The Future of Console Gaming
Since the dawn of console gaming, there has been a proxy war being waged behind the scenes. PlayStation versus Xbox with Nintendo desperately trying to win its own battles, every generation the battle continues. Each system tends to borrow pieces of technology from one another, but they also bring their own secret weapons to the table with each passing generation.
The future consoles, the PlayStation 5 hasn't been confirmed yet, but the PS4 Pro is here. The Xbox 2 made an appearance at E3 2016 under the code name "Project Scorpio." Microsoft is taking a bold step forward, while Sony taking a small step forward with the PS4 Pro. What's the deal?
Will Sony soon rebuttal with the PS5, or will PS4 Pro be the main act for a few more years? Are cycles even going to continue? These questions and more are about to be answered!
How Does PS4 Pro Affect Everything?
We should start by discussing the PS4 Pro, and how it fits into this iterative console atmosphere. Discussed the PS4 Pro prior to its release.This was his reasoning behind the console:
"Really very very simple: Just as was the case with PlayStation VR, we feel it's important to show people the new hardware, the new platform when we've got the full range of experiences that can take advantage of it."
That makes total sense, but with all the talk of console cycles going away, is the PS4 Pro a sign that we'll never see a true PS5, but a series of upgraded consoles instead? To this question, House responded:
"To be very clear, the high-end PS4, code-named Neo, that we are working on is an addition to the existing line-up, not a replacement. And perhaps we have an opportunity to move slightly away from just a static console that remains absolutely the same for a period of six, seven. eight years, and perhaps offer, in addition to the current PlayStation 4, something a little extra. Particularly – and I should stress this – in the area of graphic fidelity and games that will essentially play an awful lot prettier than games have previously."
Apparently, previous generations have lost gamers to PC in the later years of a cycle as the console's hardware starts to wane. The existence of PS4 Pro is meant to combat that, not replace the PS4.
This still leaves room for a PS5 down the line, it almost guarantees it in fact. Sony wants people to get value of their machine and most likely develop something that will crush Microsoft's next-gen offering when the time is right. In fact, I believe that Sony was purposefully waiting for Microsoft to show their hand so that PS5 could counter Xbox 2.
With that in mind, let's take a look at what kind of technology the PS5 could use once the PS4 and the PS4 Pro have finished their respective cycles.
Sony Focuses on Games and Experiences
In our article entitled “The Future of Entertainment” we discussed a probable vision for the PlayStation 5. Utilizing predictions made by Kurzwell for future technology, the vision of the PlayStation 5 came together to form a system that was powered by innovative new processors that are manufactured at a molecular level using nanomachines.
These processors will possess the intelligence equal to that of the human mind! It may sound like science fiction, but in less than ten years, it will be a reality.
Looking at technology in the field of virtual storage, we saw that the PlayStation 5 will be equipped with a hard drive as large as twenty five terabytes, which is the equivalent of twenty five thousand gigabytes! This kind of storage would be plenty to hold the massive games releasing on the system.
In addition, this storage would eliminate the need for physical discs. With the PlayStation 4, we’ve already seen a transition into the new digital age. Games can be purchased on the day of release and downloaded directly to the hard drive.
When the PlayStation 5 releases, we will also have general access to a new type of optics technology known as Light Peak. This lightning fast internet will be able to download data at a rate of one hundred gigabytes per second! Digital downloads will be playable almost instantaneously.
With new forays happening today in the field of virtual reality, the time of the PlayStation 5 will be heralded with virtual reality that is sleek, immersive, and intuitive. PlayStation has always been at the forefront of gaming with the latest graphics and the PlayStation 3 introduced the first completely 3D compatible system.
Knowing this, it is apparent that Sony has a clear and concise vision of a gaming system that once again will revolutionize the way we play games. With PlayStation 5, you will be submerged into the world of your games with fully 3D virtual reality that you can take with you on the go. The line between the real world and the game world will blur until the differences are no longer apparent.
