We were all hoping for some definitive answers about the PlayStation Neo and Xbox One Scorpio at E3 this year;, instead we only really got the scoop on the Xbox One S. At least some information was made available about the Xbox One Scorpio and PlayStation Neo, but just like most of the PlayStation E3 press conference announcements, they’re still quite a way down the road. The somewhat strange part of it all is that both Sony and Microsoft insist that the upcoming machines aren’t a new console generation. If that’s the case, what are they?

There’s been some recent confusion and controversy about what exactly the benefit is to us gamers with these new consoles.  A couple of months ago, an anonymous source leaked that the reason why Sony was releasing the Playstation 4 Neo, was because the new VR system wasn’t working as well as they hoped it would. However, there have been others, since then that have said that isn’t the case. Sony is also requiring that all games for the Neo must include a regular PS4 version as well, with no Neo exclusives.

As for Microsoft, they’ve been a little less clear about what exactly the benefit of the Xbox S, and Scorpio will be. What is clear is that the Xbox S will support 4K output, and will actually upscale all Xbox One games to the higher video resolution. It will also feature HDR and stream video content in 4k as well (if your internet connection will allow it.) There are also a handful of other new features included in the new slim Xbox One, but faster framerates is not one of them. The Xbox One Scorpio, as powerful as it is expected to be, also will not improve the framerates of Xbox One games.

The reason behind this is actually pretty simple: Framerates are almost always coded into a console game. During development, along with the resolution, it is one of the primary settings established in a console game’s framework to insure an acceptable level of presentation. If a game is made to run at 30fps, that is the only framerate that program will run at. Later on, if the developers decide they want the game to run at 60fps, there are any number of things that may then need to be recoded within the program. While it’s not a perfect analogy, think of it as playing at 33 1/3 LP at the 45 speed on record player, which doesn’t produce the same results as playing a record actually mastered as a 45.

Xbox One SIn PC gaming, high-end rig owners are able to squeeze higher framerates out of some games because they are coded that way, with variable framerates. The problem with this is that it creates imbalance in multi-player games. I expect Microsoft and Sony will likely both setup some sort of server segregation to maintain a semblance of fairness and I doubt the console makers are interested in setting up a system where you buy into having an advantage in Battlefield or Call of Duty. Granted, those that have the new systems will probably have a better overall gaming experience though.

So, what does a more powerful machine mean for existing Xbox One games? The answer is not a whole lot. If you have a 4k television, your games will probably look a little better, and those rare parts of games where the framerates drop to single digits, will probably be improved. Other than that, you shouldn’t expect big changes, particularly from the Xbox One S. However, once the PlayStation 4 Neo and Xbox One Scorpio are released, the games actually developed for those systems will have significantly more resources to utilize.

Are you looking forward to the new systems? What do you think? Let us know in the comments below, and make sure to follow us on Twitter (@Official_OnlySP) and Facebook where you can also sound off your opinions.

The opinions in this editorial are the author’s and do not represent OnlySP as an organization.

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Lance Roth
Writer, musician, and indie game developer in the Land of Enchantment.

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