What PlayStation’s E3 2017 Tells us About The PS5

E3 2017 is here, and now that Sony’s press conference is over, there’s still no word on the PS5. While we already predicted this, analysts such as Damian Thong were convinced that the PS5 would be releasing in 2018, and at this point that seems nearly impossible. Still, E3 2017 gave us a few juicy pieces of information, including a look at Microsoft’s Project Scorpio, which has been revealed as the Xbox One X. Join us as we look at the implications of this year’s announcements and what they mean for the PS5! 5 Things E3 2017 Told Us About The PS5 1. Sony’s Not Ready to Talk Next-Gen The words “PlayStation 5” were not uttered during Sony’s press conference. In fact, nothing about hardware was even discussed. This year, it was all about the games. Sony is happy to continue riding on their wave of success. After all, the PS4 has sold 60 million units and that number continues to grow. Furthermore, the PS4 Pro and PlayStation VR have been selling very well. It’s not time to take that next step, and Sony knows that. While some may have thought the Xbox One X would force their hand, they remained quiet on the next-gen subject and let the games do the talking. 2. The PS5 Won’t be Coming in 2018 Despite predictions from analysts, the PS5 isn’t coming in 2018. Manufacturers tend to announce consoles at least a year in advance. Even if Sony wanted to discuss PS5 at E3 2018, they wouldn’t be releasing until 2019 at the earliest. Why, you ask? Well, for starters the PS4 Pro isn’t very old at all, and there’s no reason to ditch it yet. PS4 gamers are happy for now, because they’ve got the best games on any platform, and the quality just continues to grow as time goes on. The PS4 isn’t ready to sing its swan song, and VR isn’t matured enough to release another headset just yet. This is why we’re still sticking with our 2020 release date. 3. The Xbox One X Isn’t Next Gen (But PS5 Will Be) The Xbox One X is an impressive console from a hardware standpoint, but when compared to the highest levels of PC technology, it’s not truly next generation hardware. Furthermore, it’s so focused on 4K and HDR that it’s not being used to its fullest potential. While it’s more powerful than PS4 Pro, it’s functionally the type of system. It’s meant to do 4K and perhaps some graphical enhancements in specific titles, but it doesn’t have the sheer “wow” factor that a truly next-gen system would offer. This is probably why Sony is letting Microsoft have the win with the power play, because they’re working on PS5 and it’s going to make Xbox One X look like a child’s toy. 4. VR is Still a Safe Bet For The PS5 Sony’s support for PlayStation VR has been strong, and their press conference this year announced some interesting new titles. … Read More

Virtual Reality is The Future (Sorry 4K TVs)

When a new technology emerges, it can go one of two ways: either it will claim a place in the halls of gaming greatness, or it will be doomed to fade into history. We’ve seen it time and time again. HD-DVD vs Blu-ray, motion controllers vs standard inputs, and so on. Now we’re in an age where your TV can have 4K resolution, and if you’re really feeling lucky you can also have a virtual reality headset. Virtual reality is nothing new, but this is the first time we’ve seen it hit a mainstream stride. In fact, the concept of VR has been around since the 1980’s when the term was first coined. Quite a fad to have lasted this long, but that does that mean that this attempt will be the one that sticks? Will the steady advancements in VR finally win over the masses? Join me as we discuss the future of gaming. A Brief History of Virtual Reality According to the Virtual Reality Society, virtual reality was a term that came into the public eye in 1987 when a scientist named Jaron Lanier coined the term. The concept became the focus of science fiction and other forms of film and literature as time went on. We all remember Nintendo’s foray into this realm with the Virtual Boy in 1995. After numerous headaches (quite literal ones), this attempt flopped. Since then, virtual reality has still appeared in all kinds of fictional work, but beyond some amusement park rides, it didn’t seem like something that would ever come home. I remember my first experience with VR at the popular Disney Quest attraction. Looking back, I realize how crude this technology was, but man was it awesome. It was pretty uncomfortable, though, as the headset was huge and the only sizing option was a massive crank on the back of the device that squeezed your head like it was in a vice. Jump forward to 2016 and virtual reality has finally come to fruition. You have the higher-tiers like the HTC Vive that, combined with the cost of a capable PC, will cost you one of your kidneys, and then you have the slightly less expensive Oculus Rift. Sony came out with PlayStation VR in October of 2016 and brought the most affordable option to the masses. It works with your PS4 and even better with a PS4 Pro. While still expensive, it brings real VR to your living room. Yes, the screen isn’t 4K, but we’ll get to that in a moment. At this point, VR is still very young in terms of a mainstream option. Meanwhile you have wildcards like augmented reality and Microsoft’s HoloLens. Not only that, but now Microsoft is bringing Windows 10 VR headsets out from a variety of partners. While it certainly seems like major publishers like Sony and Microsoft are all embracing VR, along with the mobile options from Google and Samsung, is this a clear sign that VR is here to stay? … Read More

