Sunday 11 December 2016

E3 2016: Microsoft to make us wait a year for new Xbox, the 'world's most powerful console'

Published 14/06/2016 | 02:30

Microsoft displays the controller for the new Xbox One S console at the Xbox E3 2016 media briefing in Los Angeles
Microsoft displays the controller for the new Xbox One S console at the Xbox E3 2016 media briefing in Los Angeles

MICROSOFT kicked off a fresh round of the videogames war with the launch last night of a new Xbox described as "the most powerful console ever" - but you can't get your hands on it until the Christmas after next.

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Confirming months of rumours, Xbox boss Phil Spencer unveiled the supercharged new machine as the culmination of its annual press conference a day ahead of this week's E3, the world's biggest games expo held every year in LA.

The upgraded Xbox - whose codename Project Scorpio will undoubtedly change before it goes on sale in late 2017 - follows Sony's much lower-key reveal of an improved PlayStation 4 last week.

Sony too was short on detail, refusing to confirm either how much PlayStation 4 Neo would cost or when it would hit the streets.

"Project Scorpio will be the next addition to the Xbox One family, and it is ultimately the next step in delivering our vision of gaming beyond generations," Spencer said at the special event in LA's Galen Center auditorium, attended by 3,000 of the world's media.

"When it ships next year we believe it’ll be the most powerful console ever built," claimed Spencer.

In a presentation heavy on thunderous trailers and dominated by a roster featuring guns, zombies and fighting, Microsoft showcased familiar sequels such as Gears of War 4 and Forza Horizon 4 alongside already announced newcomers such as Recore and Scalebound.

Scorpio is likely to give gamers second thoughts about buying a new Xbox in the coming year, even though Microsoft also last night refreshed its current machine with a more cosmetic update. The Xbox One S will be smaller, sleeker and play super high-definition 4K video when it goes on sale in August, priced from €300 to €400. But the games themselves will be identical.

Sony will almost certainly beat Microsoft to the market with its updated PS4 by up to a year. The Japanese firm has consistently outsold its US rival in this generation of console, with almost 40 million PS4s sold compared to about 20 million Xbox Ones.

But Microsoft appears to be gambling that its turbocharged machine - described in a show reel as "a monster" by one game developer - will tempt gamers to save their money.

The blizzard of tech specs - eight CPU cores, 320GB memory bandwidth, and six teraflops of graphics power - suggests a higher price than Sony's Neo. But Microsoft seems confident that the promise of support for high-definition virtual reality and true 4K gaming will sway buyers in the €90bn industry.

Irish Independent

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