Gaming fans are eagerly awaiting some news on the PS5 launch date, and one of the more prominent figures in the video gaming industry has just waded in on this topic. Wedbush Securities’ Michael Pachter believes that the PS5 launch date is likely to be either 2019 or or 2020, and the industry observer has also offered some thoughts on the way the console may turn out.
In an interview with GamingBolt, Pachter suggested that there may not be such a profound gulf in performance between the PS4 Pro and PS5 as some have predicted. “The PS4 Pro is better from a technical perspective than the PS4, so I think that’s a half step towards the PS5. I think the PS5 will be another half step,” Pachter commented.
PS5 Launch Date
The notable analyst also turned his attention to the PS5 launch date, indicating his belief that it will probably appear in the next few years, but not as early as the 2018 date that has been predicted in some quarters.
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“My expectation that is that it’s not coming out in 2018. That [it will be] 2019 or 2020 but probably 2019. Sony is probably timing it better because they are going to bring out a 4K-capable device when the 4K TV market reaches 50 per cent in the USA and 35 per cent in the rest of the world,” Pachter suggested.
Pachter believes that Sony is already focusing its attention on the development of its next generation system, and that many of the details regarding PS5 may already have been settled internally. “I think Sony has probably got the next console cycle nailed down already. I think they already know what they got to do,” Pachter indicated.
However, although this is an interesting and valid opinion, other industry figures definitely disagree. For example, Shawn Layden, CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment America, believes that it “will probably be some time” until we get our hands on the next generation Sony console. Layden suggests that the PS5 launch date will certainly not be in the current decade, and that we may have to wait as long as 2021 before getting our first glimpse of the PlayStation 5.
Launch cycle shift
Recent events in the video game industry suggest that the traditional console launch cycle is being permanently jettisoned; a trend that will obviously have an impact on the PS5 launch date. While consoles will never operate the way that the mobile phone market has traditionally worked, we may see more regular releases from the major manufacturers from hereon in, with incremental upgrades rather than next generation technology being included.
Backward compatibility will also become increasingly important, with companies such as Sony and Microsoft keen to ensure that they don’t cut off existing user bases. This has seen Sony retain very strong support for the PlayStation 4 since the PlayStation 4 Pro was released, and this could continue further still even after the PlayStation 5 emerges.
4K viewing distances
Pachter made some other predictions in his interview, with the analyst providing some particularly interesting views on 4K resolution gaming. This is becoming an absolute focus of the industry, and this process will only ramp up further when the Xbox Project Scorpio launches later this year.
And the analyst suggests that the PS5 will be directly tied to the penetration and sales of 4K televisions, with Pachter believing that this will make a 2019 PS5 launch date likely. By this stage, it is anticipated that 4K resolution technology will have become truly mainstream, with 50 per cent of the United States market focused on 4K sets, along with 35 per cent of global trade.
240 frames per second
It was also suggested in this interview that the PS5 may offer support for 240 frames per second gaming. Whether this could be practically delivered, considering that even 120 frames per second is not remotely common in the existing video games climate, is doubtful. But it would certainly become an interesting decision for gamers if they were offered a choice between 4K resolution games, and 240 frames per second at HD quality.
Another key aspect of the PS5 generation will be the inclusion of virtual reality, following the release of the PlayStation VR headset. While this has been a moderate success for Sony, it has still failed to propel virtual reality into the mainstream of gaming, while nonetheless providing a foundation for Sony to advance its position in this niche in the future.
This will surely see Sony invest heavily in virtual reality technology for the release of the PS5, probably including a unit that matches, and possibly even surpasses, the resolution and frame rate delivered by the likes of Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
While this has yet to become a hugely lucrative market for Sony, it could evolve this way in future years. Major smartphone manufacturers are investing heavily in both augmented and virtual reality, with Samsung strongly supporting VR with its Gear range. Considering that Sony has an advantage over Microsoft in this department, it seems natural for the Japanese corporation to continue to invest in its VR future.
Chris Kingsley, CTO, and co-founder of developer Rebellion, also suggests that fast RAM memory will be extremely important in the PS5 generation.
“We always want fast CPUs and GPUs, but lots of fast RAM is also very important – it’s no use having fast processors if they are starved of data. Developers want the ability to make the best games using the minimum amount of effort. So the hardware should be based around current console hardware, which is in turn based on PC hardware. We always want fast CPUs and GPUs, but lots of fast RAM is also very important – it’s no use having fast processors if they are starved of data,” Kingsley suggested.
Portable gaming, an increased focus on streaming, wireless charging for controllers during gaming sessions, and a flexible, upgradable design have all also been linked with the PS5, and all of these seem feasible features regardless of the PS5 launch date. It all adds up to a potentially powerful machine when Sony finally announces the PS5.