Looking at the state of PlayStation in 2017, Sony is absolutely destroying the competition in terms of exclusive titles. Let's take a look at some of the titles out or coming out between now and the inevitable release of PS5:
- Horizon: Zero Dawn
- Persona 5
- Farpoint (VR)
- Statik (VR)
- God of War
- Uncharted: Lost Legacy
- The Last of Us 2
- Days Gone
- Nier Automata
While not all of these are exclusive to PS4 (some are on PC), you won't see a single one on Xbox One or Project Scorpio (Xbox 2). How's Xbox doing with the games, I hear you ask? Let's find out.
Microsoft Fires First With Project Scorpio (But Where Are The Games?)
Microsoft's E3 2016 press conference was one that will go down in history. During this presentation, they confirmed the existence of an Xbox One Slim. This new system has a few new features, but ultimately is the same as an Xbox One.
The final announcement of their show was the one that turned heads. Xbox President Phil Spencer took the stage and teased a new console. He promised that this will be "the most powerful console ever made." A few specs were mentioned like 8 CPU cores, true 4K resolution, VR compatibility, the works.
Phil Spencer said this new console is meant to remove the barriers that exist between innovation and technology. He promised it would contain the most powerful graphics processor every put into a console, and he promised six teraflops of processing power.
It's an impressive console to be sure, and the final specs are nothing to complain about. Here are the Project Scorpio specs:
- CPU: Eight custom x86 cores clocked at 2.3GHz
- GPU: 40 customized compute units clocked at 1172MHz
- RAM: 12GB of GDDR with 326GB/s bandwidthe
Project Scorpio will indeed be more powerful than PS4 Pro when it releases. But power isn't everything. You need games to back up the price tag. In this regard, Microsoft is sorely lacking.
A recent Forbes article brought up this very subject and got me thinking about the state of affairs for Microsoft. While they've always rode high on their flagship titles like Gears of War and Halo, they've found success in their more unique endeavors.
Namely, Scalebound. This game from Platinum had me a little jealous of the Xbox crowd. I mean, who wouldn't want a Devil May Cry style game with dragons? Well, early in 2017, Microsoft revealed that they were cancelling the Xbox exclusive, much to the dismay of everyone.
It was one cancellation in a string of them. Games like Phantom Dust and Fable Legends also met the same fate. As they're cutting all of these titles from their lineup, they're not replacing them with anything comparable. Sure, you have games like Halo Wars 2, Crackdown 3, and Sea of Thieves coming down the pipeline, but none of those are heavy hitters.
It doesn't help that even their recent exclusives (barring Forza) have been getting lukewarm reviews. Project Scorpio may be the most powerful console ever built, but if it doesn't have games to make it worthwhile, gamers will wait and stick around with Sony.
This has been a problem with Microsoft for years, so I don't see them suddenly turning it around before the PS5 releases. If anything, I think Sony is going to continue investing in new I.P and focusing on high-quality sequels from their biggest franchises. The momentum they have, and the talent the keep in their stable, means that this momentum will easily transition into the PS5.
Imagine Naughty Dog's first PS5 game. The simple thought of it makes my heart palpitate. Microsoft has Rare, which is admittedly a heavy hitter, but they've often been relegated to titles for the Kinect. With Sea of Thieves, they'll have a chance to return to their roots, but newcomer studios haven't been impressing with their titles in the Halo and Gears franchises.
343 Industries and The Coalition, who work on Halo and Gears respectively, need to step up their game if they want to match the quality of the studios who started those franchises. Furthermore, Microsoft needs to stop cancelling games and start investing in new franchises if they want a chance to compete with Sony.
In the meantime, we'll just keep rolling in these delectable exclusives from Sony.
The Verdict: “The Consumer always wins.”
It has been said that competition is healthy for the consumer, because it forces competing manufacturers and developers to innovate and push the envelope. This has been seen time and time again in the continued console wars. The PlayStation 5 will undoubtedly continue Sony’s steadfast focus on creating rich and immersive gaming experiences. Movies and music will follow, but gaming will always remain their focus.
Even so, the competition between these two titans of the industry will forever push the limits of what it means to be a gamer, and I think we can all agree that is, in and of itself, a victory for all.
After what happened with the PS4 vs the XBox One what do you think will happen next? Share your thoughts below.