The 4K Dilemma: How PS5 Will do What PS4 Pro Won’t

The PS4 Pro (previously known as the PS4.5 or PS4 Neo), releases in November of 2016. For the first time in the gaming industry, we’ll have a new console release with better hardware and more capabilities that still exists within the same generation. That’s right, the PS4 Pro is not the PS5, it’s something new. Furthermore, the extra power isn’t able to run games in native 4K as of yet. Instead, Sony has opted to upscale games to this higher resolution. Combine this with the lack of a 4K Blu-Ray player, and you have to wonder how all of this fits together. Today, we’ll break down the details of the PS4 Pro and ultimately use it to peek into the future and find out what Sony is planning for the PS5. Mark Cerny Breaks Down the PS4 Pro Mark Cerny is the system architect for PlayStation. He’s also been involved with countless other game franchises like Crash Bandicoot, Uncharted, Spyro, and even Ratchet & Clank. He worked on the PS4 and now he’s sat down with The Verge to talk about the approaches he took to PS4 Pro. It’s safe to say that Mark, and his wonderfully smooth voice, will also be the architect on the PS5. Moments like these offer a lot of great insight into what he and Sony are thinking. For starters, the PS4 Pro is indeed 2.28 times more powerful than the PS4. The first caveat, even with this power, is that not everything will run in native 4K resolutions. When asked about the new GPU, Cerny revealed that it’s not actually new. Instead, they decided to install a second GPU that’s almost identical to the first one with a 14% boost to 911MHz. The standard PS4 hits 1.8 teraflops, but the Pro is bringing 4.2 teraflops to the table. The same eight Jaguar CPU cores are being used, but they’ve been clock at higher speeds. Furthermore, the RAM has a higher bandwidth, and they’ve also added an additional gig of conventional RAM to boost the speed of menu applications and switching between them. This power allows the system to hit native 4K in certain situations, and what Cerny calls “extremely close to 4K” in others. For games like Call of Duty and Horizon: Zero Dawn, the system uses a workaround called checkerboard rendering. This allows the system to reach 2160p resolution by changing the way pixels are arranged so the resolution is in fact higher. Other games will use this same technique to run in 1080p. As you may already know, a shocking amount of titles only run at roughly 900p on PS4, so this will also offer a boost for 1080p television owners. Games will require a “Pro” mode or a patch to take advantage of the extra hardware. This means that games will run the same on the new system unless modified to use the extra power. For 1080p television owners, the difference won’t be huge, but developers can use this power to … Read More

