October 27, 2017 – The rumor that Sony executive Phil Harrison would reveal details regarding the PlayStation 5 at a recent gaming expo was a hot topic for a while. However, Harrison instead decided to reflect on the history of gaming, and the future Sony console remains firmly under wraps. This doesn’t mean that more pessimistic estimations regarding the release date of the machine are necessarily correct, but this would certainly begin to make sense.
Nonetheless, there is a strong consensus among gaming analysts that a PlayStation 5 release is on the horizon. There was a roughly seven-year gap between the release of the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4, and this would mean that we could expect the PlayStation 5 to appear in 2019 or 2020.
With the old video games model of powerful technology necessitating a sizeable shelf life beginning to dissolve, it is suggested that the PlayStation 5 could arrive sooner rather than later, and be a nifty and expandable unit when it does indeed emerge. This would be logical, and would provide PlayStation 5 owners with the sort of customization that PC devotees take for granted, albeit inevitably in a reduced form.
Certainly both Sony and Microsoft will be looking to the PC market as a guide for their forthcoming consoles, as PC gaming has grown massively in popularity over the last couple of years. Affordable gaming rigs mean that PCs are now serious competition for both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox One X, meaning that Sony and Microsoft must craft their future strategy accordingly.
Despite the increasing importance of online play and streaming, it seems unlikely that cloud gaming will be a major factor in the early days of the PlayStation 5. While this model is feasible in the not too distant future, industry analysts have suggested that the PlayStation 5 will lack the power to deliver AAA titles in cloud gaming form.
However, one area where Sony could attempt to make a strong initial impression with the PlayStation 5 is with the design of the machine. Early console releases are traditionally quite bulky, and this was certainly the case with the original PlayStation 3. Such releases are usually followed up with slimmed down models, but it is suggested in the case of the PlayStation 5 that the slim version may be the initial release.
Certainly Sony headed in this direction with the design of the PlayStation 4, and it is expected that it will be possible for a PlayStation 5 Slim to emerge on the very first day of release. While this delivers a more pleasing aesthetic, it will also enable Sony to reduce the power consumption of the unit, and potentially it could also have a positive impact on computational power.
After the relative success of the PlayStation VR headset, the PlayStation 5 is expected to ramp up Sony’s effort in the virtual reality sphere. Meanwhile, this machine will certainly deliver 4K resolution gaming at 60 frames per second, which is undoubtedly a mouth-watering proposition for console owners, even if they may have to wait until 2020 for this prospect.
UPDATE 10-12-2017 – Although there has been some debate over whether or not the PlayStation 5 will ever be released, the official word from Sony certainly suggests that this console will indeed emerge sooner or later. Shawn Layden – Chairman of Worldwide Studios and President of Sony Interactive Entertainment America – already spoke to a German website on the matter, indicating that a PlayStation 5 release is coming, but this will probably be sometime into the future.
While many gamers are eagerly awaiting the release of the Xbox one X, which will appear in stores next month, both the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 Pro continue to shift large numbers of units. This means that there obviously isn’t huge pressure on Sony to release the PlayStation 5 with immediacy, as the company can continue to rely on strong revenue from its existing product range.
Indeed, although the Xbox One X is undoubtedly technically impressive, there is scepticism regarding the prospects of this console. Many believe that it could prove to be an expensive pariah for Microsoft, with gamers more concerned with the quality of original titles than the technological power of the hardware running them.
And, increasingly, analysts believe that the PlayStation 5 could be an entirely different proposition from previous console releases. While Sony seems committed to the idea of physical hardware, Electronic Arts’ Chris Evenden – the publisher’s VP of investor relations – recently suggested at the Deutsche Bank Technology Conference that the PlayStation 5 may not appear after all.
Everden instead believes that a streaming model will become prominent in the foreseeable future, and that this will massively impact on potential console releases.
“I think it’s inevitable that the gaming entertainment world will move in much the same way that the music and video entertainment worlds have already moved, in the sense that people have moved from an ownership model to an access model. And you’ll see that in gaming, just as you’ve seen it with Spotify and Netflix in other media businesses,” Everden commented.
While his comments are undoubtedly relevant and valid, they should also be taken with a pinch of salt. EA already has a significant stake in the streaming market with its Origins service for PC users, while EA Access on Xbox One has also been strongly pushed by the company. Streaming is generally considered to be a technology that appeals to game developers, but although such services have proved popular, many gamers are passionate about keeping physical media in the loop.
Nonetheless, both Sony and Microsoft have released a subscription-based streaming services with the intention of cashing in on this growing niche. And Everden believes that the technological requirements for widespread streaming will largely be met by the time that the PlayStation 5 is viable.
“That infrastructure barrier is still there, but it’s shrinking very rapidly. And we think in the next couple of years, you’ll see some major technological announcements that will prove to be commercially significant in the next three to five years.”
The analyst also suggested that the cost of gaming could potentially be reduced for consumers once a streaming model is prevalent.
“Right now if you want to play FIFA in the United States, it will cost you $460. You have to buy the game; you have to buy the console. In a streaming world, it could be $9.99 a month. The commercial details have to be worked out, but whatever number it ends up at is very much less than $460. So that extends your market because all you need locally is literally a smart TV.”
Nonetheless, with Sony having explicitly stated that a PlayStation 5 console is in the works, we can still reasonably expect this critical hardware release to emerge. It is also likely that the Japanese manufacturer will include a disc drive in the console when it is unveiled, as it has always listened to consumers on this critical subject.
The consensus of opinion on the subject, though, is that the PlayStation 5 will not appear in the next couple of years. And there are two reasons for this. Firstly, Sony is already making a huge amount of money from the PlayStation 4 generation, and it would be almost completely senseless to alienate existing PlayStation 4 consumers and users.
