Alright, so I took a couple of weeks out. Sheer neglect. This week, a lot happened.
Let’s manhandle this week’s banandles.
The ‘Next Generation’ PlayStation; Definitely not the ‘PS5’
Wired’s Peter Rubin scored an exclusive interview with PlayStation’s hardware architectural guru, Mark Cerny about what he calls the ‘next generation PlayStation’ (PS5, c’mon).
While it’s no surprise that Sony’s new box will contain an AMD eight-core Ryzen with Zen 2 architecture and Navi-based GPU, there were a few additional bits to consider.
Cerny seemingly put a massive emphasis on their SSD suggesting the inclusion of the faster storage solution would be an absolute game changer based, not only on an incredible spec, but on the customised nature of the component and the bespoke software. A decent SSD certainly makes a difference in a PC build but to get the sort of returns showcased on the new PlayStation hardware (specifically cutting a PS4 Pro Spider-man fast travel segment from 15 seconds to 0.8 seconds in one demo) would take something special.
Now while it’s true SSD prices have been slowly dropping, something with the kind of bandwidth being described here is still firmly in the hundreds of pounds bracket. Unless they’re prepared to take a bigger loss than usual on the hardware, I can’t see the cost coming in at less than £500. And that’s a conservative estimate in my view.
Let’s also bear in mind that we don’t know anything concrete about Navi at this stage and there’s been no indication on CPU clock speed. So, while it’s fun to speculate, speculate is all we can do.
There is some more, expected, good news in that backwards compatibility has been confirmed for the system. Hopefully this will allow the migration of your entire PS4 catalogue but there’s still the question of whether or not a hardware solution is enough to lessen the work for emulating such a vast and diverse catalogue of games. Microsoft have a huge team dedicated to backwards compatibility for Xbox games and, while it was stated Sony are partly basing the PS5 architecture on PS4’s, there’s a generational leap from the Jaguar CPU to consider.
The other eyebrow-raising reveal was that the console will support 8K. In isolation that appears like a very nonsensical marketing statement to throw in. There is very little by way of content that will support 8K any time soon, not to mention a lack of displays, especially in the consumer space. Add to that the questionable gains of upscaling to the resolution (because no console next generation will be able to natively render at 8K) and the fact that 4K is only now becoming the standard in homes and it all sounds a bit wasted. However, let’s not forget, by saying 8K is possible, Cerny is effectively saying HDMI 2.1 will be the standard display output for PS5, meaning 120Hz refresh rates at 4K should be viable… your TV doesn’t support it though, does it?
Interestingly, Digital Foundry took an investigative gaze over a benchmark of a recent AMD Gonzalo build which bears the hallmark of a pre-production PlayStation build. Even if you’re sceptical, it’s definitely worth a watch.
Sony know that Microsoft intend to bring their A game to E3. Perhaps, in Sony’s absence, they felt they had to drop some level of detail to make sure any hype is not trodden on by the new Xbox reveal. Either way, this competition is great for gamers. [via Wired]
Games Confirmed for Castlevania Anniversary Collection
Alongside the already released Arcade Classics Anniversary and the forthcoming Contra Anniversary Collection, Konami will soon release the Castlevania Anniversary Collection as part of their 50th anniversary.
Earlier this week they confirmed the full Castlevania line-up:
Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest (NES)
Castlevania the Adventure (Game Boy)
Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse (NES)
Kid Dracula (NES)
Castlevania II Belmont’s Revenge (Game Boy)
Super Castlevania IV (SNES)
Castlevania Bloodlines AKA New Generation / Vampire Killer (Mega Drive)
There are quite a few on this list I’ve never played so, aside from the (excellent) known quantities, this collection holds a lot of interest to me personally, particularly where the series’ handheld history is concerned.
I hate to be that guy but where’s Rondo and where’s Symphony of the Night? Either way; this is still a solid list.
Castlevania Anniversary Collection launches 16 May 2019 on PS4, Switch, Xbox One and PC. [via PlayStation Blog]
Capcom Home Arcade… And Some Emulator Questions
Capcom’s joining the mini fight with this glorious piece of kit. A two-player arcade stick that plug straight into your TV.
Releasing 25 October 2019 with the following 16 arcade games:
1944: The Loop Master
Alien vs Predator
Capcom Sports Club
Cyberbots: Fullmetal Madness
Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors
Ghouls ‘n Ghosts
Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting
Mega Man: The Power Battle
Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo
The price? An eye-watering £199.99. The hardware looks solid, there’s no doubt this is a premium piece of gear but it’s a difficult sell to anyone beyond the enthusiasts with just 16 games.
Interestingly, the hardware is being produced by Koch Media, rather than Capcom. The emulation comes from FB Alpha, but there’s been some serious questions over the validity of the licencing agreement. FB Alpha is open-source and the licence agreement appears to forbid the use of the engine for commercial profit. Kotaku’s Ethan Gach notes ‘…FB Alpha is based in part on other, older open-source projects, including Final Burn and MAME’ meaning there may be further complications.
10 More Games Revealed for the SEGA Mega Drive Mini
The SEGA Mega Drive Mini, with emulation from the awesome team at M2, releases 19.09.19 at the pretty reasonable cost of £69.99. Why do I think it’s reasonable? Check out the updated line-up:
Ecco The Dolphin
Castlevania The New Generation (Bloodlines)
Space Harrier II
Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine
ToeJam & Earl
Sonic The Hedgehog
Castle of Illusion
World of Illusion
Thunder Force 3
Super Fantasy Zone
Streets of Rage II
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Contra: Hard Corps
Just give me Quack Shot, SEGA. Do that, and I’m yours. [via Official Mega Drive Mini Site]
Xbox One S All-Digital Edition has a Price… and it’s Kinda Dumb
The widely reported new discless Xbox One S model, the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition has been formally revealed.
So, what’s the deal? Well you get three inexpensive games in Minecraft, Sea of Thieves and Forza Horizon 3 (not 4), all of which are notably available on Game Pass. Sound OK?
What about the form factor and HDD? Well, it’s the same. No really.
Alright well the secret sauce is the price, right? Erm, not exactly. The Xbox One S All-Digital Edition releases on 07/05/19 at £199.99. That’s right, £199.99.
Here’s a tip for prospective buyers; buy the One S for £184 here (not sponsored, before you ask), buy into Game Pass for £7.99/month and, guess what? You can still by discs if you really want to. [via Xbox]
Ware Wa Nanji, Nanji Wa Ware
Yeah, Joker! And there was some Stage Builder or something, I believe.
Credit to KY Gaming.
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