As the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Two release date remains shrouded in doubt, here ValueWalk assesses when we can expect these two next generation machines, and what Sony and Microsoft will deliver.
The likelihood is that Sony has already begun work on the PlayStation 5, as its executives have confirmed the existence of the machine, and intention to release a PlayStation 5 at some point. And with the Xbox One trailing behind the PlayStation 4 series in the current generation, it seems inevitable that there will be an Xbox Two console released as well.
In terms of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Two release date, there are several factors for the two companies to consider before finalizing the details. Certainly the shelf life of major console releases has changed significantly, and this is likely to impact on the ultimate release date of the two devices.
The popularity of PC gaming, coupled with the fast-moving nature of the technology landscape and climate, means that the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Two release date may ultimately be conservative. Both manufacturers need to ensure that the consoles they ultimately release fit into the ethos of the video game marketplace.
There is no doubt that hardware becomes outdated and outmoded more rapidly nowadays than was the case in the past, and this is certain it to impact on the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Two release date. The release of the PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X is essentially an acknowledgement that the original base consoles produced by Sony and Microsoft have now been superseded by more advanced technology.
This is obviously something that both developers would rather avoid with the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Two series, or at least delay this inevitability as long as possible. The way that consoles operate is certainly evolving, as the affordability and increasing popularity of the more customizable PC platforms means that consoles cannot necessarily expect to enjoy the 10-year shelf life of the past.
Overall, this suggests that the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Two release date is highly unlikely to be during the current decade. And this is compounded by the fact that the Xbox One X has only just been released, while the PlayStation 4 Pro is hardly an elderly device, and is still promoted by Sony as delivering a state-of-the-art gaming experience.
While some industry analysts have suggested that the PlayStation 5 could be released as early as 2018, this notion has died down recently. There is a general recognition that this date is too early for either the PlayStation 5 or Xbox Two, with the fact being that there is still a lot of life left in both the PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X.
Instead, recent analysis has indicated that the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Two release date could be during the next decade. The two machines may appear in either 2020 or 2021 according to the latest analysis, with possibly the later of these two dates being the more likely. This would allow the Xbox One X to have a decent shelf life, while both Microsoft and Sony could work on ensuring that their next-generation consoles deliver the sort of features, functionality and quality that gamers will undoubtedly demand.
Top of the list of considerations for Sony will be native 4K resolution gaming at 60 frames per second. This should absolutely be achievable by the time that the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Two release date rolls around, and will be considered particularly essential in the Japanese camp, after the PlayStation 4 Pro was revealed to deliver 4K resolution gaming via its checkerboard technique.
Microsoft already has a native 4K resolution console in the shape of the Xbox One X, but the processing power of the Xbox Two will still outrank this significantly.
Another consideration for Sony with the PlayStation 5 will be the possible inclusion of a 4K Blu-ray drive. This was conspicuous by its absence in the recent PlayStation 4 Pro, with Microsoft having made some capital out of this decision in public statements. Nonetheless, even though a 4K optical drive would be advisable, streaming is clearly increasingly important, and most 4K video content will surely be delivered via this virtual medium.
Speaking of streaming, both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Two will need to deliver robust streaming platforms, even though the advent of the discs being phased out remains uncertain. Gamers have voted with their feet with regard to physical media, and this means that there won’t be a version of either the PlayStation 5 or Xbox Two released without a disk drive.
But we could see AAA titles released in a streaming format from day one for the first time in the PlayStation 5 / Xbox Two generation. This is certainly dependent on broadband speeds, and there is no doubt that consoles have faced technical difficulties in delivering this thus far. But both Sony and Microsoft have displayed an enthusiasm for streaming that will only escalate in the coming years, meaning that this could be a real emphasis of the two consoles when they are released.
Virtual reality will also be a major focus of the next generation consoles, with Sony expected to bring out a second PlayStation VR headset when the PS5 emerges. By the time that the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Two release date is finalized, virtual reality will be more technically feasible than ever before, meaning that mainstream games could be delivered in this technological format. This will put pressure on Microsoft to deliver an acceptable virtual reality solution in the Xbox Two generation.
While Sony has dominated with its PlayStation 4 and a PlayStation 4 Pro releases, the history of video gaming tells us that such momentum can reverse rather rapidly. Microsoft undoubtedly dropped a massive clanger with the initial public relations campaign for the Xbox One, a mistake from which it has never truly recovered. So both camps will be focused on delivering a clear and attractive marketing message, alongside an outstanding console release, when the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Two emerge.