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PlayStation 5 and Xbox Two: How the Next Generation of Consoles Will Move Gaming Forward

The next generation of consoles should be coming around the bend soon. We make some educated guesses as to what they'll look like.

Feature by Mike Williams, .

The concept of a console generation is a fluid one. These eras are defined by the dominant console or group of consoles in competition with one another. The true beginning and end are fuzzy though: is it when the first console of that generation launches or when the most popular console of that generation drops? To understand how weird "generations" can be, the Nintendo Switch is technically of the ninth console generation, with the eighth generation including Nintendo Wii U, Sony PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. The Switch has kickstarted the generation technically, but its competition may not launch for many years now.

For the purposes of this article, I'm defining the "next generation" as beginning with the launch of the next PlayStation and Xbox. The Switch is here as a unique hybrid of home and portable console, but what will the next iterations of the major home console brands look like?

The Nintendo Switch has already begun the next generation, technically.

When Will the Next Generation Begin?

By 2020, our current generation of consoles will start to pull even with the longest in recent history. The sixth generation was as long as six years—the PlayStation 2 launched in 2000, while its successor bowed in 2006—or a short as four years, marking the time from the launch of the original Xbox to the Xbox 360. The seventh generation was lengthier, with the Wii to Wii U's six years, to eight years for the Xbox One replacing the Xbox 360.

So, an announcement of the next generation in 2019, with a subsequent launch in 2020 feels right to much of the industry. Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter told USgamer that he expects to see the next devices from Sony and Microsoft in 2020. This number was backed up by comments from NPD Group analyst Mat Piscatella to Gaming Bolt. Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot pointed towards late 2019 as the earliest new consoles would be coming from Sony and Microsoft.

"As Sony launched the [PlayStation 4 Pro] last year and Microsoft Xbox One X this year, we think we still have a minimum of two years in front of us before something new is coming," Guillemot said during an investors call in November 2017 (at around 49:30). "But that's our perception, we don't have any confidential information on that front."

Do the PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X change things for the next generation?

"We really like the fact that Sony and Microsoft are really putting more power in their machines, using the evolution of technology to give power to our developers to create better games for our players," he added.

The one outlier in this regard is Macquarie Capital Securities' Japan Technology Analyst Damian Thong, who correctly predicted the launch of the PlayStation 4 Slim and PlayStation 4 Pro. Thong told the Wall Street Journal that he expects Sony to release the next PlayStation in the second half of this year.

Despite his track record, it seems unlikely that the PlayStation 5 would launch this year, as we've heard next to nothing within the industry. You can keep a system a secret internally, but every developer and publisher that works on the platform vastly increases the chances of information leaking, and we've heard nothing. In addition, there are a host of major PlayStation 4 games at least that seem to be 2019 releases, including Days Gone and Ghost of Tsushima.

A mockup of a potential PlayStation 5 logo.

What Form Will It Take?

A generation isn't just Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo though. Like Nintendo has done with the Switch, other competitors will be entering the space, potentially changing what a console is. In the fourth generation, a home console was a cartridge-based system. The sixth generation systems were all disc-based, while the seventh generation embraced online connectivity as a standard.

There are numerous directions this generation can go. Will we see more powerful hardware, continuing to push 4K gaming as the growing standard? If that's the case, that hardware be an ongoing evolution of the current generation, like the PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X, and a complete jump with unique infrastructure. Other options include consoles focused on additional technology like virtual reality, or a reliance on streaming technology.

PlayStation VR has been a success for Sony.

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

"Both PlayStation VR and Gear VR appear to have been successful ventures, and that makes it clear that there is demand for accessible VR. So I wouldn't be surprised at all if VR was a major component of the proposition for next generation consoles. That might simply take the form of improved performance, and perhaps a new bundled headset, with a 'this is the console you need for high fidelity VR'-style pitch attached to it.," Mode 7 co-founder Paul Kilduff-Taylor explained to us.

Some hardware manufacturers and technology companies are building standalone headsets focused purely on virtual reality or augmented reality. Facebook is working with subsidiary Oculus VR on the new standalone Santa Cruz headset and will be releasing the cheaper Oculus Go headset early this year. Magic Leap finally revealed its Magic Leap One headset towards the end of last year, offering wearable augmented reality for developers and enthusiasts. Google is also working with several manufacturers to make headsets for its Daydream VR program.

