In a bit of news that will possibly leave some gamers frustrated, the Wall Street Journal is reporting analyst Damian Thong’s prediction that sony will be releasing its next-gen PlayStation “by the second half of 2018.” By that time, the PS4 and Xbox One will have been out for (only) five years, when the previous console generation went strong for nearly a decade.
The question, which is not answered in the report, is if this will be yet another nail in the coffin of console life cycles, and just be another hardware upgrade that’s fully backwards compatible like Xbox’s Project Scorpio. But, this report is taken seriously because Thong correctly predicted the PS4 Slim and PS4 Pro console releases. He very well could be right, and so gamers should start preparing.
The idea of a strict console hardware upgrade, dividing playerbases and confusing some consumers, is losing its steam as consoles are starting to move towards quasi-PC gaming hardware upgrades. Rather than play a system for 7-10 years, what we’re seeing out of the PS4 Pro, the Xbox Slim, and soon, the Xbox Project Scorpio, is intermittent upgrades that will allow gamers to play all of their games with increased graphical fidelity and features. Bigger hard drive, better graphics, compatibility with the latest TVs — why diverge from that?
According to the report, more than 60 million units of the PlayStation 4 have been sold since its introduction in 2013. We’re assuming they mean the standard launch edition, the PS4 Slim and the PS4 Pro, which boasts a better video card and processor as well as 4K output. Other reports put the numbers at 60 million units shipped, which is different than sold, but they’re on deck to find a good home soon enough. The fact that Sony is dominating this console “generation” could be evidence that this will be just another upgrade to fight the Scorpio, not a PS5.
That said, if a PS5 can play and store all of a user’s old software, and the PSVR is compatible, then all it is a name change, and gamers get what they want without affecting the solid foundation Sony has built.
When will we know if this report has any teeth? Perhaps E3, but as Gamespot points out, the PS4 Slim and PS4 pro were announced a week and two months before launch respectively. If this is a true “PS5” then the marketing will go into overdrive, but if it’s a slightly more expensive system that will replace the PS4 Pro, then we could get an announcement right before launch.
Interesting times in these console wars.