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Apr 11, 2023 4 min read

4-10-2023 - PSP2?, Emulation on Xbox, the Power of VRAM

4-10-2023 - PSP2?, Emulation on Xbox, the Power of VRAM

In this newsletter, we cover the latest gaming news. Sony is reportedly developing a new portable device. Microsoft has removed the ability to play emulators on the Xbox. And it turns out VRAM is important, Nvidia.

In this week's newsletter, we cover the latest gaming news. Sony is reportedly developing a new portable device. Microsoft has removed the ability to play emulators on the Xbox. And it turns out VRAM is important, Nvidia.

The Next PlayStation Portable is coming?

Photo by EasyLife Designs / Unsplash

Sony is rumored to be gearing up to show off a new portable designed around providing a 1080p streaming experience for PlayStation owners via remote play. Unlike the PSP or PS Vita, this portable will lack the ability to play games natively off the device and will require a constant internet connection to play remotely off of a PlayStation 5. If this device is true, expect a very niche market to respond, as most already have remote play devices in their pockets or could use tablets and PCs they already have. Read our coverage here.

Microsoft Removes Emulation from Xbox

The day we feared is finally here. After a few years, Microsoft completely removed the ability to play emulators of any platform from the Xbox Series S and X running retail mode. Originally the ability to play unauthorized emulators was paywalled behind the developer environment and available for $20 on any retail Xbox One or Series system. Over time and up until this week, people managed to get emulators running on the retail side available directly from the Microsoft Store, which was convenient as it didn't mean the Xbox had to allocate storage space towards the developer environment that the retail side couldn't touch, even if the storage was unused. Though obtaining the emulators on the retail side of Xbox was shady and required permissions to access the download using Discord, the convenience was nice and gave great value to the Xbox Series S and X.

At first, it was believed Nintendo was to blame for the removal of the emulators. Though that claim came from someone whose friend was an Xbox QA Team Lead, which seemed too easy to fake as a source. It also didn't quite explain the takedown of PlayStation, Sega, and Xbox 360 emulators too. Microsoft did respond and cited that this takedown was because emulators are simply not allowed on their Microsoft Store. Why it took years to finally crack down on the practice is suspicious and random. For more insight into this, take a look at Modern Vintage Gamer's response and warning of what might come next now that Microsoft has gone this route.

VRAM Matters A Lot this Generation

Are games unoptimized or did gamers buy the wrong tools for the job? Recent releases like Dead Space (2023), Wild Hearts, Resident Evil 4 (2023), and The Last of Us Part I are all suffering from performance issues. While many are quick to cite poor optimization, it appears to be the reality is games are designed today with the PS5 and Xbox Series S and X's larger VRAM, since they are devices with 16GBs of VRAM. Hardware Unboxed investigated this recently and provided a deep dive into this trend that isn't going to go away soon for games. It might just be that Nvidia's 3060 Ti, 3070, and 3070 Ti graphics cards with 8GBs or 3080's with 10GBs of VRAM truly weren't the right fit for long-lasting GPU hardware.

This slow realization is making the competing AMD cards of the last generation more favorable with their larger VRAM offerings and might be the catalyst for many to decide on upgrading their PCs again, or stick to lower resolutions like 1080p or even 720p as time goes on and VRAM becomes more demanding in upcoming titles. This hunger for VRAM hasn't quite impacted the Steam Deck fully, as targeting 800p with 8GBs available unified memory is very comfortable for the resolution target, but how that doesn't mean Valve doesn't leave possibilities of higher VRAM in future revisions of the Steam Deck out of the realm of possibility to run more demanding titles.


Bionic Commando on Steam
The first true sequel to the classic 1988 Nintendo Entertainment System original, Bionic Commando sees the return of the bionically-enhanced Nathan "R.A.D." Spencer. Time has not been kind to Spencer: Five years after his heroic defeat of the Imperials, he has been betrayed by the governme…
Steam | 44RYH-WJ28M-P3T5W
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