Last year, Phil Spencer told the crowd at E3 that Microsoft was focusing on building its next generation of consoles, in the plural. Spencer told Microsoft that Microsoft is "deeply involved in the architecture of upcoming Xbox consoles", in the plural. Now the company has changed its plans – but she does not necessarily want to admit it publicly.
In a recent interview with Business Insider, Spencer Hedged said his statements were referring to the diskless Xbox One S and the now somewhat detailed enhancements for Xbox Next, still unbranded. "Last year, we talked about consoles, we have already shipped consoles and detailed another console, I think it's plural," Spencer said. But according to other sources in society, it is only a small attempt to avoid recognizing that the plans of society have changed.
Initially, Microsoft was going to build two devices – a high-end product (Anaconda) and a low-end model (Lockhart). The link between these names and the codename "Project Scarlett" that had also filtered was never entirely clear, although Scarlett referred to the entire Xbox Next platform (software and hardware) , while Anaconda was the code name for console hardware only. Regardless of the evolution of code names, it is now planned to market the unique high-end console under the Scarlett project code name.
Apparently, Microsoft has changed its plans for several reasons. First of all, the company had problems with the developers, who focused on creating an experience that worked well on the low-end Lockhart device before stepping it up for Anaconda. This may introduce quality differences that might not please Microsoft in the inevitable comparisons between Xbox and PS5. This point was also heard by Digital Foundry at E3, which gives it some credibility.
The other offset argument concerns xCloud and the availability of streaming. Lockhart's intention was to open new markets to the Xbox players who might be put off by the higher price ordered by Anaconda. But if this space can be reached by xCloud and the game in streaming, then Lockhart has no interest. Consumer buying habits and declining sales of physical game media would have been closely examined here, as the two markets do not necessarily overlap. In fact, one might think that low-end players who would otherwise be attracted to Lockhart would initially be ill-suited to xCloud because they are less likely to live in areas with high Internet speeds and low connections. latency required. . This is true or not, it was obviously a problem important enough to prevent the cancellation of the lower console.
One of the interesting questions about the current generation that I would like Sony and Microsoft to answer (which will probably not be the case) is the initial sales quality of the Xbox One X and the Sony PS4 Pro. Sony only publishes the sales figures of its consoles, while all sales estimates of Xbox One are well estimates: Microsoft has stopped publishing these figures as soon as it became clear that its console was going to hold about the same. half of Sony's market share. Today, it is estimated that the X4 has been sold more than 2: 1 by the PS4.
The irony here is of course that in adopting the concept of mid-generation upgrades, console manufacturers have weakened the idea of a "generation". The computer gaming industry has never really adopted this framing, except by proxy. The reason is simple: we do not need it. If you have an Ivy Bridge processor and an Nvidia RTX card, you have two completely different "generations" of hardware – and it turns out they get along very well.
The only reason that Microsoft is phasing out the current generation of Xbox systems instead of keeping them on the market to give them an entry-level experience with next-generation games, is ultimately to simplify things for developers and consumers who are not. You are not used to this kind of problem in games. As for knowing it's wise to favor a single console model rather than two, we need to know the expected price. Microsoft and Sony do not want to talk about it yet.
The end of a console cycle can be a difficult time for video game retailers, as computer hardware sales decline in anticipation of new launches. As a factor in the decline in retail sales and physical games sales, this means that GameStop is currently going through an extremely difficult time.
Sales decreased overall by 13.3% (11.5% when currency fluctuations are taken into account). The average decrease in comparable stores in the United States was 10.3%. The decrease is attributable to the sharp decline in console hardware sales, as sales in this sector fell by 35%, despite strong sales growth from the Nintendo switch. In comparison, software sales decreased by only 4.3%, according to GameStop, attributable to "lower launches of new titles in the quarter compared to the previous year". Although the company did not lose money in the first quarter of 2019, its net profit dropped to just $ 6.8. M, down from $ 28.2 million in the first quarter of 2018.
One of the main potential weaknesses for console sales in 2019 is the potential for upwardly transparent compatibility with the next generation of consoles. We do not know all the details about how Sony and MS are going to handle this problem, but assuming that both companies are taking the same approach and making their current generation libraries fully compatible with previous releases, new software sales do not necessarily fall, especially where appropriate. an option for the PS4 era titles to correct for higher performance on PS5 without having to release a brand new version of the game (of course, we will probably see at least a few PS3 and PS4 – remakes also come back on PS5).
