the PlayStation One. The Xbox 4. OK, not joking, their weird hybrid looking product is called Tomahawk F1. While it took the design of its rivals, the Tomahawk F1 wants to challenge its rivals!
I need to take a bit of a detour about the Chinese console situation to help you understand what goes on there with gaming altogether. In 2000, the CCP (the leading party in China) decided to ban the consoles, as the party deemed them dangerous for children. The ban is phasing out, and now Microsoft and Sony are both allowed to be officially in the country with the ≈party’s supervision and censorship in place. Officially indeed: people were able to buy gray import products with some modifications as well.
Meanwhile, local products took over the market, which makes FUZE‘s try all of a sudden reasonable. Also, internet cafés are a thing in China: PC and mobile gaming have a big slice in the market’s cake, especially because of the free-to-play models.
If we also add the fact that Microsoft and Sony don’t have a lot of support from Chinese developers (and no Mandarin Chinese localization for games either in return), there is now a middle market to an extent. Android games, and handhelds using this platform, not only offer a lower price but they also have some interesting (and illegal) solutions to emulate older games.
Tomahawk F1 is also an Android console, whose user interface reminds us of the PlayStation 4‘s for some reason… and it is called Fuze OS. Here are the specs:
- Nvidia Tegra K1 (4 Core A15 @ 2.2GHz
- Nvidia Keppler @ 852Mhz (325GLOPS)
- 4GB DDR3 RAM @ 933Mhz
- 32GB eMMC storage (Elite = 500GB HDD)
- Wi-Fi & Bluetooth support
- HDMI, USB 3.0 x 1, Ethernet (Elite = Qi Wireless controller charger)
- Fuze OS (Android) + Open GL 4.4 & Open GL ES 3.1 support
- Chinese & English game support
Because of the English game support, which probably means English interface, the console might be sold in the West. What about the pricing? The basic version costs 899 renminbi (RMB, Chinese Yuan… their currency), which is about 140 dollars. The Elite version is a bit more pricy, its price is 1499 RMB / 230 dollars, which is still reasonable. You might say that it doesn’t mean much. Indeed, so allow me to tell you how much the PS4 and the X1 cost in China.
After the price drop, the Xbox One costs 3799 RMB / 614 USD with Kinect and 3199 RMB / 517 USD without it. The PS4? 2399 RMB / 365 bucks. So not only there is a huge price gap between the PS4 and the X1, but the F1 is way under the price of the two foreigner products! (Especially if we consider that getting 2000 RMB there is somewhat common as a monthly wage, but I might be absolutely wrong about it.) The FUZE console is about three times cheaper than the X1, which would allow more people to get one, making it a potential success on the Chinese market.
PS4 / X1
I could point out the NVidia Shield as well, or any other tablet, but in that case, you’d need two days of food and a sleeping bag to get through this article, so let’s cut to the two current-gen consoles instead. The PlayStation 4K/NEO/4.5 has been rumored like a million times already. It might use AMD‘s new GPU called the Polaris, a newer CPU, etc., and the newer games would be mandatory to run on the older PS4 model to help maintain the install base.
All this is mere speculation, only AMD and Sony could say anything official, but they won’t do so until E3. They can’t ignore the rumors for much longer, though. If Sony does provide a newer PS4, Microsoft will have to follow them, because they don’t want the Japanese company to have an even tighter grip on the gaming market. (The NX will have a word or two about it, though – we don’t know much about that console either.)
The past and the future melts
PCs continuously leave the consoles behind and seeing what the GeForce GTX 1080 can pull off, this platform will have an even bigger advantage over consoles. Because of this reasoning, it somewhat makes sense to delete the term console generation, but some people buy consoles to avoid upgrading their hardware every two-three years to have their games run flawlessly.
If both Microsoft and Sony pulls this constant upgrading off, there might be problems, but mind you, the consoles came with somewhat obsolete hardware. 7870-based AMD GPU? This one isn’t the best if you want to play something on 1440p or 4K. Console manufacturers want to move past 1080p.
If they want to make newer consoles, they should provide so good hardware that would be able to kick the PCs’ ass for a while. When the X360 and PS3 came out, we didn’t have Crysis on PC (that came out at the end of 2007), and dual-core CPUs weren’t that widespread either.
Perhaps this is why the Nintendo NX is launching in March 2017, so the AMD Polaris can be used – the big N might risk a higher price, but provide powerful hardware in return. The Wii U lost money on each sale, and Kimishima, the president of Nintendo, has already stated that they won’t make the same mistake. My guess is that the NX will be around 450-500 bucks.
If the PS4 NEO/Xbox… Two (?) becomes reality, then we can indeed forget the word console generation. This was an important term in the past three decades. The people lost faith in gaming after the ’83 crash, but they have grown to love them again with the NES. Then came the 16-bit era duel between SEGA and Nintendo, followed by an entrance into 3D, then SEGA left the console market. Having newer consoles out quicker would mean more development cost that would likely jack the prices up a bit. Might be my dumb logic, but who knows.
Each generation had a signifcant moment or game that we all remember. NES? SMB. Megadrive/Genesis? Sonic. PS1? Metal Gear Solid. PS4/X1? Would be hard to point one out. Uncharted 4? It’s a sequel. Sequels will not always happen; everything ends eventually.
So does this article right here.