An air of uncertainty seems to be building in the games industry, and with E3 round the corner the rumour mill slowly starts to whir into life. Recently we have seen Microsoft partially reveal their hand for Project Scorpio, giving us an insight into their plans for the future. But that only brought about more questions than it did answers for many, one such question being how long can we expect our consoles to last? More pertinently; what are Sony’s plans and can we expect to see PlayStation 5 any time soon?
My initial reaction to the latter question would be no, but when you think about it a little more it doesn’t seem that farfetched. Inevitably Scorpio will unsettle Sony somewhat as, based on specs alone, Scorpio already seems to be a much better proposition than its counterpart; the PS4 Pro. Sony were the first to offer their 4K capable version of the latest consoles, with Microsoft taking somewhat of a backseat before showing their hand. Maybe this was a lesson learned from the launch of the Xbox One or a tactical ‘Let’s wait and see what they do’ approach.
Sony find themselves in a tricky situation here as they will want to stand by PS4 Pro and the PS4 itself for as long as possible, giving consumers justification their money was well spent. By the same token though, they will want to compete with Microsoft and give their fans the best experience they can. So do they stick to their guns or look to out-muscle Microsoft by kick starting a new generation of consoles? If you think about it, PS4 will be five years old in 2018 so some people might be getting twitchy thumbs.
It’s a fine balance that needs to be struck by Sony as the appeal of home consoles is to not have to upgrade or buy new hardware for as long as possible without feeling outdated. On the flipside, both Sony and Microsoft seem to think the future of console gaming lies in progressive upgrades rather than new consoles altogether so their next step would need to be a considered one.
All said and done, new shiny hardware is an enticing prospect and there’s always a thrilling buzz surrounding a new console launch which people get caught up in. In order for that to be achieved though this needs to be a launch timed correctly otherwise it could fail before it even launches. The difficulty here being, if PS5 launched in 2018, how much longer would PS4 be supported? New hardware can’t be held back by the limitations of the previous console, but owners of the previous machine can’t suffer from not having a machine that gives them the latest and best titles. Imagine PlayStation owners being told that the Last of Us 2 is coming out but only for PS5 and won’t run on PS4. I don’t think that would go down very well.
But if this meant that Sony stayed in front of the pack, would this be a risk worth taking? They were considered to be the winners of this generation cycle so would their best bet to be at the forefront of the next wave of consoles in order to keep their dominant title? Only they can make that call but the success of a console ultimately lies in the availability of games and their quality so they wouldn’t want multi-platform titles running better on a rival console. Nor would they want their exclusives to be held back due to hardware constraints.
Whichever way you look at it, you can see both pro’s and con’s for both sides of the argument so it’s a debate which will divide the opinions of many. Personally, I don’t think we’ll see PS5 launch next year and I don’t think we’ll see typical console generations anymore. I think we will start to see slightly upgraded versions available every few years, much like Scorpio, giving us more power for bigger and better titles.
If Sony are happy that PS4 and the Pro are enough to keep them afloat, then they must be confident in their upcoming catalogue of titles and whatever they may have in the pipeline. E3 is probably going to be an interesting one this year…