Clickbait title, sure, but while reading the news this morning about last night's Sony Meeting and the Playstation 4 Pro reveal, it suddenly hit me: a new console generation is starting in 2017, and Sony is the one out of it!
With the Nintendo NX coming out in March 2017 and Microsoft's Scorpio following suit with a much more distinctive machine in late 2017, the table is set for a new console generation to start next year.
Expectations vs Reality
Sure, Microsoft is saying the Scorpio will not really start a new cycle and that all games will run on both the Xbox One and Scorpio...but the wording hasn't been very clear about the subject lately, from Microsoft representatives themselves. I think it's safe to expect Scorpio exclusives at launch with the console, and increasingly more as time goes by after release. The machine is in fact much more powerful than the Xbox One, and (from what we know so far) that gap is much wider than the one between Sony's PS4 and PS4 Pro.
While people were expecting the PS4 Pro (previously known as PS4 NEO) to be planned and produced in the same mindset as the Scorpio, it actually turned out to be much more similar to the concept of the recently released Xbox One S instead. And now that we know Sony's plans with the Pro and the PS4 Slim, it becomes clear that the Xbox One S was actually a great move from Microsoft, releasing both a slimmer console with some updated specs to boot, that put it pretty much at the same level as the PS4 Pro, from a consumer and market general standpoint. In the midst of all this, a question that pops up is, "Why even bother with the PS4 Slim?" - but I won't get it to that here.
The New Cycle
So, unless Sony announces yet another hardware upgrade for 2017, we are looking at two new consoles for next year: the Nintendo NX, and Microsoft's Project Scorpio. This creates a very peculiar dynamic in the gaming industry - almost unprecedented even - where the 3 main console manufacturers will have 3 very distinct machines in the market, spec wise. Assuming the NX will be less powerful than the current Xbox One/PS4 and the Scorpio will be considerably more powerful than the PS4/PS4 Pro, it will come down to the "willingness" of third party developers about which machine(s) to develop their titles for. Ports that run across all 3 consoles will be an issue, and what will happen is either the PS4 gets left behind (very unlikely, considering the 40+ million units install base) and is forced to come up with a new machine on pair or superior to the Scorpio, or Sony will actually gain from the situation, with third parties focusing on its platform(s) and leaving Nintendo and Microsoft struggling to buy out exclusives to its consoles, with both companies creating their own separate niche segment, similarly to what happened during the 128bit cycle with the PS2, Gamecube and Xbox.
Whatever happens, the gaming industry keeps on going, as unpredictably as ever, and living a potentially paradigm-shit kind of moment.