Gamers are already murmuring about the release of the PlayStation 5, yet the giant Sony corporation has yet to give much indication about its next generation video games console. There is a huge amount of anticipation about the PlayStation 5, not least because Sony has to juggle numerous technical problems with its ninth generation console release.
Many soothsayers have been predicting the demise of the console for many years. It is suggested that the old fashioned model of expensive physical hardware could prove obsolete in the coming years, with streaming of games over broadband increasingly feasible. In addition, Sony must complete with new pretenders to the gaming marketplace, with technology such as the Steam Box potentially attractive, mobile phones being a viable gaming platform, and even Apple wading into the gaming market with a more games-oriented Apple TV release.
PlayStation VR expected soon
Meanwhile, Sony is explicitly working on its forthcoming virtual reality project, with PlayStation VR now apparently nearing completion. Again, Sony has played its cards close to its chest with regard to PlayStation VR, which was previously referred to as Project Morpheus. But the general consensus of opinion among analysts is that the PlayStation PR system will see the light of day in the first half of 2016.
But Sony has yet to confirm the existence of the PlayStation 5, at least in terms of the explicit existence of the console. Concepts relating to what the PlayStation 5 will stand for have been mentioned by Sony, but there is no indication as to whether the Japanese corporation has begun to develop the hardware, or even settled its final specifications.
It does seem based on existing market trends that Sony would be stupid not to invest in developing a next-generation console. The PlayStation 4 has unquestionably dominated the current console generation, with Microsoft’s Xbox One console floundering behind the Sony offering by a considerable distance. Sony pushed all of the right buttons with the PlayStation 4, and now the consumer electronics giant can take a sizeable lead into the next generation which could be defined by the PlayStation 5.
On the other hand, the Japanese corporation has been besieged by disappointing financial results in recent months and years. Certainly the PlayStation 4 would not count among these problems, but Sony is hardly likely to rubber stamp the development of the PlayStation 5 if it does not believe the console will make significant profit. And with its mobile phone division seemingly haemorrhaging money at a significant rate, the pressure is on Sony to consider all of its product lines diligently.
Yoshida targets gamers once more
But when the speaking on the subject of the PlayStation 5, Sony Worldwide Studios President Shuhei Yoshida certainly suggested that the aorporation wishes to deliver a next generation console featuring significant power. According to Yoshida, the PlayStation 5 will also strongly follow the needs of games creators, something that Sony has achieved extremely efficiently in the existing console generation.
“It’s really up to the game creators,” Yoshida stated last year. “If they still feel that we need more machine power – ‘We want to realize this and that and that, but we cannot do [it] with PS4’ – if that’s the case, there’s a good reason to have PS5, so that developers can create their vision. So, we’ll see.”
But there has been little word from Sony on the PlayStation 5 since then, which has led to speculation that the corporation may either decide not to release a PlayStation 5 as expected. Or perhaps less dramatically that it could be more of a streaming-based machine.
Back in 2013, Sony had stated that it was considering the development of a next-generation PlayStation system. Scott Rohde, PlayStation’s Head of Software Product Development, indicated that Sony tended to think internally about the development of the next console in the PlayStation series just a few years into the lifecycle of the current generation. That would certainly mean that the PlayStation 5 should be on the agenda at Sony right now, particularly as the existing PlayStation 4 console has serious power deficits.
The next-generation PlayStation 5 will particularly be expected to deliver a tie-in with PlayStation VR technology, something that the existing hardware will find extremely challenging. Of course, the PlayStation VR system is designed to function with the PlayStation 4, but virtual reality is predicted to be a rapidly developing genre, something that consoles of course are not designed to do. It is thought that PlayStation 5 will be armed with tremendous processing and graphics power in order to ensure that virtual reality can be realise its true potential, and grow with the console.
Additionally, with 4K resolution technology now becoming mainstream, this will become a critical aspect of the gaming industry in the next few years. This is something that the PlayStation 4 simply cannot deliver, even though it is theoretically possible. The PlayStation 5 will be geared towards delivering true 4K gaming, and possibly even virtual reality titles in this incredible screen resolution.
PlayStation 5 development process
When speaking about the development of a next generation system back in 2013, Rohde had outlined the complexity of the development process for a major console. “As you can imagine there are hundreds of engineers, and partnerships around the globe that have to take place.” Rohde also stated that with the PlayStation 4, Sony had carried out “lots of questioning that we did with the entire development community to make sure we were building [a] machine that everyone loved, to enable all those great lines in the creative community out there to build all kinds of great stuff.”
Back then, Rohde promised something bigger and better from the next PlayStation generation, and it certainly seems that the release of a PlayStation 5 would make sense for Sony. Despite the existence of technology that challenges the traditional console model, the PlayStation 4 has still been a financial success for the corporation. We may see a PlayStation 5 that takes advantage of these trends from day one, and offers Sony fans more streaming and subscription options in addition to disc-based gaming.
But although Sony hasn’t confirmed the PlayStation 5, its statements certainly indicate that such a major console release is a big part of its plans for the future.