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Microsoft’s Console Battle with Sony Escalates

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Microsoft (MSFT) opened up about its new gaming console, the Xbox Series X, at The Game Awards 2019, reports CNBC. The console may pose serious competition for Sony’s PS5 (PlayStation 5), set to be launched in 2020.

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More about Microsoft’s Xbox Series X

Microsoft disclosed the Xbox Series X would be available in the 2020 holiday season. According to Microsoft’s blog post, “Xbox Series X will be our fastest, most powerful console ever and set a new bar for performance, speed and compatibility, allowing you to bring your gaming legacy, thousands of games from three generations and more forward with you.”

The Xbox Series X’s initial name was “Project Scarlett.” In terms of features, Microsoft is certain that the new gaming console will have four times the processing power than its predecessor, the Xbox One X. Furthermore, the Xbox Series X will have more memory and resolution power, and superior graphics. Newsweek reports the Xbox One X has 12GB (gigabytes) of GDDR5 RAM (graphics double data rate random access memory), while the new gaming device will have 13GB for games and 3GB for its operating system. Moreover, the Xbox Series X’s GPU (graphics processing unit) power will be twice that of the Xbox One X, which operates at a frequency of 1172 MHz (megahertz), Microsoft Xbox boss Phil Spencer told GameSpot.

The console will also come with a new Xbox wireless controller that is accessible through Bluetooth. This controller, priced at $179.99, will have a rechargeable battery that can last up to 40 hours, according to Microsoft’s blog.

The biggest revelation was the presence of ray tracing in the Xbox Series X. This feature will put the console neck-to-neck with the Sony PS5, which will also offer ray tracing. The rendering technology makes lighting effects such as reflections more realistic.

Microsoft console presents competition for Sony

In early October, Sony unveiled the details of its PS5, which is slated to hit markets during the 2020 holidays, about six years after the PS4 launch. The new gaming console will have a new controller. To improvise gaming environments for its players, Sony introduced two innovations.

According to Sony’s blog post, CEO Jim Ryan said, “First, we’re adopting haptic feedback to replace the ‘rumble’ technology found in controllers since the 5th generation of consoles.” He added, “The second innovation is something we call adaptive triggers, which have been incorporated into the trigger buttons (L2/R2).” These two technologies will make the games more immersive, as gamers will be able to sense movements in the game.

To enhance the gaming experience further, the PS5 will offer ray tracing. The console will support PS4 games as well as new titles.

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Will pricing be the determining factor?

Both Microsoft and Sony have yet to disclose the price of their consoles. The launch price of the Xbox One X was $499, and the Xbox Series X should cost around the same. As for the PS5, rumors suggest it will cost $499. That’s more than the PS4 and PS4 Pro, which launched at $399. The launches of Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and Sony’s PS5 consoles are set for the same time. Therefore, we can expect the giants to lock horns next year.

Growing console market

Newzoo estimates global consumer demand for gaming will grow 9% compounded annually from 2018 to 2022 to reach $196 billion. It expects the console segment, which comprises about 31% of the gaming industry, to grow faster, by 9.7% compounded annually. Newzoo also predicts the US gaming market to reach $36.9 billion, outgrowing China’s $36.5 billion market. Chinese spending is expected to fall due to a licensing freeze that has also impacted the Japanese and South Korean markets. Microsoft and Sony could tap the growing console market with their upcoming consoles in 2020.

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