But the damage to GameStop sales was not limited to new hardware. Sales of used vehicles have also decreased by 20%. GameStop is essentially the owner of the used games market, which makes it a huge source of revenue.
According to the president of the company, George Sherman, GameStop is restarting. At the company's last conference call, Sherman called the company is relaunching "a comprehensive and comprehensive review of all aspects of our business and how we can transform it – this is going to be a critical part of our transformation – it's not just a cost-cutting initiative. However, there will be an element of this in the overall process.I am expecting this process to lead to margin improvement, including improved supply, prices and promotions. as well as an optimization of our scope. "
As part of this effort, Sherman expects GameStop stores to laser focus on the companies that make the most money, cut areas that do not, and find new contiguity and markets. which extend if they are perfectly suited to its brand. and business. ThinkGeek, for example, will be integrated with the GameStop shopping experience. The company has eliminated its quarterly dividend, which will save it $ 157 million a year.
GameStop talks about braving the game, but the current move to digital distribution may kill the company. By all accounts, console gamers are clearly oriented towards digital distribution channels, just like PC gamers. The fact that the company's shares are now trading at levels not seen since the early 2000s attests to the poor performance of the company in recent times.
It is clear that investors are not sure that GameStop can really contribute to a market strategy that does not rely on physical game sales as the main source of revenue. If players continue to refrain from buying physical games, sales of used vehicles will also drop naturally. At present, it is not clear that GameStop can create enough secondary market for accessories and sales of digital games to replace other markets' income.
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The Nintendo switch is a real success for the company and its sales figures continue to impress two years after its launch. Nintendo announced sales of 34.74 million switches for the year ended March 31, of which 16.95 million sold in the last 12 months. This represents a 12% increase over the switch's launch year and makes the platform Nintendo's best-selling platform since Wii – that is to say, probably the second best-selling Nintendo platform of all time.
With this latest report, the switch has now officially sold the Nintendo 64, to 32.93 million units. The next target is the SNES, at 49.1 million systems, that the switch should exceed easily this year. Nintendo said it plans to sell 18 million switches during its fiscal year 2020 (fiscal year 2019), which would place it on Nintendo's classic 16-bit platform.
In addition, the 3DS moved 2.55 million units for the year, while the NES and SNES Classic editions sold 5.95 million units. In other words, Nintendo's annual sales figures for 3DS, NES and SNES represent a sizeable percentage of Microsoft's annual sales on Xbox One, which … ow. The continued sales of the Xbox One Nintendo will probably not exceed this platform before the Xbox Next is probably introduced in 2020, but it should get closer.
Total software sales were also excellent. So far, 23 Switch games have surpassed the mark of a million copies sold, with Super Smash Ultimate Bros and Pokemon: Accumulate 13.81M and 10.63M units, respectively. Nintendo 's overall operating profit for the year was $ 2.2 billion, up from $ 1.6 billion last year.
Nintendo CEO Shuntaro Furukawa dismissed rumors that Nintendo would introduce a new Switch model to E3 this year. "As a general rule, we are still working on new equipment and we will announce it as soon as we can sell it," Shuntaro Furukawa, Nintendo's CEO, told reporters in Osaka. "But we do not intend to announce this at this year's E3 in June."
A previous Bloomberg report had announced that Nintendo could launch a new low-cost Switch model as early as June. The same report indicated that the switch would also receive a "modest upgrade", but a more powerful version was not in progress.
A less expensive version of the switch could conquer the 3DS market when this console inevitably flips, while a more powerful or more durable variant could take advantage of the significant improvements in mobile device performance since 2015, the Tegra X1 processor. nm of the switch debuted. Nintendo may not think that higher product development costs are justified given the lower price of the switch compared to its competitors on the consoles, and the company has never adhered to the trend of Sony and Microsoft to offer periodic console upgrades. The significant improvement in the power and performance of the mobile has been speculated – including ours – that the company could break with its previous approach this time around.
One of the possibilities is that Nintendo synchronizes its own performance improvement ads with the unveiling of new consoles from Sony and Microsoft. This would be the opposite of the strategy used by the Wii U, launched in 2012, a year before the PS4 and Xbox One.
