It’s still almost impossible to find a PS5 or Xbox Series X, but within the next few years, consumers might also find themselves scrambling for a PS5 Pro or Xbox Series X refresh. (Maybe this time, they’d call it the Xbox Series X One, just to keep things as confusing as possible.)
It’s not uncommon to hear rumors about console refreshes from random speculators online, but it’s much rarer to hear them from a reliable source — TCL, in this case. The popular TV manufacturer recently speculated about a console “Generation 9.5,” which would include more powerful versions of the PS5 and Xbox Series X. The only question is whether the company knows something we don’t, or is just hedging its bets.
Information comes from Polish tech publication PPE, with translation from Google Translate. PPE journalist Maciej Zabłocki was covering a TCL press conference when he saw an interesting slide on the presenter’s screen. The top read “Game console generations,” and below that, it outlined the differences between Gen 8.0, Gen 8.5, Gen 9.0 and Gen 9.5.
First, a little terminology. Fans and analysts have given each console generation a number, starting with Gen 1 and the Magnavox Odyssey in 1972. We’re currently living in Gen 9, which covers the PS5, Xbox Series X and, to some extent, the Nintendo Switch. (The Switch may technically be a Gen 8 console, but now we’re splitting hairs.)
TCL’s presentation claimed that Gen 9.5 would begin in 2023/2024, and include a “New Xbox Series S/X” and a “PS5 Pro,” each of which could potentially support more demanding resolutions and frame rates. TCL theorizes that the console refreshes could handle both 4K and 8K gaming at between 60 and 120 frames per second, and would use something akin to an AMD Radeon RX7700XT GPU to do so.
It’s worth noting that console refreshes are hardly unprecedented, and the timing would be right. Gen 8 began in 2013 with the Xbox One and PS4, and Gen 8.5 followed in 2017 with the Xbox One X and the PS4 Pro.
What we don’t know, of course, is whether TCL is repeating information it’s heard from Sony or Microsoft, or whether the company is simply extrapolating based on past trends. It makes perfect sense that a TV manufacturer would want to prepare its hardware for the next round of game consoles; it’s a little harder to believe that the company just preempted what would surely be huge announcements from both Sony and Microsoft.
Either way, even if TCL doesn’t have any special information on the subject, it’s telling that such a big TV manufacturer is taking a console refresh into account for its 2023/2024 strategy. Perhaps gamers should do the same — and hope against hope that a refresh will be easier to find than the base consoles.