PlayStation VR has been relatively successful for Sony. The headset closed out 2017 with 2 million systems sold. That's a fraction of the 73.6 million PlayStation 4 systems sold worldwide, but it's just enough to be profitable. It's also enough to keep Sony and other developers making PlayStation VR games. Kilduff-Taylor doesn't see that as a primary focus of a home console at this point.

"I don't think anyone serious is going to go all-in on VR yet; I'm thinking of a standalone 'VR console' which doesn't connect to a TV here. We're a long way away from that. However, I can definitely imagine a situation in the next few years where this becomes a major selling point," he said.

You can already play games on Google's Chromecast.

Streaming Consoles

This generation will likely see the launch of several streaming consoles, even if they're not coming from any of the major home console owners. According to a report from The Information (subscription required, from Ars Technica), Google as been working on a streaming service code-named Yeti. This gaming service would offer a host of games to users via a subscription fee, pushing those games to existing Chromecast dongle or Google-developed gaming console.

For enthusiast-level gaming though, a streaming console has a number of issues, including latency and the bandwidth required for high-fidelity graphics.

"To my knowledge, there's no streaming technology out there yet which can provide the level of latency-free, reliable experience which most players demand," said Kilduff-Taylor. "The convenience of a console with downloadable games has been really well demonstrated, so I don't think it'll be the next generation which sees us moving away from that. When you have that system in place, there's no discernible advantage that streaming offers to the user."

A device like Amazon Fire TV or Apple TV could be used for a streaming games service.

That doesn't mean the idea of a streaming console is outlandish, merely that network infrastructure and player preference hasn't caught up yet. Another generation out, we could likely see an enthusiast-level home console built around streaming technology.

"Streaming will be a powerful force over the next ten years and will likely completely take over the console market in the generation after the next one (i.e. the Tenth Generation). This will be especially influenced by growing hardware requirements, the rising costs of GPUs, and the expansion of more advanced network infrastructure worldwide," Psyonix Vice President of Publishing Jeremy Dunham explained to USgamer.

"Even so, I don't think you'll see a complete abandonment of the physical or retail side in generation nine (the Nintendo Switch is already a proud member of that crew anyway) given how big the physical market still is—especially in countries with bad internet," Dunham added.

The Evolutionary Console

The appearance of the PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X outlined a future in which game consoles operate like smartphones and tablets: a sliding baseline of hardware power, where the overall infrastructure and operating system remains the same. In such a business model, a PlayStation 5 would just be a more powerful version of the PlayStation 4 Pro, running all of the same games and services. Pachter disagrees with this idea of the next PlayStation and Xbox.

"There will undoubtedly be a [PlayStation 5] before there is a [PlayStation 4 Pro Plus], if that’s what you’re asking. The next devices from each will be truly new consoles," he estimates.

Microsoft has previously released statements that point to a more evolutionary thought process when it comes to Xbox home consoles.

"For us, we think the future is without console generations; we think that the ability to build a library, a community, to be able to iterate with the hardware—we're making a pretty big bet on that with Project Scorpio. We're basically saying, 'This isn't a new generation; everything you have continues forward and it works.' We think of this as a family of devices," Xbox Head of Games Marketing Aaron Greenberg told Engadget two years ago.

The benefits of this model are long-term for platform holders and consumers. It allows for one continuous library from platform to platform, not unlike the PC. Consumers can upgrade to the latest, greatest console if they want to, but there's no immediate need. Publishers and developers don't have to worry about the early years of a console, when there's a limited install base.

"It's good from the hardware manufacturer's position as well, because you have a built-in way to remarket a console that's a few years into its life cycle while also staying close to a very competitive tech scene from the PC crowd," Psyonix's Dunham told us. "I was skeptical of the PlayStation 4 Plus and Xbox One X, but their successful integration into the existing console market showed that people can accept this sort of release strategy."

That said, the current model of generational upgrades works because its easier to sell the new hotness if it's actually a brand-new platform. Theoretically, the early sales of a PlayStation 5 would be bigger than a PlayStation 4 Pro Plus. So, I'm assuming at least Sony will create a new, discrete system, perhaps with some backward-compatibility.

