What's your next console? Xbox One S vs PlayStation 4K vs Project Scorpio

Thinking of upgrading? Then you've got some tough decisions to make

Less than three years into the current console generation and we're already staring down the barrel of the next one. Madness, right?

Yes, Sony and Microsoft are both readying new games machines for later this year, with Microsoft's Xbox One S announced at E3 last week for an August release and Sony's PlayStation 4K (or 4.5, or Neo) expected to follow soon after. Not only that but Microsoft also announced a second new Xbox - codenamed Project Scorpio - expected to come out in 2017.   

According to Sony and Microsoft, the consoles coming this year are half-step measures that will bring more power without abandoning the current hardware. Scorpio, meanwhile, will represent a massive step up. 

All of which is rather confusing if you're thinking of buying one, and especially so if you already own an Xbox One or PlayStation 4

So should you stick or twist? We've had a close look at all the details (and rumours) to bring you this sage advice. Don't start saving for a new console 'til you've read it.

So you already own a PS4

Congratulations! You chose the best-selling console of the current generation and our favourite of the bunch too, not to mention the one that has arguably the best exclusives right now.

However, with Sony confirming that a higher-end PS4 model is in the works, it might not be the undisputed champ for long. If you're starting to feel the itch for more power and polish, here's how the upgrade situation looks on all fronts.

Should you upgrade to Xbox One S?

Doubtful. Assuming you're happy with your PlayStation 4, there's little reason to drop it now for the Xbox One S. Microsoft's revised box has a 40% smaller frame and packs in 4K Blu-ray and streaming support, as well as HDR lighting for games and media alike, which are great perks.

But when it comes to games, ditching your PS4 means leaving behind wonderful exclusives such as Uncharted 4: A Thief's End and Ratchet & Clank, as well as upcoming highlights including God Of War, The Last Guardian, Detroit: Become Human, and Horizon: Zero Dawn. Microsoft's E3 lineup didn't pack nearly the same wallop.

Should you upgrade to PlayStation 4K?

Now this one makes a lot more sense, but only if you're the kind of player who needs to be on the absolute cutting-edge of tech. Supposedly, the upgraded PS4 will allow for significantly improved performance, including speedier frame-rates, sharper resolution, enhanced textures, and much more immersive PlayStation VR experiences.

And rumour is that the same PS4 games will work on both consoles – so you don't have to ditch your current library, and the new games will simply run better on the next box. If you're not as concerned about the highest-end graphics or have a huge interest in VR, then you probably don't need the PS4K on day one: your current console should still have years of fun left in it.

Should you upgrade to Project Scorpio?

It's too early to tell, but based on Microsoft's promises, Project Scorpio sounds like a major jump in tech, with the possibility of true 4K gaming and next-gen VR experiences within. If true, and it ends up being much more powerful than the PlayStation 4K, then it'll be a whole new front for the console wars.

Project Scorpio is set to release in late 2017, so there's still plenty of time to enjoy your PS4, see how the PlayStation 4K turns out, then evaluate Microsoft's next console once it is fully revealed – next year, likely. But the tech sounds exciting, at least.

So you already own an Xbox One

The Xbox 360 was a roaring success, but the Xbox One had some stumbles out the gate – and the PS4 took a commanding and ever-growing lead. Fortunately, you've still got lots of great games available… but the case for an upgrade is easier to make in some cases.

Should you upgrade to Xbox One S?

For most people, probably not: the Xbox One S is still essentially an Xbox One, albeit with enhancements that are more for movies and TV shows than games. Support for 4K media and HDR are great, but unless you've got a high-end TV, your games and media will look and act the same way as before.

Anyone on the bleeding edge might consider selling off their Xbox One and putting the funds towards the Xbox One S, however, as the 4K media will look spectacular on a properly equipped TV, and HDR will help games such as Forza Horizon 3 look even more unbelievably amazing.

Should you upgrade to PlayStation 4K?

Feel like you backed the wrong horse this console generation? Well, the PlayStation 4K might be your best chance to course correct, given the purported upgrades within. Not only will you be able to enjoy the current PS4 greats, but also be well equipped to enjoy the next few years of PS4 games at their highest possible quality.

This is especially true if you're excited about virtual reality. The PlayStation VR is out this October, and if the rumours prove correct, the PlayStation 4K should release right around the same time. Grab both and you should be able to experience immersive VR in your living room, whereas Microsoft probably won't have VR until next year's Project Scorpio.

Should you upgrade to Project Scorpio?

If you're an Xbox die-hard, then yes, almost assuredly. Microsoft says Project Scorpio will be the most powerful console ever released when it hits the market next year, and it will very likely release with a new Halo shooter and other exclusives. Longtime fans of the green and black won't want to miss out on that.

On the other hand, Microsoft's claims suggest that Project Scorpio is still part of the Xbox One line and that there will still be some compatibility between them – so if you don't want to shell out potentially several hundred pounds to play improved versions of the same games, then your regular 'ol Xbox One might be good enough.

Don't have either? Got a Wii U?

Made it this far without buying a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One? We admire your tenacity, but the announcement of new hardware puts you in a tricky position. Buying a console now seems like a bad idea, given the power increase on the horizon; on the other hand, those boxes will cost quite a bit more than anything on the market now or in the next couple of months.

And if you have a Wii U, it's about time to move on: Nintendo's console had some great games and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is still coming, but there's little else due out for it. Maybe next year's Nintendo NX hardware will sate your needs, but you might want to consider a Sony or Microsoft console as well.

Should you upgrade to Xbox One S?

If you're an Xbox aficionado or love Microsoft's exclusives and can't wait another year, then yes, the Xbox One S seems a smarter bet than the standard Xbox One. It's smaller and packs in 4K media and HDR support, plus offers up to 2TB storage. Wait 'til August for it if you can!

Should you upgrade to PlayStation 4K?

As we've said before, the PlayStation 4 is this generation's leading console and arguably has the better exclusives – and the PlayStation 4K will be the more powerful version of it. Will it be worth the higher price for you, though? You'll have to wait and see on that front, but buying the higher-end model is a smart, future-proofing bet.

Should you upgrade to Project Scorpio?

Sort of feels like skipping an entire console generation, no? At this point, it's too early to tell whether Project Scorpio will live up to Microsoft's claims, as well as whether it will be a much more powerful console than the PlayStation 4K.

If you can keep yourself entertained with your current console (whatever it is) for another year, you can save up more cash and go big with Project Scorpio next year. It might be worth the short-term suffering.