For all you “sweaty” gamers out there I’m sure you are fully aware that E3 is currently underway and despite the fact the show has lost some of its lustre it is still the biggest gaming event of the year and with Sony opting to avoid this year’s E3 it was a chance for Microsoft to take the initiative. Did they do it?
Well, it seems that Microsoft fully intends on taking advantage of the no-show from Sony. They announced to the audience their latest project. Project Scarlet. The brand new x-box has stolen the show at E3 and got the gaming world very excited.
Flattering to deceive
Of course, we have been here before. It wasn’t that long ago that Microsoft had us all believing that “Project Natal” was the future of gaming only for us all to discover that you had to have a living room the size of a football stadium just to play it.
At least this year they didn’t announce it was always online or that you couldn’t share games. They seem to be learning, if nothing else, how to manage their PR.
What is the new x-box like?
We haven’t been able to look at the machine itself yet. No surprises there being as it isn’t set to release for over a year. But they were keen to sell us on some of its features. As well as giving us the reassuring spiel about how many teams they have creating great games to take advantage of the new technology they actually delved into the new tech itself.
Among the features touted for the new x-box were the use of brand new Solid State Drives (or SSD’s). For the uninitiated Hard Drives used to involve a spinning disk that stored information. These were relatively reliable but limited by the fact they needed physical movement in order to work. Even the fastest drives could hamper the speed of a top system. SSD’s changed all that. The fact they had no moving parts meant they were infinitely quicker than their spinning cousins (much quieter too!)
This tech has been mainstream for a while now but Microsoft claims to have changed the game when it comes to SSD’s with their new technology. They claim that their tests have shown that the performance of their new drives is up to 40 times quicker than what they are getting from their current hardware.
What this means
Essentially this means that the loading times will virtually disappear. You know when you are playing a game and you are in an elevator listening to dialogue? That’s usually because the game is loading and trying to hide the fact it’s loading (sorry Mass Effect we are looking at you.) It is hoped with this new technology that game developers will be able to truly realise their visions rather than having them hampered by the technology they are working with.
The new console doesn’t fall short in the processing department either. The processor in the X-box one X isn’t too shabby but the new chip will offer four times the power. The offshoot of this is that the console should be able to utilise insane frame rates. Up to 120 frames per second. The new console will also take advantage of 8k resolution making it the first to do so.
Seamless or so it seems
What they appear to be hyping is a system so powerful as to support seamless games. Games where you can explore the world without lag, without loading times making for a far more dynamic experience. While for some these changes might seem superfluous, after all, loading is part of being a gamer but when coupled by the huge frame rate boost Microsoft may be on to something very special indeed. Of course, they have to deliver on it now.