A number of players buy a number of digital games, but not everyone wants to be digital-only.

Digital-Only

It's unlikely that the industry will translate over to digital-only gaming, though digital has been a larger part of sales for the last few years. Last year, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) released its annual report, Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry, which showed that digital sales accounted for 74 percent of all game revenue in 2016. (Digital revenue includes game downloads, subscriptions, downloadable content, and microtransactions.) Still, traditional publishers see physical as important and necessary for the foreseeable future.

"Consoles and disc drives probably stay around for a long period of time. I think it's the consumer deciding what's the easiest way for them to buy a game. And it may mean they no longer have a store down the street from them so they decide to buy it [digitally] maybe it's easier for them to do," said Electronic Arts CFO Blake Jorgensen at the 37th Nasdaq Investor Conference in December of last year.

Another reason consoles might stick to physical media in many cases is the growing support for 4K resolution in gaming. Unlike 3D television, 4K looks to be here to stay, as the Consumer Technology Association expects half of all digital displays sold in the United States in 2018 to be 4K Ultra-HD televisions. The problem is the games powering those televisions are getting bigger and bigger. As USgamer covered in a previous feature on 4K gaming, 4K-enhanced games are beginning to approach 100GB on more in size, without equal increases in bandwidth caps or download speed.

4K gaming means huge file sizes.

"This problem is just going to get worse as we push more resolution and wider dynamic ranges. There are a number of possible solutions to these issues, and certainly digital downloading of assets, à la carte, can help," Monolith Productions Director of Technical Art Matt Allen told USgamer. "Ultimately though, that’s just custom content management, not a new, or fundamentality different content creation strategy."

As games get bigger, it's harder for avid gamers to be fully digital. Instead, they have to rely on physical releases on Blu-Ray. Microsoft won a bit of positive reputation for including a 4K Blu-Ray drive for video content, but the PlayStation 4 Pro is still running a standard Blu-Ray drive. The problem here is a standard dual-layer Blu-Ray disc allows for 50GB of storage space; there is a BD-XL format offering 128GB of space, and Ultra-HD Blu-Ray discs top out at 100GB. Currently, publishers get around this by adopting a hybrid model where part of the game is on the disc, but 4K assets like textures and cinematics have to be downloaded.

And that's before the fact that we're only somewhat getting native 4K gaming with certain PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X games. For the next generation of consoles, it seems like native 4K and playable frame rates should be the baseline. Display manufacturers are already moving onto the next featureset: 8K resolution (7680 × 4320), dynamic HDR, and variable refresh rate, via the new HDMI 2.1 specification, putting our industry potentially on track for 8K gaming in the tenth generation.

What Will Power The Next Generation?

That leaves us with the ongoing march forward. The next PlayStation and Xbox will be whole new consoles, with their own games, services, and operating systems. Whether those systems are called the PlayStation 5, Xbox Two, or whatever their platform holders desire, they'll be what consoles have always been: big boxes that will go under or around your television, that play a combination of disc-based and downloaded digital games. So what about the innards of these potential beasts?

Currently, both consoles are powered by semi-custom Accelerated Processing Units (APUs) based on AMD's Jaguar architecture. An APU is a single chip that combines a central processing unit (CPU) and graphics processing unit (GPU) on a single unit, sometimes known as a system-on-a-chip (SoC). The Jaguar architecture is older low-power style that AMD started using in 2013. Either company could switch to technology from competitors like Nvidia, whose Tegra chip forms the basis of the Nintendo Switch, but it's more likely that they'll continue using AMD in the future.

AMD's Jaguar powers our current home consoles.

There is the possibility that Sony and AMD could decide to use a discrete CPU and GPU, which would be power-hungry, but offer more in terms of graphical processing power. A rumor reported by TweakTown stated exactly that, but it has yet to be followed upon and I'm just not seeing it. Home console manufacturers aim for horsepower, but they also take into account noise and energy draw.

PlayStation 4 architect Mark Cerny has already highlighted what he believes would be necessary for a true next generation console, as opposed to an upgrade like the PlayStation 4 Pro.

