E3 was not expected to showcase any new VR hardware. Oculus Rift and HTC Vive consumer versions have been around for a few months now, albeit in limited supply. Oculus will release their Touch controllers in the second half of 2016 and did not announce any new date guidance. Sony, on the other hand, did confirm the release date of their PlayStation VR for October 13.
So hardware wise, nothing new from the big players, perhaps CES in January 2017 will bring something new? Fingers crossed.
But Wait, There’s More – New VR Hardware
No new VR headset hardware. However, new hardware was announced that will drive these spanking new headsets. Rumors had been around for weeks leading up to E3 that both Sony and Microsoft would release more powerful updates to their consoles. Microsoft announced their Xbox One S, a smaller version of the existing Xbox with more storage (1TB or 2TB) and ability to play 4K video. Coming in 2017 though is a much more exciting Xbox, codename Project Scorpio.
Microsoft Announces New Xbox - Project Scorpio
Coming sometime during Holiday Season 2017 is a more powerful Xbox, codenamed Project Scorpio. Scorpio will bring the ability to play 4K games on Xbox. How will it achieve this? Here is what we know so far on the hardware side.
Project Scorpio Technical Specifications
Project Scorpio will have an 8-core CPU from an unknown manufacturer with graphics capable of 6 TFLOPs along with 320GB/s of memory bandwidth.
As a basis of comparison. The recently released Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 has 6.5 TFLOPs of graphics performance. Normally when new consoles are released, they are typically equivalent to a mid-range PC, which given the 2017 release target this makes sense.
Project Scorpio will clearly be able to play VR. What headset will it be driving? My guess would be the Oculus Rift, but that is just a guess at this point.
Sony Announces new PlayStation 4.5
Alongside the rumors from Microsoft, Sony had plenty of their own and confirmed the rumors with the announcement of their more powerful console named PlayStation 4.5. PlayStation 4.5 will be capable of 4K gaming and will certainly give PlayStation VR games more headroom.
PlayStation 4.5 Technical Specifications
The PlayStation 4.5 (codenamed Neo) will feature a higher clocked version of the PS4 CPU to 2.1 GHz from 1.6 GHz. Graphics hardware from AMD PS4 go from 18 compute units running at 800MHz to an expected 36 compute units running at 911MHz. These numbers equate to double the potential processing units than the PS4. Memory will be 8GB of GDDR5 memory but up from 176GB/s to 218GB/s.