The Destiny of VR vs TV’s Battle: Only One Survives

Virtual reality lived and died over twenty years ago. Simply put, thing like the Virtual Boy didn’t cut it. Now, after Oculus Rift was swiftly Purchased by Facebook for $2 billion dollars, suddenly virtual reality is making a comeback. Everyone and their grandmother is bringing out a VR headset, which begs the question: “Will virtual reality replace television?” The answer, as you can imagine, is complicated. Should VR succeed, it was most certainly take over. Then again, there’s always the chance it will flop. Let’s take a look at both sides of the coin and decide which device will rule your living room. Goodbye 60-inch, Hello VR Headset! There’s most certainly a crowd that believes televisions will become a relic. Among them is the founder (and recently made very rich) owner of Oculus Rift: Palmer Luckey. While the price of his headset is astoundingly high, the fact that it has Facebook backing it up means it will have massive mainstream exposure. Then you have Sony who is going all in on PlayStation VR which is a similar headset for the PS4. On top of that, Microsoft is slowly but surely perfecting their HoloLens augmented reality headset. Sprinkle in the HTC Vive which is being sponsored by Steam/Valve, and you have yourself a growing market of devices ready to do battle with one another. Palmer Luckey, in an interview with Maximum PC said some interesting things on the subject: “Why in the world would you buy a 60-inch TV that, even if it were dirt cheap for that, it’s still going to cost a lot to ship it and make it from raw materials. A VR headset is going to be much better and much cheaper and you can take it anywhere.” Luckey has some points, but his claims are clearly based on his infatuation with VR seeing as how he started a company about it. Like many other radical claims, the quote was met with plenty of scorn and a few attacks at Luckey himself. People tend to react drastically to major changes like this. Palmer Luckey isn’t the first person to make a bold claim about his industry is going take over, and he won’t be the last. For someone who is just entering the industry, a major win like Facebook purchasing you is bound to go to your head, and it also adds a huge amount of pressure to convince the people you interact with that your product is the one and only option for the future. Realistically, the future Palmer Luckey envisions won’t be here anytime soon. Nothing in the gaming/electronics industry is drastic. Sure, you have plenty of upgrades and iterations, but its very rare that a technology is swept under the rug overnight. It’s a gradual change, with HD-DVDs being the exception (sorry, but does anyone actually remember those?). The issue that people have is they are comparing the Oculus Rift launch model with, say, a 4K TV that just hit the market. To put … Read More

PS5 to Release in 2020 With Two Versions and VR Portability

In the gaming industry, it’s not uncommon for consoles to release with several versions either at the beginning of the cycle, or later in its lifespan. Now that gaming has become as huge and mainstream as, say, smartphones, rumors are speculating that the PS5 will take a hint from the major cell phone companies and release two versions of the console at different price points, and with different features, to reach a wider audience. One version of the PS5 will be a core setup with only the most basic of features and capabilities. The other version will offer a more robust setup for hardcore gamers. For both versions of the console, an option will also be present to make the option portable via a virtual reality headset similar to the upcoming PlayStation VR. Join me as we look at the two widely different versions of the PS5 and how VR will replace the traditional handheld system like the 3DS or the PlayStation Vita. PS5 Version One: The Core Experience The PlayStation 4 is already outselling the Xbox One by 2:1. It’s clear that there are a healthy amount of gamers who love the PlayStation brand. The problem is that past consoles have come out as price points upwards of $600. When the PS4 released at $400, the average gamer saw a next generation console within reach. Meanwhile, the Xbox One comes out at $500 and, well, we all know how that ended. Even so, it still sold, just not quite as well as PS4. Turning our perspective for a moment, let’s take a look at the smartphone industry. There’s never a single version of a phone. At launch there may be one, but soon they’ll introduce another, and another. In the case of the iPhone, there’s almost always two versions at launch. So, let’s fast forward to 2020. The PS5 is coming out and Sony is offering two options to reach the most gamers possible. The first is one called the The Core Experience. This version of the console contains all of the hardware needed to run the games (and connect to the cloud). It will have a massive hard drive upwards of 5 Terabytes or more. This is just the storage space for standard hard drives. What’s more likely is that the Pro version of the PS5 will feature a Solid State Drive (SSD) that is quickly outpacing the hard drive technology we have. Nobuo Hayasaka, a managing executive director at Toshiba and chief engineer of its Semiconductor & Storage Company spoke at the SEMI Members Day in Tokyo on August 20, 2015. During this time, he made the bold comment that SSD drives would reach a capacity of 128 terabytes in 2018. By the time the PS5 releases in 2020, this type of storage could be included in a more premium system package. The console will come with the new controller and all of the equipment needed to play your games in 4K resolution. It will probably retail … Read More

