Speculation about what Microsoft and Sony have in store for the next generation of home consoles has been ramping up. Recently, reports suggested that Microsoft are working on four separate variants of new Xbox hardware, out of which two are revisions for the current generation Xbox One with cloud streaming features enabled, and the other two being different variants of the next-gen Xbox. Recently, GamingBolt sat down with industry analyst Michael Pachter for a chat, and one of the things we spoke of was these reports, and about whether that was something Sony might considering doing with the PS5 as well.
According to Pachter, Microsoft may very well end up having two Xbox Scarlett – or whatever they choose to call their new console – variants, with one being a cheaper streaming box, and the other being a more traditional home console with more powerful hardware capabilities.
“I expect a dumbed down console, like the Steam console, where it’s download only, and there’s no hard drive or disc drive,” Pachter told GamingBolt. “So I think there will be a streaming device, like a $100 Xbox console that doesn’t run in 4K or 240 frames per second. And then I think there will be a more expensive $400 console that supports 4K, 240 FPS, virtual reality. I don’t know if there will be ‘models’. I don’t think you’re going to get completely different devices.”
On the topic of Sony, Pachter was not quite as sure about whether different variants of the same system is something they would have for the PS5 as well.
“Whether Sony does it, I think they will probably have that 4K and 240 FPS device that’ll support PSVR,” he said. “Whether they have a PlayStation Now device that is streaming only, I don’t know. Maybe there will be two each for PlayStation and Xbox, but I would be surprised if there were more than two, and I’m not sure whether Sony is committed to doing that.”
Pachter also believes that with xCloud, and the infrastructure that Microsoft is setting up, the next Xbox will automatically be in a better position to deliver a streaming-focussed console than its competitors. “Microsoft is going to have a pretty well established business for that,” he said. “I mean, Sony has PlayStation Now, but it’s only available if you own a PlayStation. And I think Microsoft, because of Play Anywhere, are further down the curve in offering games without a console. So I think it’s going to be, like I said, like a Steam box, a device that lets you stream without having to make the big investment in a console.”
Given Microsoft’s increased focus on cloud gaming, them releasing two variants of the next Xbox, one of which will be focusing on streaming, seems like a very likely possibility indeed, and all the recent reports have mentioned that they’re doing something along those lines as well. Whether or not that’s something they’ll end up doing is something we’ll have to wait a while to find out- maybe at E3 2019? In the meantime, stay tuned to GamingBolt- our full interview with Michael Pachter will be going live soon.