Despite the fact that Microsoft has closed the video games gap recently, the PlayStation 4 has certainly enjoyed the better of the current generation of video games consoles. This has been largely attributed to the fact that Sony more sensitively responded to the actual needs and desires of gamers with the release of its eighth-generation console, and it will thus be interesting to see what strategy it puts in place for the PlayStation 5.
This is a console we could see sooner rather than later for one simple reason; the PS4 system architecture is already dating rapidly. High-end PCs are leaving the current generation consoles behind, and even though the PS4 deals with gaming better than the Xbox One, it will certainly be out of date in technology terms by the time it is put out to pasture. So the PlayStation 5 will feature a massively improved processor and chipsets, and a lightning fast 3D stacked RAM variant.
By the time the PlayStation 5 is ready to be released, we will know whether the Project Morpheus virtual reality headset is a success. Given that gaming needs a new direction, one hopes that both this and the PC-based Oculus Rift project do get off the ground in a commercially successful fashion. If this is the case, then by the time the PlayStation 5 is due, considerably more powerful system architecture will be required in order to run state-off-the-art virtual reality. So this could be an essential focus of the PlayStation 5.
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Additionally, the audio-visual industry is already pushing 4K compatible devices, and even though available content at this resolution is extremely minimal to say the least, in the near future, as with all technology, it will obviously become more readily available. Although the PS4 can theoretically deal with this resolution, in reality it is nowhere near powerful enough to render 4K games, and this will be a real issue before the end of its lifecycle. Producing a console with true 4K capability (at the very least) will be essential for the next-generation Sony device.
Death of the disc?
The death of physical media, particularly with regard to video gaming, has been rumored for sometime. Gamers have actually helped to at least delay this eventuality by strongly expressing their opposition to it, and making purchasing decisions which have ensured that any notion of even suggesting this policy has been postponed by video game manufacturers.
However, we have seen an increasing move towards micro-transaction-based gaming in the current and previous generation of gaming, and the ability to produce consoles that operate without physical discs is already a logistical reality. Perhaps Sony will experience a strong reaction to this possibility and not even give it serious consideration, but until this is confirmed for certain the rumours about the demise of the disc will continue unabated.
Cloud-based storage and gaming
Regardless of whether discs are phased out, the next generation of video games consoles will be considerably more focused on cloud-based storage and gaming. The cloud is already a part of the video games industry, but it is predicted that by the end of the decade 80 percent of small businesses will be utilizing the cloud; thus, it will be a major part of the economy and commercial landscape.
The advantages for a console of storing data in the cloud are potentially massive, and it seems certain that Sony will go down this route with the PlayStation 5.
Now PlayStation 5
As Internet speeds increase, it will also become more feasible to stream video games. This has already been implemented with Sony’s Now PS4 service, but this could be significantly upgraded with the PlayStation 5 being a considerably more powerful machine.
Many gamers are opposed to the notion of streaming games, as they believe that ownership of physical media is not only preferable to this model, but essential to the essence of being a gamer. However, Now PS4 has been moderately successful in attracting consumers, and a cloud-based gaming model could be particularly attractive to casual gamers.
Price and release date
The consensus of opinion on the lifecycle of the PS4 is that it will be significantly shorter than previous console generations. This is due to some of the processing issues which have been discussed previously; it simply seems that the PS4 will date more quickly than previous consoles given the technological developments which are occurring in the contemporary video game landscape.
In terms of pricing, it is difficult to believe that the PlayStation 5 will be significantly more expensive than the PS4, given that building PC gaming rigs is becoming ever cheaper. So gamers shouldn’t have to shell out more for the PlayStation 5 than they did for the PS4, which will be some comfort in an era in which many gaming trends meet with a chilly response.