10 Gaming Trends Today that are Influencing the Future

The PS5 is coming, but what form it will take continues to be an object of discussion. To truly predict the future, we would need a time machine, but I think we can all agree that trends can easily lead to standards. Looking at what the industry is doing as a whole gives us a unique and exciting opportunity to see where everyone’s heads are at. This kind of knowledge translates to predictions that we can use. So, without further delay, let’s take a look at ten big trends in the gaming industry right now, and what they mean for the next generation of consoles. Using 10 Trends to Predict the PS5 Keep in mind that these trends can suggest a number of things about the PS5. In some cases, it could affect how we’ll play games on the PS5, or it could affect the types of games we’ll see on the new console. In each case, these trends cause ripples in the gaming industry that lead to other effects. We can’t rule any of them out. Let’s take a look, shall we? 1. Virtual/Augmented Reality Much like how Microsoft and Sony fought the Blu-ray and HD-DVD wars of old, the two are at it again. Sony has PlayStation VR (previous known as Project Morpheus), and Microsoft has the HoloLens. Both are devices you wear on your head that change the game entirely. In the case of PlayStation VR we’re looking at total immersion in another world. You see the game all around you, and you can look in any direction you like as if you were standing there. With the HoloLens, the world in front of you changes or molds to the game’s needs. What does this say for the future? Well, it shows that controllers may not be the gold standard for how we play games in the future. It shows that we may be using other devices (like a headset) to control our games. Whether or not that headset transports us to another world, or augments our own, remains to be seen. 2. Games Come to Life With the rise of things like Skylanders, Disney Infinity, and now Lego Dimensions, it’s clear that games are extending beyond just a disc. We’re seeing toys that interact with the games more so than ever. It’s a 3 billion dollar industry now and still counting. Something that makes this much money isn’t going anywhere. On top of this, we’re also seeing cross-media experiments. Take the Defiance game for example. While the show has since been canceled, the online game ran parallel to the show while it was running. Projects like these that bridge the gap between television and games are starting to emerge as well. From a business standpoint, this increases brand exposure. From a gaming standpoint, it brings the games out into our daily lives and incorporates them into our world. Don’t be surprised if you start interacting with your movies or television in shows on the PS5, or … Read More

Is PlayStation VR Holding Back the PS5 Release Date?

It’s no secret that the PS4 is an incredibly successful next generation console thus far. With over 20 million already sold and counting, it’s putting the other options to shame. There is one small issue though: it doesn’t have enough power to sustain itself for a full life-cycle. While the PS4 specs are impressive compared to the PS3, they are dwarfed by modern PC standards, and will continue to fall behind as time goes on. That’s most likely why Sony has already begun work on the PS5. They know the hardware doesn’t add up for the long-term with how fast things are progressing, but they also don’t want to shoot the PS4 in the foot just after its gotten a good sprint going. Some believe the PS5 will be hear as soon as 2017, and while the new console may be ready by then, it doesn’t look like Sony is going to let it go free until the time is right. Image via PlayStation Blog A little virtual reality headset called PlayStation VR is set to release in 2016 for the PS4. Is this accessory part of Sony’s plan to keep the PS4 relevant until such a time that they need to reveal the PS5? Let’s find out. Throwing Fuel on the Fire PlayStation VR is expected to release sometime in the first half of 2016. At the most recent Game Developer’s Conference, Sony showcased a prototype of this VR headset with the following specs: 1920 x 1080 RGB OLED Display 120hz refresh rate 5.7-inch display nine LEDs for position head tracking Again, respectable, but not ground-breaking. Other companies are pulling out their own virtual reality solutions such as the Oculus Rift and Valve’s recently unveiled headset. That being said, now that pre-orders have begun on the Oculus Rift, people are shocked to see that the device is running $600! On top of this, that price is said to be a loss for the company, not a profit. How much would they have to charge to turn a profit on these things? If PlayStation VR sells for $600, the same price as the PS3 at launch, then it’s going to run into problems. People paid $399 for their PS4 system, why would they pay more than that for an accessory? It’s a question that Sony is going to have to answer, and soon. Sony is making a smart decision by creating this accessory for the PS4. With the popularity of VR on the rise, the market is poised to explode, and with 20 million plus PS4 owners out there, the install base leaves a lot of opportunities to sell this new product. If Sony supports it with games, they will have a good couple of years to ride on. This is clearly a move to grow the potential and sucess of the PS4 which suggests that Sony is in fact biding their time, waiting until the PS4 has run its course before unveiling the next console. What do you think … Read More

Forget The PS5, Our Entire Universe Could be a Video Game!

