Tales of the Rampant Coyote

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The VR War Expands to Consoles?

Posted by Rampant Coyote on June 14, 2016

SonyVRSony has confirmed a new-and-more-powerful version of the Playstation 4, called the Neo. Fully compatible with PS 4 games and peripherals (and vice versa), the main thrust of the Neo seems to be to support enhanced visuals, gaming on 4K screens, and their upcoming VR system. Considering that 4K screens are so “last year” and haven’t gotten much traction yet (we’re still growing into our 1080ps!), I consider that one to be a little bit more of a hedge and wishful thinking, with the real emphasis being making sure that their VR – coming out in October this year – doesn’t suck.

Microsoft has countered with their own mid-generation upgrade, Project Scorpio. Again, it’ll be fully compatible with the Xbone library, just more powerful. And should work better with their VR solution… quite likely something that evolves out of their partnership with Oculus VR.

This “mid-generation upgrade” is pretty unusual. Sure, we normally get stuff like new peripherals and new form-factors… like Microsoft’s newly-minted Xbox One S. But a major horsepower upgrade is pretty new to me.

But VR is potentially the new thing, and it demands more horsepower.  2016 might be the year of consumer VR, but 2017 or 2018 may be the year it goes mainstream.

Filed Under: Mainstream Games, Virtual Reality - Comments: 4 Comments to Read

  • Charles said,

    All new neat things don’t necessarily take off. See Kinect for instance.

    My opinion counts for zero in this though. I still haven’t really come around to 3D.

  • McTeddy said,

    ^ This ^

    Seeing them pushing this hard just gives me flashbacks to motion controls.

    I’m increasingly confident that I’m just going to save my money.

  • Mattias Gustavsson said,

    With this, and Microsoft intending to blur the lines between xbox and windows, we might well be seeing the end of console cycles as we know them. It used to be that with a new console, the developers knew they had a good few years to develop games for it – for a fixed, unmoving hw target. And the players knew they could by a console, and it would have games coming for it for a good few years.

    Except, now your relatively new console won’t play all the games – unless you upgrade. And you will also able to play your xbox games in Windows. So it will be more like PC games have always been (but with the gatekeepers from the console world still there), a constantly moving hw platform, and a bit of guesswork if the game will run on your setup or not.

    I don’t know if this is good or bad though. But it’s a change.

  • Anon said,

    So Microsofts long-term plan was to destroy the competing console market by becoming a console manufacturer and force the competition into doing the same shit they do? Interesting theory! 😉

    Remember that the first Xbox was the first console with a harddisk and network connector built-in to support patches? As it practically was a PC it of course needed patches…
    Prior to the Xbox game companies couldn’t patch games unless they send out disks which was costly for them. In consequence a few bugs slipped through (I even had a game crash on me on my PS1 once) but the games were mostly problem-free.
    The whole generation after the first Xbox either had a harddisk (PS3, Xbox 360) or flash memory (Wii) built-in to support patches. By then everybody was used to it – even on mobile gaming devices where flash memory is expected.

    Of course the other big reason simply is support for downloadable games (hence no storage media and brick&mortar distributors necessary anymore) and other content like (always overpriced and hence very profitable) DLCs.

    Boy, do I wish for the good old times where you can pop in a disk or cartridge and immediately play a game and have fun – regardless if it’s 1997 or 2027…

    By the way, the “4K PS4” won’t necessarily be totally downwards compatible – there may be older PS4 games that won’t run on it so simply replacing your existing PS4 may be out of the question for some people…

    And, finally, I will laugh so loud the people in Panama can hear me when the Sony VR system won’t be compatible with the PS5! 😉