As well as Apple’s WWDC this week, the annual E3 gaming conference is running in Los Angeles. The event has gone through ups and downs in recent years, but this year’s conference was particularly interesting because of whats on the horizon – new consoles.
Ordinarily we would be mid-cycle and apart from thinner or quieter versions, would not be expecting new hardware. In actual fact Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo all have new-ish machines within the next nine months.
Sony confirmed a new version of the PS4 before E3 kicked off, but all that has been revealed is that it will handle 4k, be compatible with current games and it’s coming in September. They did confirm a little more about the Playstation VR which is now to launch 13 October for $400/£350.
There will be at least 50 games available for it by the end of the year and a couple of the games look very interesting including a new God of War, a new game from Hideo Kojima, Final Fantasy, Crash Bandicoot, EVE, Spiderman and Resident Evil.
Microsoft started their conference by announcing the Xbox One Slim. Running the same operating system as the Xbox One it’s 40% smaller, doesn’t have the huge power brick and is bright white. Perhaps more importantly it has HDR and 4K support, adds bluetooth, redesigns the controller slightly and will sell for $300 available in August.
In late 2017 Microsoft will launch another console currently called Project Scorpio which has very impressive specs that will let it run non-upscaled 4K at 60fps. If that sounds a bit vague, the bottom ine is that specs could easily handle VR. There was no specific VR system mentioned, but one of the games shown in promo videos has already been announced as a HTC Vive exclusive.
Microsoft also announced Xbox Play Everywhere – a new setup that lets you switch between Windows 10 and Xbox One with saved games, progress and cross play multiplayer. Games wise they showed off Halo Wars 2, Gears of War 4, Forza Horizon 3, State of Decay 2 and Recore.
Nintendo have committed to replacing the poorly performing Wii U with a console known as the NX. It is due to come out next Easter and they showed off the new version of Zelda running on the NX, although no real details were given.
The Bottom Line: Wait!
If you’re a casual gamer looking to upgrade your console I have one piece of advice – wait. The PS 4.5 and Xbox One S are both coming out in three to four months and will cost the same as the current models with significantly better internal specs. You’d be silly to buy an older generation model even if you don’t yet have a 4K TV. The vast majority of the games being shown off won’t arrive until after the updated hardware so there is not pressure to play quite yet and you’ll be glad you did.