Despite both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One video games consoles still going strong for Sony and Microsoft respectively, the next generation systems are already in the pipeline. The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Two are both anticipated before the end of the decade, and many video games analysts believe that the two new machines will arrive sooner than previous generations of the console series.

PlayStation 5

Shorter Timeframe

Previous PlayStation and Xbox consoles have existed in the mainstream for around seven years, with the overall cycle of a machine roughly lasting for a decade. But it is believed that the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Two could go on sale sooner than anticipated for several reasons. Above all else, both consoles will look out of date in technology terms by 2020, and both Sony and Microsoft are expected to announce concrete plans about their replacements before then.

And the latest news on these two flagship Systems is that AMD is apparently already planning to offer a huge performance boost for both consoles. This will be considered essential for both systems as PlayStation 5 and Xbox Two both attempt to embrace 4K gaming. By the time that the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Two hit the stores, 4K resolution products will be considered mainstream. Indeed, Sony itself recently released the world’s first 4K smartphone; an indication that the Japanese corporation recognizes the prominence of this technology.

But neither the PlayStation 4 nor Xbox One have the capabilities to deal with this resolution. Although both consoles are theoretically optimized to provide 4K, in reality they simply don’t possess the processing power to do so. This has led to suggestions in the media that the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Two could be revealed as early as 2018. This is an interesting proposition, as major titles have yet to appear on the Sony machine, with Gran Turismo still not having made its debut on the PlayStation 4, and the sixth instalment of the Grand Theft Auto series expected around 2018 as well.

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Nonetheless, it seems that both Sony and Microsoft will turn to AMD in order to provide their chipsets. Both the PS4 and Xbox One use custom AMD APUs, which are based on the Jaguar microarchitecture. The general feeling is that AMD has offered a platform which has enabled the cross-platform development of games to be carried out smoothly. And this makes it likely that the company will remain part of the manufacturing processes related to both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Two.

Current estimates suggest that AMD will produce a processing unit with five-times the performance of existing consoles when the next generation comes to fruition. And central to the ethos of the production of the chipsets for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Two will be a focus on virtual reality. This naturally requires considerably more performance to be available to consoles than a non-virtual reality game running on an existing television set. This is doubly true if both consoles intend to offer 4K virtual reality. This may seem like a pipe dream at the moment, but it could be a reality in the not too distant future.

AMD to offer backwards compatibility

Another interesting aspect of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Two is that backward compatibility could be feasible from day one. This has been a criticism of recent consoles, with compatibility with previous generation games considered a significant weakness with both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. But with consoles moving to x86 architecture, and likely to stick with this for the next generation, this will ensure that PS4 an Xbox One games will continue to work on the new hardware.

If video games fans doubt the fact that Sony is currently working on the PlayStation 5, then the fact that the Japanese corporation has already posted job listings that hint at this reality suggests otherwise. Sony has mentioned that there are exciting job opportunities available at Sony Computer Entertainment of America in an ad, and it is widely expected that this is related to the development of the PlayStation 5.

In particular, it is suggested that Sony is seeking a senior game programmer in order to lead the research and development process associated with its next generation console. Although there is nothing concrete coming out of Japan on the subject as of yet, this has nonetheless led to feverish speculation that the PlayStation 5 is indeed already in development.

Xbox Two

Streaming future

As the video games marketplace continues to develop, streaming services have become increasingly important, and this will only accelerate when the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Two are released. With this in mind, Ben Wilson, editor of the official PlayStation Magazine, has suggested that the PlayStation 5 will be equipped with a new streaming service, and that this will revolutionize the way that the Sony machine operates.

However, his expectation is that both Sony and Microsoft will retain physical media, at least for the early days of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Two. Although demand for the disc drive has diminished with regard to PCs, thanks to the popularity of Steam, console game owners are still notoriously attached to the concept of the physical disc. Considering the other innovations that Sony and Microsoft will instigate in the next generation consoles, this means that it is too much to expect for a transition to downloadable media-only gaming.

But other major players have a different opinion on the subject. Emmett Shear, an executive from the massively popular Twitch streaming service, believes that the future of next generation gaming platforms is in fact extremely delicately balanced. In an interview with the British newspaper The Guardian, Shear suggested that it would be a sensible move for both Sony and Microsoft to convert their next generation hardware into set-top boxes.

Because of the considerably shorter lifespan of gaining consoles today, the practicality of manufacturing a conventional PlayStation 5 and Xbox Two could be limited. Indeed, we’re already seeing with the present generation consoles that numerous issues are emerging. While most analysts still believe that a conventional PlayStation 5 and Xbox Two are likely, it is not impossible that they could be based around a similar streaming ethos to the Steam Box.


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