The PlayStation 4 has already been a massive success for Sony, but the consumer electronics giant could be turning its attention to the PlayStation 5 sooner than expected. The rapidly developing technology which is utilized in video games could result in the existing console generation being significantly shorter than is usually the case. The general consensus of opinion among analysts is that we will see both the PlayStation 5, and a successor to the Microsoft Xbox One console, by the end of the decade.

Sony PlayStation
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PlayStation 5 in the pipeline

So the first thing to note is that the existence of the PlayStation 5 is extremely likely. The demise of the traditional console has been predicted for some time, with technologies such as Valve’s Steam Box now possible. However, as Internet speeds struggle to catch up with the level of performance required for streaming of HD gaming, it seems that the disc-based console will survive for at least one more generation.

 

Generally speaking, the more ambitious and outlandish predictions regarding video games usually do not usually come to fruition. The demise of physical media has been predicted for a decade or even longer, yet Blu-ray discs remain the core method for gamers to consume gaming. Ultimately, the video game market has been surprisingly conservative for such an obviously technologically-driven niche, but the next generation of video games will probably see some major evolution.

PlayStation 5 to be disc-free?

So as the PlayStation 5 is being developed, speculation will continue to accumulate regarding whether or not the console will utilize discs. Certainly, Sony has made steps towards providing a streaming service with PlayStation Now, but most gamers still like to run their games from physical media.

So the overwhelming likelihood is that the PlayStation 5 will still feature a disc drive. Of all marketplaces, video games is one of the most consumer-driven, and gamers are among the most demanding demographic in the world. Gamers typically love boxed media (although I’m sure PC devotees will contest this assertion), and there has even been a significant increase in the amount of vinyl being sold worldwide in recent years.

Although there has been a trend towards streaming movies with the success of Netflix, the Blu-ray playing capabilities of the PlayStation 4 are also welcomed by many consumers. Therefore, the death of the disc drive should not be expected when the PlayStation 5 is released.

PlayStation 5 to focus on PlayStation Now

However, we should expect an increasing emphasis on the PlayStation Now service when the PlayStation 5 is released. Ultimately, developers of video games would like to move away from the existing commercial model, and have achieved this to some extent with such phenomena as season passes and downloadable content. Many gamers consider both of these facets of modern gaming to be bad for the consumer and ultimately indefensible, but there is no doubt that they have resulted in massive commercial profits for companies such as EA.

Although Sony came out of the Xbox One pre-owned games debacle with a lot of credit and credence, no-one should view the corporation as a lillywhite keeper of the gaming faith. The fact is that Sony is just as reliant on developers as Microsoft. And it is completely possible that it also would have considered a similar pre-owned gaming model to the manufacturer of the Xbox One had it considered it to be in Sony’s interest.

So a move towards the PlayStation Now Service being more prominent would be an obvious move for Sony, as cloud-based gaming becomes more feasible. Of course, Sony has a difficult balancing act here, as if streaming and cloud-based gaming is too strongly emphasized, it will ultimately slashing his own wrists. This would effectively negate the justification for the console in the first place, so getting the emphasis right on PlayStation Now will be important for Sony.

PlayStation 5 – 4K resolution

One of the most compelling reasons for the relatively short lifespan of the PlayStation 4 is that it will never be able to truly embrace 4K resolution. Although the PlayStation 5 is more powerful than its Xbox One rival, it is unfortunately the case that it will not have the processing power to deliver 4K gaming. Sony has rather optimistically included this provision within the portfolio of PlayStation 4 features, but in order to experience 4K gaming on consoles, it will definitely be necessary for both Sony and Microsoft to release more powerful kit.

4K is still developing, and can hardly be seen as a mainstream technology yet. But the five years left until the potential release of the PlayStation 5 will probably see this resolution become more cemented in mainstream content, and thus it will be an important aspect of the PlayStation 5 when it is released.

PlayStation 5 – Project Morpheus

Additionally, there are similar concerns about Sony’s virtual reality headset, Project Morpheus. This is seen as being central to the future of both Sony’s video gaming consoles, and indeed gaming itself. Although the PlayStation 4 is an extremely nifty console, there is still the overwhelming feeling that next-generation gaming has been a little short of this description. Developers are now stuck in a pattern of ever diminishing returns, where producing high-quality gaming requires a massive investment, yet making a serious step forward over the previous generation of games is a monumental challenge.

Virtual reality is mooted to provide a solution to this problem, but there are already doubts that the PlayStation 4 can deliver the sort of processing power required to make it work seamlessly. At the very least, there is no doubt that the PlayStation 4 will struggle to grow with this technology. So by the end of the decade a PlayStation 5 console with built-in Project Morpheus functionality could be central to gaming culture.

PlayStation 5 – price

Finally, analysts are already predicting that the PlayStation 5 could be even more affordable than the previous versions of the console. This could be an absolute necessity by the end of the decade, by which time Sony and Microsoft will both be challenged by streaming services.