There is no chance that a 7nm switch will match the performance of the PS5 or Xbox Next, but performance and processing leaps from 20nm to 7nm would give Nintendo a considerable set of upgrades to discuss. in its own right, with potential improvements in resolution and detail. the level increases. This could be considered a better strategy to maintain consumer interest during the launch season of its rivals. However, it is pure speculation on our part: Nintendo did not leave the impression of confronting Sony or Microsoft in 2020 with its own refreshing cycle.
Last week, PlayStation guru Mark Cerny explained in detail what to expect for the next generation Sony console. The statistics were appealing: an eight-core processor, a standard SSD storage and a 7nm SoC suggest that Sony will aggressively position itself to challenge Microsoft for performance leadership (the Sony PlayStation 4 holds the crown of performance against the Xbox One in the vast majority of games until the launch of the Xbox One X).
In a way, this disclosure is a little twisted. Wired UK ran a piece with multiple confusing statements in it. To quote:
According to what Cerny has detailed, it will take a 7-core 7-core Ryzen processor, supporting 8K-compatible ray tracing and running on the AMD Navi 20 graphics processor. This suggests that Sony is using the AMD processor. Ryzen 3600G, presented at CES 2019. According to Smithers, this processor should cost between $ 180 and $ 220 the unit, the ideal amount for a console at $ 399.
Literally, everything in this paragraph is somewhere between confused and fake. Without disrespecting Wired – it's a good publication and everyone makes mistakes – but that's not true.
It is strange to call the processors "ray tracing support" or "8K compatibility," but you can read both statements as a vague reference to computing power. This explains the "confused" part of the paragraph. With regard to the fake:
The interpretation of Cerny's comments by Wired appears to be a mix of incorrect rumors and a misunderstanding of how to shore up margins and pricing.
The rumor of a Ryzen 5 3600G started here. That's wrong – as we discussed two separate opportunities, this table does not represent the products that AMD will market. But that's as well wrong to pretend that this type of chip would end up in the PS5.
AMD desktop APUs use dual-channel DDR4 memory. While we once hoped for a GDDR5 or HBM powered APU, no such project is under development – the costs for HBM have never been reduced enough for the technology to be Low cost chips and the only integrated solution offering HBM is the Intel Hades Canyon, powered by Lake Kaby, which sells for much higher prices than any of the AMD APUs.
The APUs used in PS4 / Xbox One families rely on AMD's IP technology, but they do not use the same hardware configuration as any of the products sold by AMD in the PC market. It's by design. Neither Sony nor Microsoft are interested in competing with their own hardware vendor, and console manufacturers typically pay for initial SoC development costs. The price to pay for someone else to build a product accepts certain restrictions as to how you sell it.
All PS5 / Xbox Next APUs will use an advanced memory type – GDDR5, GDDR5X, GDDR6 and HBM2 are all potential candidates, with HBM2 or GDDR6 being the favorites. Dual channel DDR4 is not.
It is highly unlikely that Sony will pay $ 199 for the APU at the console at $ 400. These two figures are important.
The nomenclature on the PS4 at launch revealed that the console and 8 GB of DRAM together They were $ 188 on the $ 400 price. The APU was $ 100, the DRAM $ 88. It is possible that these two components represent a larger fraction of the total price of the PS5, but it is impossible for Sony to dedicate $ 200 of its $ 400 supposed to the APU. He does not leave enough money for everything else.
The biggest cost difference between the PS3 and the PS4 was by far the 10 times higher cost of RAM, not the slightly higher price of the processor and graphics processor. It is very unlikely that Sony will sell its consoles at a loss (this policy was catastrophic for the income of the PS3 era) and placing a large SSD drive in the PS5 will bring him some money back. If anything, squeezing the PS5 in the pricing of the PS4 seems a little tight. If you look at the prices of other components between the PS3 and PS4, most of them have not decreased or decreased only (the optical drive is the only exception to this rule).
The Wired article concludes that Sony will probably focus on the "8K capacity" of the PS5, which, I'm sorry, will not be. Yes, Japan intends to broadcast the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at 8K. The first 4K UHD broadcast took place in 2008. Yet, despite this fact, television and streaming are still anchored in 720p / 1080p. The first 4K TV went on sale in 2013; 4K TVs are expected to exceed only 50% of total television shipments this year, in 2019. 8K is expected to hold a 0.2% market share this year.
