Updated headline on 8/8 to reflect 1440p resolution
In the past, the video game console you bought at launch would have the same graphical capabilities for its entire lifespan, with only software-side updates potentially improving how games looked and ran. It is no longer the past, however, as Merseille’s mClassic device is a plug-and-play graphics processor that promises to boost your consoles’ performance without modification.
The mClassic is designed to work with all of your consoles, including the Nintendo Switch and retro systems. It touts built-in anti-aliasing, 4K upscaling, better depth of field, and sharper image quality. Merseille says in its IndieGoGo campaign that the device only adds about 1ms of extra latency onto games when in use. The campaign has already smashed its $50,000 flexible goal with 21 days still to go, raising over $320,000 thus far. The same technology was previously used in the mCable, an HDMI cable designed to improve the visual quality of PC games.
The mClassic features three modes, one of which is completely off in case you don’t want to use it but still want it connected. In “Scaling On” mode, every pixel on the screen is redrawn in real-time, and it can be used for both games and movies. In “Retro” mode, the output is shifted to 4:3 to match most older games. Though it’s primarily meant for consoles, you can also boost the power of your PC by plugging the mClassic into its USB ports, as well.
But what is inside the mClassic? In addition to an HDMI receiver and transmitter, the chip contains HDCP encryption engines, a 4K Chroma processor, 120 FPS graphic post-processor, and another embedded processor. It runs on the Real-time Gaming Algorithms Control State Machine 2.0 operating system.
This power doesn’t come cheaply, with pre-orders costing $150 for the mClassic and cables. After this early period, the price will go up to $239, and the processors and scheduled to begin shipping next month. This price is still far below what you’d need to purchase one of the newest consoles when they launch at the end of next year, however, and the mClassic’s versatility means it won’t be limited to just one of your systems. If you just want the processor itself, it will only set you back $69 during the pre-order period, which is a nice deal.