PlayStation 4, Xbox 720 and the future of Gaming Consoles

Sony PlayStation 4 HolidayIn 2013 all gaming enthusiasts are excited: PlayStation 4 will be released and rumour has it Microsoft will do the same with Xbox 720 or whatever the name of their next generation console will be. Although until now we just have the official specs of the upcoming PlayStation 4 console and some leaked and rumoured specs of Xbox 720 analysts believe Sony’s console will win the battle.

PlayStation 4 event was one of the strangest event I ever watched. It’s similar with what happened when Microsoft announced Surface tablets last year. It was that type of event where you see just a small part of what’s coming while the most interesting things are left to be announced later.

I think this time Sony just wanted to take Microsoft and announce their console first, but being first is not always the best thing. Now Microsoft officially knows what PlayStation 4 brings and can try to tweak a little the final version of Xbox 720. For instance, if PlayStation 4 comes with 8 GB of RAM, why not put inside the Xbox 12 or 16 GB of RAM. The possibilities are endless. Sony just wanted to let Microsoft know they are still there and this time they want to take the lead.

But Microsoft has an ace, called Kinect. According to VGLEAKS, the next Kinect Sensor, codenamed Durango will be very spectacular: it will have a higher depth stream accuracy which means it would be capable of capturing more forms in their true shape, will feature active infrared (IR) stream and will use a faster USB 3.0 connection(which will improve latency with 33 ms at ~60 ms ). It’s also rumoured that Durango will feature two modules, each one containing four x64 cores and each one of these cores is running a single thread at 1.6 GHz.

If Kinect is that advanced I think perhaps we should expect something similar from PlayStation 4, since now they want to take the lead. Probably at E3, we should find out that PlayStation Eye has evolved and now it can challenge the Kinect Sensor. From PlayStation 4 event we learned that PlayStation 4 Eye will feature two 1280 x 800 cameras, f/2.0 fixed focus lenses, 85-degree field of view, 30cm minimum focusing distance and four-channel microphone array. On paper this sounds way better than the first version of Kinect, but we have to see what Sony can do with these specs.

The main problem console gaming is having is uncertainty. We just have a list of specs that eventually lead to rumours and speculations. One thing is for sure, this year we will have a new chapter of this gaming console war between Sony and Microsoft. This time in my opinion the battle will be between PlayStation Eye and the Kinect sensor.

Before wrapping up I want to show you(again) another thing that might be interesting. At CES Microsoft teased us with a great video called “IllumiRoom Projects Images Beyond Your TV for an Immersive Gaming Experience”. If Xbox 720 incorporates this IllumiRoom idea, then the console gaming industry will reach another level. If everything goes as planned for Microsoft, Kinect 2.0 and IlluminiRoom immersive idea of projecting the game environments 360 degrees around the user should be the next big thing everybody would want.

At the end I want to say that there isn’t such big enthusiasm among PC gaming developers. Crytek CEO, Cevat Yerl claims both consoles will have zero chances against a PC. He is right, because it’s usually impossible to match gaming expectations with a hardware that will compete with a PC that can be upgraded monthly with some of the latest components. That’s why comparing a console with a PC will be a hot subject in the future and cloud gaming services like Gaikai or OnLive should meet expectations and come up with the perfect solution that can close the gap between a new PC and a console that has 3,4 or more years. This is the future of gaming consoles.

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