Last year, the Burn-In reported that the video game industry is transitioning away from a console-based paradigm. However, Sony clearly believes the sun hasn’t set on the era of gaming-specific hardware.
The corporation recently announced its next PlayStation will be a traditional system. Moreover, the ninth generation console will feature something gamers have wanted from the company for years: backward compatibility.
Next Generation PlayStation Specs
Mark Cerney, lead system architect on the PlayStation 4, told Wired the next generation system’s hardware will be able to run PlayStation 4 games. The programmer also revealed that the forthcoming console will support 8K graphics and 3D sound. It will also have an eight-core CPU featuring AMD’s Radeon Navi hardware and Rayzen 7nm Zen 2 processor architecture.
The fifth home console released under the PlayStation name will also include a solid-state drive, meaning interminable loading times will be a thing of the past. To illustrate the point, Cerney demonstrated that the new hardware was able to process fast travel mechanics 15 times faster than the PlayStation 4. He also stated the platform will run physical media and will be PSVR compatible.
Notably, the designer didn’t confirm the new PlayStation’s name. So Sony might break with the numbering convention it’s used for the product line since 1994. Whatever the entertainment company decides to call its new system, Cerney said it won’t be available in 2019.
The Disc-Free Xbox One S
Sony is committed to traditional console hardware, but its biggest rival has seemingly moved on. On April 15, it was reported Microsoft will sell a disc-free version of the Xbox One starting May 7. The All-Digital Edition Xbox features a 1TB hard drive and a near identical form factor to the One S. The system will also come packaged with download codes for “Minecraft,” “Sea of Thieves,” and “Forza Horizon 3.”
The disc-free console will retail for $249, making it $50 cheaper than the standard Xbox One S, which has an MSRP of $299. Additionally, digital Xbox purchasers will receive a coupon code for three months of the Xbox Game Pass subscription service for $1.
Jeff Gattis, Xbox’s general manager of product marketing, told Ars Technica the company priced the digital console to accommodate for its inability to play physical media. However, it should be noted that Amazon is selling various Xbox One S bundles for $249 or less. Consequently, it seems like Microsoft is really releasing the new console to gauge interest in a disc-free ninth generation console.
Accordingly, if gamers make the All-Digital Edition Xbox One S a hit, Microsoft’s next gaming system will likely also be disc-free. Conversely, if it’s a flop, the forthcoming platform will probably support physical media and game downloads. Given the console’s unfortunate pricing, weak sales figures are more likely than not.
Industry experts predict the tech giant will make an announcement regarding its new hardware at June’s 2019 Electronic Entertainment Expo. That event will also likely feature a presentation on the Google Stadia, including its as yet unrevealed release date and launch title list.
Sony vs. Microsoft vs. Google
Right now, Sony seems better prepared to take on Google for the future of gaming than Microsoft.
Wisely, the Japanese conglomerate is pinning its hopes on the PlayStation 5. The company is giving gamers the features they want the most as well as promising hardware advances. It’s holding onto its old business model, but in a way that suits the current marketplace.
Sadly, the American technology corporation is taking the opposite approach. It’s dividing its resources between an overpriced version of the Xbox One no one wants and a new system with amorphous specifications. With a major new player entering the console market with an innovative new platform, the firm couldn’t have picked a worse time to stumble.
Sony may have granted the console era stay of execution but Microsoft’s place in the gaming space suddenly looks a lot less certain.