"Each new generation brings with it a new set of capabilities: CPUs, GPUs and the like but also controllers and new types of display devices. If you go back to the 1970s, it was colour TV. That was the new display device," Cerny told Digital Foundry in May of last year. Cerny pointed to a new CPU architecture, more memory, much more storage, and improved graphics capability, somewhere in the eight teraflop range. Currently, the PlayStation 4 Pro reaches 4.2 teraflops, while the Xbox One X achieves six teraflops.

So let's assume we're getting another AMD APU for these next consoles. For the new systems, we could be seeing something based on AMD's Zen architecture and Ryzen series of CPUs. AMD did its reveal of the Zen architecture at Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2016, so it apt to think you might see the processor being used in a gaming device. Our colleagues over at Digital Foundry speculated the same thing, even running a few benchmarks to see how performance would improve on a theoretical Ryzen-based console.

When paired AMD's current Vega GPU in a new APU, the next Xbox or PlayStation could definitely hit the threshold Cerny has set for a "new generation". The system would probably also need more RAM, probably 16GB of GDDR5 (or GDDR6!), and a 4K Blu-Ray drive. 1TB of storage space is not cutting it either, given that even disc-based games have to be installed on the system.

We can dream a bit bigger though. At CES 2018 this year, AMD showed off two Ryzen-Vega APUs—the Ryzen 5 2400G and Ryzen 3 2200G—and offered a roadmap of its new Zen 2/3 CPUs and Navi GPU. Zen+ will be a refresh of the Ryzen chip planned for this year, while Zen 2 is coming in 2019 and Zen 3 is planned for 2020. Navi is planned for 2019, with a Vega refresh, shrinking from 14nm to 7nm.

The PS4 Pro and Xbox One X are based on a 16nm process; a smaller chip means better performance and power efficiency. Basically, using a later architecture can lead to more powerful systems. So another, more powerful APU using a combination or Zen+ and Vega or Zen 2 and Navi could pay off in terms of a new generation of hardware.

Of course, all this power is nothing if publishers and developers can't work with the system. A benefit of Nintendo's partnership with Nvidia for the Switch is the latter company helped with the API and software libraries. It is much easier for developers to bring their games over from other platforms, which means more games overall. One of the reasons the PlayStation 3 lagged behind in the beginning of the seventh generation was the system's obtuse development environment.

"From a development standpoint, a great [software development kit] and development tools can make all the difference in the world. The easier it is for us to take our game between platforms without having to start all over again is the biggest win you can ask for as a studio. Power is great, but an effective way to harness that power is even better," Psyonix's Dunham concurred.


It's interesting to think about where home consoles will go in the next generation. Nintendo has already drawn a line in the sand with the Switch, which is a hybrid home and portable console. It's unlikely that Microsoft and Sony will follow suit though, leaving Nintendo its own unique space in the market.

"My suspicion is that the Switch is another classic Nintendo move to capitalise on a particular moment, rather than anything which is going to establish a long-lasting trend, so my guess would be that we won't see rival products from Sony or Microsoft," said Mode7's Paul Kilduff-Taylor.

It's likely that Sony and Microsoft's next consoles will look and operate in similar ways to the current Xbox One and PlayStation 4, just in more powerful iterations. So what will those platform holders offer to truly differentiate their new consoles? What will make them more than just the PlayStation 4 Pro Plus or Xbox One X Plus? Perhaps we'll see in two years.

My guess is that Sony and Microsoft have already started working on their next consoles. I'd expect the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Two to be powered by APUs based on the current Ryzen CPU architecture with 8-cores in combination with the Vega 11 GPU (maybe Vega 10?).They could go more future-proof, sure, but it's more likely that they'll take what they can get now to nail down the specs. Further, later chips will use a smaller 7nm process; AMD doesn't know if that will be reliable or yield the number of chips needed for a console production run. 14nm feels about right, as you get the boost in power and energy efficiency without going bleeding edge.

RAM will probably start at 16GB if either platform holder goes with GDDR5X or GDDR6, with 20GB being likely. (Maybe they'll get wild with High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) 2 RAM. Storage will probably start at 1TB, because that's a place manufacturers will try to save costs. An Ultra HD Blu-Ray drive will come standard.