“From the point of view of science it’s a catastrophic idea, the purpose of science is to understand reality. If we’re living in a virtual reality we are forever barred from understanding nature.” – David Deutsch When we talk about video games, one of the main aspects of a great and engaging experience is immersion. We love to be pulled into the world of the game so much so that the world around us fades away. The concept of being fully submersed in the game world, be it through great atmosphere or virtual reality, doesn’t scare us. Do you know why? It’s because we can leave whenever we want. Games can be engaging, terrifying, frustrating, and many other things. No matter how much they pull us in though, we always have reality to retreat back to. Our real world may not be perfect, in fact, it makes us retreat into games to escape from it sometimes. What if it’s all the same though? What if the world you know as “real” is just a game too? You may be shaking your head, and why wouldn’t you? You know this world is real, you can touch your computer screen, you can taste food, you can breathe air, you’ve grown up, you’re growing older. So many reasons flood to your mind, assuring you that this is in fact, reality . You may be right, but then again, you could be wrong. I mean, Keanu Reeves was pretty convinced The Matrix was the real world in the movie, wasn’t he? Today, we’re moving past the PS5 and into another realm of philosophy. Today, we’re going to consider the reasons why our universe could be one giant simulation. The Science Side: The Holographic Principle and String Theory We know a lot of things about our universe, but in the grand scheme of things we know absolutely nothing. It’s frustrating to think about how much is still up in the air. For example, our current understanding of physics leaves a lot of unanswered questions about the nature of things like Dark Matter and Dark Energy. We don’t know much of anything about those two concepts, and yet they make up 95% of the total mass of the universe! One major pursuit of physics is something called a “theory of everything” which would explain how all the physical aspects of the universe work. One such candidate for this theory is something called “string theory” which suggests that the universe is composed of one-dimensional objects called “strings.” Without going to the point where we need a P.H.D to understand this, let’s move to a property of string theory called the “holographic principle.” This concept takes the idea that the cosmic strings in string theory exist in a lower-dimensional where gravity emerges in a way that seems projected or holographic. When we look into the universe, we’re seeing only the light that has traveled this far. The farther away we look, the older the image is. Light travels … Read More

Gaming with All Five Senses: the Evolution of Virtual Reality

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one – Albert Einstein For the most part, we’ve always known gaming as a medium that we interact with from a distance. Whether it’s a handheld or a home console, it’s always been us and it. The controller was our connection, our bridge between our world and the one in front of us. We’ve always imagined a type of game that puts us into the world. Virtual reality is the common term for it, but what if we went past simple visuals in front of us? What if we could, truly, step into another world. What would it take for us to become fully immersed? Reality is malleable in the sense that it’s different for everyone. Socrates’ Allegory of the Cave in Regards to Gamers Let me get philosophical for a moment here. Let us consider Socrates and his “Allegory of the Cave.” This concept boiled down essentially describes a cave where people have been chained down since childhood. They are forced to stare directly in front of them at a wall that is illuminated by a fire behind them. Between the prisoners and the fire is a walkway where others walk by holding objects and going about their lives. These people cast their shadows on the wall for the prisoners to see. Their voices also echo off the wall, making it appear as if these shadows are speaking to the prisoners. Socrates goes on to say that these shadows are reality for the prisoners. They know nothing outside of the cave and the figures they see on the wall. Now, the allegory goes on to describe what would happen if someone were to escape, but for our purposes, would you not agree that gamers thus far are very similar to these prisoners in the allegory? We’re accustomed to staying at arm’s length from the things we experience in games. Things are changing though. Gamers are escaping from the prison of a separated world and instead are boldly stepping into this brave new reality. The Current State of VR The Oculus Rift brought back to the forefront the concept of VR. Nintendo had the Virtual Boy back in the day, but that did nothing more than give people horrific migraines. After that VR was something you saw at places like Disney Quest and the occasional arcade. It was never a household thing. To look at the Oculus Rift, it looks like a piece of hardware that you strap over your eyes which then projects a 3D image for your eyes to perceive. You can move your head and view the world around you as if you were there. Quite exciting as a concept. This device began life as a kickstarter and was recently purchased by Facebook for two billion dollars! Another competitor in the current field is GameFace Labs which has their own high-powered wireless headset running on a custom Android-based VR operating system. Then you’ve got the Avegant which has … Read More