What Happens Next? PS5 and the future of PlayStation
It was not long ago that a good part of the videogame industry believed that the current generation of consoles, would be the last.
With the success experienced by Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo this generation – the Playstation 4 has well over 70 million units sold, and the Nintendo Switch recently became the fastest selling console in US history – it is safe to assume that console gaming is very much alive and kicking.
The end of the current generation of consoles is fast approaching and so we need to start looking at what will Sony’s next console bring to the market.
With this current generation, we saw the introduction of ‘mid-generation consoles’, an attempt from Sony and Microsoft to avoid losing their player base to the PC market, due to the lack of an upgradable machine during the latter half of the generation. Sony themselves believe that the PS4 and the PS4 Pro serve two different audiences; the PS4 pro was an attempt to win over the PC player base and prevent them from leaving halfway through the current console cycle. However, the PS4 Pro was released without enough power to compete with the Xbox One X or set it apart from the base PS4, it was a slight upgrade at most. In addition, the sales of the PS4 Pro have started to cut into the sales of the base PS4, due to the timing of the release.
Sony is still committed to the idea of keeping their player base within the PlayStation ecosystem. The best workaround to this would be to release their base console and their more powerful console together, in a similar fashion to the way Apple release their products.
The specs of the two consoles would have to be monstrous, so as to surpass the Xbox One X. In order to achieve this, it is likely that Sony will stray away from AMD-based technology and adopt Nvidia as their main processors – Nintendo has shown that Nvidia processors work as console chip replacements, however, moving away from AMD will mean that the new generation will not be compatible with the PS4 and PS4 Pro.
In order to outpower the Xbox One X, Sony’s next generation of consoles will need to bring to the market more power than an eight-core 2.3Ghz CPU, 12GB GDDR6 RAM, and a GPU with more than 40 compute units at 1172 MHz. That would just be the base console, the more powerful console would need to be an even bigger improvement than that, so as to avoid having the two consoles be too similar to one another. In order to do this at an affordable, it is unlikely Sony will release a new console until the end of 2019/2020.
We have gotten hints at how powerful Sony’s new console might be, with Polyphony Digital – the developers of Gran Turismo – claiming that Gran Turismo Sport was over specced to support 8k textures, meaning that it will most likely be used as a showpiece for the power of the PS5.
Another important aspect to Sony’s new generation of consoles is how they’ll move forward with PSVR. Sony has invested heavily on Virtual Reality technology and it doesn’t seem likely that they will abandon their Virtual Reality vision, so they will also most likely release a new more powerful VR headset, perhaps not straight away, so as to not alienate the consumers that bought the first PSVR. The original PSVR will probably work with the PS5 from launch, and then consumers can opt for a more powerful VR experience with a PS5 exclusive headset.
In terms of pricing, Sony hit the nail on the head with a launch price of £350 for both the PS4 and PS4 pro. However, we can only hope that they do not repeat the same mistake as with their previous generation; the PS3 was priced at £425 back in 2006 – adjusted for inflation, that amount is equivalent to £582.25. It is well known that Sony expected their consumers to ‘get a second job’ in order to afford the console. That fiasco meant that Sony had to play catch up to Microsoft the whole console cycle.
Hopefully, it is a situation they learned from, and the PS5 can enjoy some of the same success that the PS4 has had.
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