And I'm reasonably sure that Sony will push forward on the PlayStation VR initiative with a new headset for the PlayStation 5. Microsoft is still working on its augmented reality HoloLens and the company got burned by Kinect, so I'd expect that not to be a selling point of the next Xbox. I also think Sony will try to hit the $399 price point if at all possible.

Those are just my gut reactions though, which aren't any better than your own. What form do you think the next consoles will take? Let me know in the comments below!

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Comments 22

  • Avatar for SuperShinobi #1 SuperShinobi 3 months ago
    I don't think there's any unproblematic "technical" way to group consoles neatly into generations. The concept has always been somewhat arbitrary. It works for similar consoles released around the same time, for example Genesis/SNES, PS1/Saturn, PS3/Xbox 360 or PS4/Xbox One, but breaks down when you try to shoehorn wildly different consoles like 3DO/N64 or Wii U/PS4 into the same console generation.

    2020 looks like a likely release year for the PS5 & next Xbox, although I wouldn't rule out late 2019. If they are released in 2020, it's very early to start talking about them. Personally I'm kinda hoping for Q4 2019.

    The PS4 and X1 GPUs were based on 2012's Radeon HD 7000 series, so next-gen consoles will certainly be based on at least Navi or even newer GPU tech.
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  • Avatar for qwilman #2 qwilman 3 months ago
    This isn't intended as a dig at this article, but gosh this really felt like the generation where we could've just hung out for like A SECOND. We're finally firmly at the point where the work required to outperform our consoles just isn't worth the time necessary to invest, we're settling in on little incremental upgrades and buying the not-best-version of whichever system you want doesn't even really make you miss out on anything, so why are we even worrying about a new generation yet?

    What is the PS4 not doing that you need it to do? What are we up against right now that we need a complete hardware reset within the next two years? I'm an artist with a keen eye for visual design and depending on the game I STILL can't tell the difference between a late-gen ps3 game and a ps4 one unless I'm side-by-siding the pictures.

    In what way are our graphics failing us? What are we missing in connectivity? What Things do we need and not have that can only be solved my hurling our systems into a drum of acid and spending my rent on a new box within the next two years?
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  • Avatar for MetManMas #3 MetManMas 3 months ago
    I'm not thrilled about the prospect of a PS5 or Xbox Another One on the horizon, but if we must go down this road again I'm hoping the new consoles will go for more of an Apple Store/Google Play model that was hinted at with the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X. Don't cut off the branches again.
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  • Avatar for SIGGYZtar #4 SIGGYZtar 3 months ago
    I just hope they don't hurt our power bills as much as the last two generations did.
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  • Avatar for LunarFlame17 #5 LunarFlame17 3 months ago
    I don’t know anything about the technical side of video game consoles, but it seems to me that there’s no reason why Sony, for example, couldn’t just make a more powerful PS4 Pro and call it the PlayStation 5. It would be great if consoles became true platforms, and I could bring my whole library of video games with me every time a new console comes out.
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  • Avatar for MetManMas #6 MetManMas 3 months ago
    @qwilman I can definitely relate. I was already of the opinion that the PS4 and Xbox One (and their upgrades), while never good enough for the techies, are still good enough that I wouldn't mind if they stuck around longer. Frankly, given the ballooning costs of AAA games and how they're taking notes from the F2P scene now, we could really stand to have console generations that run longer.
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  • Avatar for MetManMas #7 MetManMas 3 months ago
    @LunarFlame17 Agreed, definitely. In the digital age there's even less excuse to throw out the baby with the bathwater and keep doing the same old console cycle over and over and over again. I would definitely welcome a universal games library that persists between generations.
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  • Avatar for yuberus #8 yuberus 3 months ago
    @SuperShinobi There is certainly always an overlap and some fuzziness - dedicated first-gen systems were coming out for a few years after the first 2nd gen programmable hit stores in 1976. And honestly, the last wave of "2nd gen" consoles like the 5200 and Colecovision are such a major step above what came before it's really weird that they're categorized with consoles 6 years older than they are and not the ones that came out in 1983 (aside from external events). The 3DO being lumped in with the N64 works if you consider that particular generation being built around 3D gaming, but timewise it's a strange fit.
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  • Avatar for docexe #9 docexe 3 months ago
    I find it interesting that none of the experts talked to in the article expect a massive disruption in the market during the next generation. After all the crazy predictions during the prior generation never came to pass (“Mobile/cloud gaming/streaming/whatever will replace consoles altogether! W00t!”), it’s actually nice to see them being sober/realistic for once.

