By Christopher Morris
The latest rumors about Sony’s next generation PlayStation 5 indicate that we might see the new console as early as 2018. This would very much fit in with the belief of analysts that the PlayStation 4 generation is likely to be shorter than the lifespan of previous consoles. The main reason for this is that the current generation consoles are already somewhat out of date with available technology, and thus both Sony, and the competing Microsoft, are slaving away behind closed doors to work out what the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Two will look like.
Sony PlayStation 5 – Five times more powerful
With this in mind, rumors have emerged recently which suggest that Sony’s next generation PlayStation 5 will be five times more powerful in performance terms than the PlayStation 4. It is certainly essential for the Japanese corporation to pack the PlayStation 5 with as much power as possible, as this is one of the big Ppoblems that the PlayStation 4 is facing. Although Sony’s current generation console has massively outperformed the Xbox One, its inability to deliver state of the art gaming and features means that the PlayStation 5 will emerge sooner than Sony would perhaps wish for.
Central to the desire to improve the power of the PlayStation 5 will be delivering 4K graphics, and it is already suggested that this will be achieved via AMD technology. Sony has been something of a pioneer with regard to 4K, having already released the first ever mass-market 4K resolution smartphone. And it seems certain that this new display technology, already part of the entertainment landscape, will have gone mainstream by 2018.
So there are plenty of reasons to suppose that Sony may already be working on the PlayStation 5, and another such example emerged this week. A job listing was posted by Sony, suggesting that the company is seeking game game developers for a forthcoming video games console. The listing in question was for the position of Senior Game Programmer, with the job description giving away significant details about the proposed PlayStation 5.
Next generation programmer
The role of the programmer was to play a major part in developing a game for the Sony PlayStation, with this title ultimately be utilized in order to test the next generation gaming system. Indeed, the Sony advertisement notes that the game will be used “for R&D purposes related to our next generation gaming system.” The advertisement goes on to describe this job as a “very rare opportunity.”
Although the advertisement that didn’t specifically mention the PlayStation 5, it is a reasonable assumption that this is the device that Sony is indeed testing. It is obvious that the corporation would not require a game programmer for the existing PlayStation 4, so rumors are naturally already circulating that Sony is working on the next generation PlayStation 5. Although there is also the possibility that this advertisement could be related to the forthcoming project Morpheus Virtual reality system.
Reports this week have also suggested that Sony will be opting for upgraded AMD microprocessor when the PlayStation 5 is released. The inclusion of AMD would also enable Sony to ensure backwards compatibility from day one. This has been a complaint from gamers in previous console generations, and has become a weakness with recent console releases.
With the PlayStation 5 likely to embrace virtual reality in a big way, developers will have massive challenges with this new console. But these challenges shouldn’t be seen as a negative, it is also an exciting time for video game manufacturers, as they have the opportunity to reimagine the entire industry.
Yoshida speaks out
Confirming this trend, Shuhei Yoshida, President of Sony’s Worldwide Studios for Sony Computer Entertainment, has emphasized that the corporation will be providing full freedom to developers for the next generation console. Yoshida was keen to emphasize in an interview in California that game creators would not be inhibited at all when the PlayStation 5 is released.
Indeed, Yoshida suggested that Sony would collaborate closely with video game manufacturers during the development of the PlayStation 5 with the intention of ensuring that Sony ultimately produces the console that game creators desire. Yoshida implied that there would be a very open process in which the pros and cons of the PlayStation 4 were discussed in depth, with the intention of eliminating any weaknesses included in the current generation console when the PlayStation 5 is released.
Yoshida spoke of developers being able to “create their vision”, which in an era of ultra-fast processors, 4K resolution and immersive virtual reality technology is a very exciting prospect for gamers.
In another recent report on the PlayStation 5, the editor of the PlayStation Magazine, Ben Wilson, told the electronics website TechRadar that there is a possibility that the PlayStation 5 could turn out very different from what many people are imagining. Far from the high-spec beast that many are predicting, Wilson suggested that considering the immense growth of downloadable games that there is at least a possibility that the upcoming PlayStation 5 console will place a greater emphasis on streaming.
This is something that would clearly appeal to game manufacturers, who are generally opposed to physical media for several reasons. Piracy can still be an issue with DVDs and Blu-rays, while the hassle of manufacturing physical discs is not something that game developers relish.
Furthermore, streaming services would make it more feasible for the industry to switch to a revenue model based around subscriptions rather than ownership. Many gamers oppose this, but at the same time aspects of the contemporary gaming industry, such as downloadable content, have somewhat prepared then for this unpalatable prospect.
Nonetheless, Wilson also predicts that physical media will not be phased out completely with the PlayStation 5, despite the success of Steam on the PC. Many gamers continue to prefer special editions and exclusive packaging to what Wilson describes as “invisible downloads”, and this predilection should ensure that the beloved boxed game remains part of the makeup of the PlayStation 5.