2020 is going to be an exciting year for gaming, as in the point of transcendence into the next-generation big. With both Microsoft and Sony gearing up for a holiday launch next year, competition is going to be stiff.
Although hardware details still remain scarce a new leak sheds some light on what we can expect next year.
Next Generation Xbox
Xbox One had a rocky start, but Microsoft probably won’t drop the ball with their next console launch. According to a recent report from WindowCentral, the new Xbox family will debut with two consoles codenamed “Lockhart” and “Anaconda”. This move will ensure the launch craters to a bigger player base. We have seen mid-gen console refreshes before but two types of units on launch are a first.
Although this is not surprising, both Sony and Microsoft have had great success with their more premium mid-gen offerings (the PS4 Pro and the Xbox One X).
This indicates there is a big section that just wants to play games on the cheapest entry point available, but there are also those who want a more premium experience. This wasn’t really a problem when 1080p displays were standard and companies could continue to squeeze out performance from existing hardware.
With 4K displays it’s different as the entry point is now cheaper than ever and there is now a sizeable player base in this bracket.
Unfortunately, hardware hasn’t scaled at that rate and the entry point to 4K is still taxing and expensive (Silicon Wise), to wit the need of two entry points with two different consoles.
Let’s talk about the new consoles now.
The Powerful Xbox (Anaconda)
The Xbox One X was codenamed Scorpio and we see a similar naming scheme here, hinting this SKU to be the direct successor.
Native 4K was impossible for the original Xbox One and even the Xbox One X struggled with frames in many AAA titles. With “Anaconda” we will finally see higher refresh rates in 1080p along with a respectable 4K experience, this unit will reportedly pack 12 teraflops of compute, a big jump over the Xbox One X’s 6 teraflops and approximately 3 times as much as the PS4 Pro. To put this number further into perspective, the RTX 2080 pushes around 11.3 teraflops.
Previous leaks did indicate a Octa-core chip (Zen 2) on the CPU front, the new report from Windows central also gives us a clock speed number, around 3.5GHz. With recent architectural improvements we expect this to be on par with a upper-mid end desktop CPU (Think Ryzen 2700x).
This Xbox version will also have 16GBs of RAM, with around 3GBs allocated exclusively for the OS.
The Cheaper Alternative (Lockhart)
This will be the Xbox for the masses, offering players a vastly cheaper entry point. Although even this will be a vastly improved experience over previous generation, with Microsoft reportedly targeting 4 teraflops of compute performance. Performance wise, this puts it beside the PS4 Pro, meaning 4K will be possible but it might not be native.
Pricing is obviously a big factor with any launch and I expect this model to be very competitive on that front.
Other Next-Gen Features
Ray-traced games will reportedly debut on the new consoles, Microsoft introduced DirectX Raytracing on the Windows 12 API recently and they have been working on it for a while now (Yippee! for finally moving beyond traditional rasterization).
Another big obvious addition will be NVMe SSDs, this is sorely missed on current gen consoles but flash storage has only come down in price enough recently to make it a viable replacement for traditional HDDs. This will result in vastly improved game load times and a responsive UI among other things. This was confirmed a while back and we covered it here.