Nobody is targeting the PlayStation 5 at 8K, because there are no 8K TVs on the market, there will be very few 8K TVs on the market by 2020 and there is no point in trying to launch a 8K streaming service that would absorb titanic amounts of network bandwidth. The video standard intended to be used for the 8K format, called multi-purpose video coding, will not be completed until 2020 at the earliest, which means that hardware support will not be ready until 2021 or 2022. It is also really important because each generation of video codecs has reduced bandwidth requirements from 40 to 50%, which allows for easier resolution. H.265 / HEVC is about 50% more efficient than H.264; VCC targets 1.5 times more compression with the same level of quality as HEVC. Like HEVC, it will take more power to decode. Like HEVC, it will take several years before the hardware supports it. There is no reason to think that 8K is on a sort of accelerated schedule for deployment compared to 4K.
The PS5 is not an 8K console. It could be updated one day to support 8K video decoding in the software if Sony wants to solve the problem. It may be technically possible to play 8K games on the PS5, just as it is technically possible to play them on a PC. play, say, at Quake 3 with an effective 8K today, with a final output reduced to 1080p or 4K to adapt to the limitations of your monitor. But we will not see the AAA games targeting this resolution on the PS5 standard, and we will not see "Ryzen 3600G" on the PS5. We will not see any 8K gaming service, at least in a year or two. Even if we had done it, without VVC, most Americans would not have the bandwidth needed to broadcast the content. Streaming services are still struggling to provide latency and acceptable performance with a 1080p stream. 8K is 16x more pixels. It can happen, but it will not happen soon.
Since Nintendo built the switch, we wonder when the company would upgrade the thing. From a technical point of view, the switch is a little underpowered. It still uses a 20nm manufacturing technology and older ARM processors, known for their high power, compared to more advanced products launched later. A new report now suggests that the company is working on new devices – but plans to lower the price before launching a new version.
That's the word of Nikkei, which indicates that a smaller version of the switch based on the portable game (but retaining the ability to hang up on TV) is underway. It could make sense if Nintendo's goal is to upgrade to 3DS.
Since the Game Boy Nintendo, it is assumed by default that the mobile console and the home console must be controlled by two different machines. For the most part in the history of computing, there was little choice – carrying a PS3 in a large lithium-ion backpack was not really an option.
Nintendo has always played well in mobile gaming by creating long-lived platforms that have been created with their own games and abilities. Even the 3DS, which stumbled through the door, recovered and went to higher salts. The lowest prices on these systems also made them popular with anyone who wanted them, but could not afford the generally higher price of a home console or necessary hardware.
With the reduction in 3DS sales, Nintendo could seek to replace the platform's revenue stream and continue to play on a reduced budget. This could also be aimed at creating a market for the switch that would be more explicitly child-friendly than the current version of the device.
We expected Nintendo to target a significantly lower price for the new handheld to create meaningful market segmentation between them. A unit of $ 150 to $ 200 would also be aligned with the 3DS successor, unlike the $ 300 switch.
As for the rumors of an improved switch, the Nikkei report refutes the idea that such a product could be marketed by the end of the year. USGamer quotes Nikkei claiming:
Beyond the smaller, budget-based model, the development of the next-generation reworked model was intended to replace the currently available model. Nintendo faces different types of devices, including usability, improved image rendering, and changes to the operating system. A source of development says, however, that at this stage it is not yet clear who in society will eventually take the lead in the conceptual development of the new console.
This gives the impression that the device is still in the early stages of design. We have already written about the benefits that Nintendo could offer with a new product based on 14nm or 7nm rather than the relatively old 20nm technology used in the current switch. That said, we do not know which product Nvidia Nintendo would really like to use.
Unlike Tegra X1, which included a blend of Cortex-A57 and Cortex-A53 cores, the Tegra X2 features two Denver processor cores and four A57 cores. Nvidia's Xavier platform is built entirely around Nvidia's custom processor cores and is based on Volta. It is unlikely that Nintendo will exploit a portion explicitly intended for automotive markets and deep learning for a portable console.
It is still possible that Nintendo will pay Nvidia to reduce Tegra X1 to 12nm or 7nm to take advantage of power and performance improvements. Alternatively, the company can invest in its own custom SoC for a next-generation switch. This would be a significant change for Nintendo, which has only marginally introduced updates to its consoles over time, but the market is also more accustomed to this type of mid-level upgrades. life than it was before. The switch having now sold more than 32 million units, Nintendo might think that the platform is robust enough to invest at this level.
The details of the fifth installment of the console were revealed by its designer, Mark Cerny. The PlayStation 5 currently has no official release date. According to rumors, Sony will start in 2020. Read more …