    And yes, the next generation is more likely to be iterative of this one. The major change will be that, with 4k TV sets becoming more common in the next two years and better processors in the pipeline, native 4k in console games will become the standard. Sony will continue pushing VR and things like PS Now, but neither one will become the primary features of the PS5 so much as nice additions. Hopefully Microsoft will make a better selling pitch this time, so the Xbox “Whatever” will be competitive. Having the two neck and neck is more beneficial in the long term than having a hegemonic leader. I also hope this time Sony manages to maintain some sort of retro-compatibility.
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  • Avatar for jeffcorry #10 jeffcorry 3 months ago
    I think I am in agreement with many of the other comments here. I really don't want a new console. My PS4 is awesome, but is it really THAT much better than my PS3? In some ways, definitely, but for the most part, it's all HD to me. Maybe a few less blades of ultra realistic grass.
    I'm not against a newer, more powerful console, but I am against dumping an entire library because of a console cycle. PC lets me keep my games running on newer tech. My iPhone has been really great about keeping compatibility. Why can't the consoles do the same?
    As much as I enjoy PS4, it really strikes out with the lack of PS1 and PS2 Classics. I have enjoyed the remasters (and believe me...that Shadow of the Colossus remake blows my mind!) for it. I don't mind paying again for a game that adds or upgrades the familiar experience, but leaving the PS3 library out in the cold, even if it was for really good tech reasons, was a bummer.
    Streaming games? Nah. The delay annoys me, and I want to have ownership (even in some form like a license) to the game.
    Digital? For me? Yes. My Switch library is almost completely digital. No games getting lost or broken.
    Whatever comes along in the future, I hope to be able to carry my library forward.
    Of course, I wouldn't mind a PS4/5 that took notes from the Switch and let me go portable...the lack of power is worth the trade off. I'd be willing to pay more to keep the power of the PS4 in a portable form. In my opinion, Breath of the Wild definitely gives Final Fantasy XV a run for its money in the art/graphics department, despite the weaker tech.
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  • Avatar for hexin #11 hexin 3 months ago
    Microsoft is definitely moving away from the discrete generation model. Everything they've said and done since Spencer took over the division shows us as much. Back compat, the One X, Windows cross-platforming, Game Pass and their own statements give us a view of games as a unending monolithic service that a varitey of devices tap into, not a portfolio of silos with definitive life cycles. The pitch to public is easy: "Xbox always has everything you want, from the latest hits to classics that you love to play over and over again." I'm willing to bet that the One X will be fully forward compatabile with everything released for Microsoft's next box, regardless of whether or not that system is marketed as part of a "new generation". That could be a huge advantage when dealing with 3rd parties, essentially saying "Here's an install base ready to buy the very best you can create, just tweak the settings a little bit so that it works on this slightly older hardware." Full backwards compatability also helps with publishers who are running a GaaS, as they won't be fighting against a tide of gamers migrating to new systems. They can just roll out a patch and keep on trucking.

    Sony's strategy going forward seems to be less focused, given the dabbling in game streaming and VR(both immature technologies that will likely be limited niches for some time to come), the teppid step towards 4K, the complete break from backward compatability and the general drop in support for their older systems. They aren't likely to release another PS4 with specs that are just similar to the One X, which means they will be moving firmly into the territory of next gen, at least by Cerny's definition. With that kind of a leap, will they continue to support the PS4/Pro with new titles or do they do a hard break similar to the PS3/4? Will the PS5 at least be backward compatable? It's hard to imagine it not being so given the current x86 architecture but it isn't clear that they are committed to maintaining the PS4's library into the future either. That alone has to be something of a concern for publishers running a GaaS, as they then could be forced into a postion of having to roll out additional support mechanisms in order to migrate players, at the very least.

