There has been a lot of speculation lately about the future of the three big console manufacturers and the hardware refreshes they have planned. Sony is expected to launch a PlayStation 4K (NEO), Nintendo is preparing the NX reveal, and Microsoft is certain to react to both those machines with its own refresh of the Xbox One, especially now the Xbox 360 has ceased production freeing up capacity.
Those are all just rumors, though, but they are now rumors AMD has added a lot of new fuel to. That’s because the chip company had its Q1 2016 earnings call this week, and one of the things they were keen to mention was “three semi-custom system-on-chip (SOC) wins.”
AMD SOCs have been making their way into games consoles for a while, with both the PS4 and Xbox One containing AMD hardware. So three new SOCs most likely means a PS4 refresh, an Xbox One refresh, and what else? The smart money would be the third SOC making its way into the base unit of the Nintendo NX.
What’s even more interesting is the fact one of the new SOCs is expected to start generating revenue for AMD in the second half of 2016. That is most likely going to be the PlayStation 4K refresh. The other two custom chips will be launched next year, meaning Microsoft isn’t refreshing the Xbox One until after the holidays and the NX isn’t launching until 2017, meaning March most likely.
This is great news for AMD, which believes the new chips will account for a 15% increase in revenue and a total of $1.5 billion in new revenue. It’s sure to create a headache for the console manufacturers, though, and especially Microsoft if it really does intend to wait until next year to launch an Xbox One Slim. Microsoft’s console more than any other needs something for gamers to get excited about ASAP.
Another interesting thing to note is there are only 3 SOCs, not 4. That means if one of them is going inside the Nintendo NX, the controller isn’t x86-based. The rumors we’ve heard suggest the NX controller can be used as a device on its own, so it could be Nintendo is sticking with ARM for the controller, but switching over to x86 for the console. Such a decision makes a lot of sense if Nintendo wants the controller to be backwards compatible with 3DS and DS games.
If everything lines up as outlined above, this time next year we could be looking at a very different line-up of console hardware on sale.