Secondly, the longer that Sony has to work on this next generation release, the more advanced the PlayStation 5 can be when it emerges. Thus, we probably should not expect to see the PlayStation 5 before the holiday period in 2020. In particular, Sony will want to deliver a PlayStation 5 machine that can provide 4K resolution at 60 frames per second, and possibly even embrace forthcoming technology such as 8K. Aside from PC and console rivals, the mobile industry is also delivering more gaming content, and Sony needs to keep ahead of the competition and the curve.
Other technology set to be included in the PlayStation 5 will particularly revolve around its wireless capabilities. This console should deliver controllers that charge wirelessly even while being used, which would obviously be a huge step forward for console gamers. We can expect a mega-powerful processor and GPU to drive the PlayStation 5, and the console will certainly exceed the capabilities of the most powerful PC engines available today. Of course, the PC market itself will have moved on as well by 2020.
In terms of games, Sony would love to have GTA 6 and The Last Of Us 2 as launch titles for its next-generation machine. Whether this is realistic remains to be seen; it will very much rely on the release date of the two games, and whether they need to be upgraded for the PlayStation 5, or released as brand new, original titles. Certainly the PlayStation 5 will live and die by its exclusive games, and Sony has been acutely aware of this recently, delivering a raft of titles that has helped it gain a massive advantage over at Microsoft.
UPDATE: 10-06-2017: As fans of video games await the PlayStation 5 release date, the forthcoming PS5 console may already have its first major gaming hit in the pipeline. Just Cause developer Avalanche Studios has already provided information on a major next-generation title that should land on the PlayStation 5 in the foreseeable future.
New PS5 rumor
The developer has announced that it is seeking talented individuals to work on a major new sandbox title. It was, of course, the GTA series that led to the term sandbox being coined, and the open-ended genre of gaming has certainly proved popular since.
“Avalanche Studios is currently looking for a senior programmer to join a small team developing our next generation open world / sandbox multiplayer engine,” reads an Avalanche job post, as the developer prepared for the imminent release of the PS5.
Aside from this, the developer also provided information on the components that it will prioritize for its next-generation gaming engine. Destructible environments will seemingly play a major role in Avalanche games for the PS5, with the PlayStation 5 specs upgrade ensuring that sophisticated things are possible.
The asset goes on to explain precisely what the role will entail.
“As a Senior Multiplayer Programmer you will influence the architecture and drive the implementation of all multiplayer technology in the Avalanche Apex engine. This is a great opportunity to work with some of the most complex and rewarding challenges in game development today; Open worlds, sandbox gameplay and highly destructible multiplayer environments. As with most multiplayer development, a keen sense of fun gameplay and that 6th sense for what gives the perfect “feeling” are both key aspects for this role,” the job advert comments.
There is already speculation that the new game will be a sequel to Just Cause, which is reason for a excitement among Sony and PS5 fans.
Meanwhile, the consensus of opinion is still that the PlayStation 5 release date will come towards the end of the decade. In comments reported by PSU, industry analyst Michael Pachter predicted that 2020 would be the ideal time for Sony to consider is next-generation console release.
“I think that’s exactly when you’ll see one (PS5) 2019 or 2020, and if I had to bet, it’s 2020. Sony’s making so much money with the PS4 that I think they’ll continue to milk it as long as they can milk it. And I think the natural extension of that is the PS4 Pro becomes the default PS4, and they just knock that price down to $250 when they can and they keep selling it – a ton of those,” the analyst commented.
Pachter went on to explain his reasoning behind the delay in the PlayStation 5 release, suggesting that Sony will simply bide its time considering the current market conditions.
“The PS5 is probably going to be their real 4K device, and so it just feels to me that they’re not going to launch the PS5 until sales momentum for the PS4 slows, and it just hasn’t. So you certainly get through 2017, 2018, and I just don’t see it slowing in 2018 which should prop them to launch something in 2019. If it slows in 2019, they’re probably launching in 2020.”
No GTA 6
The complexity of modern video games and the incredibly involved development required is underlined by the fact that there has been no new GTA game on the PlayStation 4, and indeed that the PlayStation 5 release date may predate the GTA 6 unveiling. Whether the GTA 6 title could then become an exclusive for the PS5 remains to be seen, but what is certain is that the game will appear on this console in some form.
Sony is likely to continue support for both the PlayStation 4 Pro and PlayStation 4 for some time, and it it may be that the GTA 6 title will appear on both generations of the console.
Meanwhile, it seems that Sony and Microsoft are taking radically different approaches to the PlayStation 5 and next Xbox release. Sony is looking at a major new hardware update when the PlayStation 5 is unveiled, while the Xbox manufacturer is increasingly contemplating conducting a business model akin to smartphones.
This would mean that the lifecycle of the PlayStation 5 would be significantly longer than any of the Xbox releases, but that Microsoft fans could benefit from a raft of different updates. The manufacturer will look to continually refresh and evolve its hardware, as it believes that the technology industry now moves too fast for the old console approach to be viable.
When Sony does reveal the PlayStation 5 specs, though, this will undoubtedly be a revolutionary machine. The console must compete in a rapidly evolving marketplace, and this means that a particular emphasis will be placed on streaming. If Sony is to ensure that its next-generation console is future proof, it must enable the streaming of games to be a central facet of the device.
However, it is unlikely that the PS5 will be a disc-less machine, as this is not in the interest of the manufacturer owing to the desires of gamers.
Elsewhere, there is no doubt that the PlayStation 5 will deliver 4K gaming with aplomb, and some have suggested that 60 frames per second will even be possible at this exalted resolution.
We can also expect more wireless capabilities from the console, while the storage capacity from day one could be monstrous. There is no doubt that the PlayStation 5 will be an extremely exciting machine when it is released, in what will probably be 2020.