Microsoft's Xbox 720 and Sony's PlayStation 4 are the two gaming consoles that have been heavily discussed on the Internet over the last few months.
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Though both the companies had denied any such developments, gamers expected announcements of the devices at the CES 2012. However, no such announcements were made and now it is expected that official announcements will be made at the E3 2012.
Both PlayStation 4 and the Xbox 720 have to be launched at the same time if they want to stand any chance to outclass each other in the console market. The prices are expected to be high for a console that will deliver next-gen graphics and gameplay. However, both the companies have to play this card wisely as the price factor will have a major determining point in the popularity of the console. The same goes for the game and points achievements and the Live arena options.
Let's have quick look at what could be expected:
Processing Power: Though it is widely believed that the current PlayStation 3 has the edge over the Xbox 360 technically with processing power, graphical prowess and high-definition media via Blu-Ray drive, the next generation Xbox is expected to sport a more powerful processor with extreme graphics capability. According to a New Xbox 720 report, the new Xbox will feature an advanced Central Processing Unit with ground-breaking graphics. The current generation console sports a triple-cored 3.2 GHz processor, coupled with an exciting Graphics Processing Unit (GPU).
However, these specs have been countered by a report from PS4Playstation4.com report, saying Sony will add more SPEs (Synergistic Processing Elements) to the current amount of 8 SPEs which run at 3.2 GHz. Out of this, one is disabled for yield purposes and one for security purposes such as encryption and decryption of the hard drive in real time.
The cell in the PS3 has an overall performance of 204 GFLOPs (floating-point operation per second). It is believed that Sony will increase the current amount of 8 SPEs to 16 SPEs to provide optimal power to heat ratio, provided it is manufactured at 32nm. This will make it capable of consuming the same amount of energy as the 90nm Cell processor found in the 60/20GB PS3s.
It is expected that Microsoft may not choose to stick with IBM to deliver the device's processing power in the future for their new console and a new Fusion chip from AMD might replace it. To meet the fan expectations, Microsoft will surely have to bring in more horsepower to last for at least 10 years. This can be done with an enhanced CPU that will compliment the GPU to produce amazing visuals. Although no game has been declared for the new Xbox, it is believed that titles like "Halo 5" and "Gears of War 4" could become one of the first few games to arrive for the console.
Disc Format: Many believe that Sony will let to go its usual Blu-Ray and replace it with HVDs (Holographic Versatile Disc) though the HVD drives are too expensive and too big.
The new drives are expected to use a full 100GB disc with an advanced Blu-Ray drive for faster reading. The current PS3 has a 2x Blu-ray Disc, where 4x is the minimum to read a 100Gb disc. However, the average read speed nowadays is 8x and it is also relatively cheap. Hence it can be expected that the PS4 will have at least an 8x drive which reads at 36MB/s, and games will load much faster.
The 720, on the other hand, has an unusual rumor making rounds saying that the new console will use Cloud for storage which have been redirected from the fact that Steam has done so well on PC over the years. Now it is being thought if the 720 games will actually feature on a disc at all, or will be simply downloaded from Cloud whenever they will be required. Microsoft could also have opted for the traditional Blu-ray system hadn't it been already owned by rivals, Sony. Other sources have claimed that the future 720 games could also come as Flash drives.
Controller: With rumors making rounds, stories about the console controllers have also gained momentum over the months. Although nothing really is known about the PS4 controller or is too absurd to write about it, the 720 controllers have seen interesting rumors and stories making headlines. It is expected that the 720 controllers will be controlled purely by Kinect style motion sensors. This may sound absurd at the moment but could make a surprise entry with the 720. However, hopefully the traditional style controllers for both Sony and Microsoft will be around for a while.
USB connections: Like the controllers for Sony above, nothing really is known about the Xbox 720 USB connections while a little has been known about the PS4 USB connections. At least 2 to 4 USB 3.0 connections are expected that will back up 100GBs of install data, save data and applications that will take only half the normal time of transfer which can currently take up to 8 hours.
(These are all speculations based on what the consoles currently have and the latest technology that is available at the moment. Any further developments will be posted.)