The next-generation console wars look well and truly on in 2019, with incumbents the PS5 and Xbox Two set to face a surprise new challenger in the 4K and VR-friendly Mad Box from Project Cars developer Slightly Mad Studios. Is the PS5 vs Xbox 2 no longer the battle to watch? That might be a stretch, but things certainly just got a lot more interesting.
That’s because Slightly Mad CEO Ian Bell has thrown down to the gauntlet to both the Sony PlayStation 5 and Microsoft’s Xbox 2 by revealing that his studio is working on a beastly new console dubbed the Mad Box.
As first reported by Variety, the ambition is for the Mad Box to be “the most powerful console ever built” and looks set to come with a host of PS5 and Xbox Two rivalling specs, including support for 4K graphics and VR games at up to 60fps.What is the Mad Box? It’s the most powerful console ever built… It’s literally ‘Mad’… You want 4k, you want VR at 60FPS?
What is the Mad Box? It’s the most powerful console ever built… It’s literally ‘Mad’… You want 4k, you want VR at 60FPS? You want a full engine for free to develop your games on it? You have it.— Ian Bell SMS (@bell_sms) 2 janvier 2019
Expanding on the prospect of Mad Box being a boon for developers, Bell told Variety:
“We plan to allow games from all developers, old and new. The ’new’ possibly being many of those that benefit from our completely free development engine…We think the industry is a little too much of a monopoly or a micro oligopoly. We think competition is healthy and we have the required hardware contacts to be able to bring something epic to fruition based on our designs,” Mad Studios CEO Ian Bell commented.
He added that the Mad Box will be a “worldwide console” that could fill a gap in areas that aren’t “particularly open to other vendors at this moment” – specifically VR, where he promised a device that “will support most major VR headsets” and offer specs to rival a “very fast PC 2 years from now.”
There’s no word on when the Mad Box might be released, or how much it will cost, but the prospect of a challenger system to the PS5 and Xbox Two is surely an exciting one for gamers growing tired of the industry duopoly.
In recent times, only the Nintendo Switch has really offered ‘something different’ compared to the traditional consoles, but the Mad Box could be set to change all that and shake up the gaming world – be it this year or next.
First Look at In-Development Console Mad Box
The first images of the Mad Box were shared on Bell’s official Twitter account, which you can see below. The console resembles a PC, with an M-shaped tower and the Slightly Mad Studios logo etched into one side. The system’s internal components have been blurred out in the images, however, as Bell says the team is “still in discussions” regarding that. He also notes this is “not the final design.”
According to Bell, the Mad Box is very light and features a deployable carry handle on the top so you can easily transport it. He also says the system “will talk to other Mad Boxes without cables,” although he didn’t elaborate any further on that.