    Nintendo's going to keep on pushing for the blue ocean and doing their own thing, and at this point it's hard to say they are even involved in the generation discussion anymore. The Switch broke away from everything that came before it within Nintendo, and it doesn't really line up with either MS or Sony as far as how their offerings compare(less power/hybrid utility, wonky online support). That said, they are using modern mobile tech now, so an iterative design makes sense, at least in the short term. Longer term, I think they'll going in yet another direction, chasing whatever they see as the next step in gaming. I can easily see the Switch family lasting a decade or more however, similar to what we saw with the GB/GBA and 3/DS families, so something new could be quite some time away.

    Overall, I think we may see a flip of MS and Sony again in this next "generation", as MS is best situated to move into the final, infinite generation of consoles and they seem to have the better grasp on where they are going overall. Yes, exclusive software is an issue for MS right now but they are only a handful of titles away from parity again and while Sony certainly has the lead right now, I think the generation reset will hurt them much more than MS in the long run.
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  • Avatar for MasterEMFG #12 MasterEMFG 3 months ago
    Perhaps we see MS wait and trump Sony this time around...

    Regardless, I would like to see a Strong 2TB SSD in either system
    a GPU on par with today's 1070ti
    an actual new processor not just some modded one again
    and good 1080p VR in mind.

    for an HMD, and I'd expect more out of SONY considering they are a good display maker and have some experience with it now. They made a great headset with amazing comfort and a better selection of apps than I expected at this point. Though their Move controllers and tracking are horrible their actual display and lack of SDE is impressive and something to build on. MS could simply make their console compatible with Vive and Oculus.

    I'd like 1080p standard, 150* FoV, inside out tracking, at least three tracking cameras and if possible by that point... Foveated rendering with developer support would also be nice if the tech gets up to that point within 2 years I think it would be great for the demand on hardware.

    I'd also like to see Microsoft incorporate Windows 10 as an app and open up their next gen console to PC games compatibility. Imagine an Xbox that you could play your Steam library on?! It would be a game changer for Microsoft.

    I understand a lot of this is a pipe dream and not affordable to the average consumer, but I would pay for it if it were a significant jump from either company.Edited March 2018 by MasterEMFG
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  • Avatar for manny_c44 #13 manny_c44 3 months ago
    I'll echo the tepid reaction to another generation happening soon. Processors have not made a huge leap for quite a while, 4k really doesn't appeal to most people... Most people will not dump their 1080p sets to move up, so the transition to that standard is going to be slow and then when you get there the difference is qualitatively minimal.

    I have a 5k monitor, and if I play games at half resolution I don't even register much of a difference after I actually get into it.

    I think the big leaps these past five years have been in rendering techniques (PBR) and live capture tools, like facial scanning and facial mocap, which are production-side innovations.
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  • Avatar for Fourfoldroot #14 Fourfoldroot 3 months ago
    I dont know why people keep going on about BC as if the lack of it means we lose all our old games. I still have all my games going back to the C64 I had as a kid. And yes, I am eager for next gen, as this gen was basically no more than a GPU upgrade, plus I'm looking forward to machines (at least PS5) with VR in mind from the beginning.

    For this I'll just repeat what I said in the other article:

    Unfortunately, because backwards compatibility has suddenly been heralded as the most important thing ever for the first generation I can remember, I suspect tat we'll get machines much like current gen. The CPUwill fortunately be a bit better balanced with the GPU this gen though. Esoteric designs are a thing of the past now.

    For me the three main questions are: will MS get their desire for an all digital future, will MS get there desire to mitigate risks and lock in customers through expanded subscription services, and will VR tech be baked in to the consoles or through an add on like with PSVR?

    My thinking is that most people aren't ready for an all digital future (thankfully) but there are, alas, plenty of people out there happy to detach quality from sales success by embrassing a subscription service model, leading to the expansion of microtransactions in our games as publishers move to the mobile game model of providing cheaply to the masses and making obscene profits from the weak willed. As to VR, I suspect it will be a key feature of the base consoles, VR is just too much of a game changer to be treated as a secondary feature; most who have actually tried it will agree.
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  • Avatar for VotesForCows #15 VotesForCows 3 months ago
    Fantastic article Mike, always enjoy your analysis.

    A few thoughts - I'd really like consistent, high frame rates across the board, but at this stage low frame-rates are a consequence of consumer and developer preferences (the machines are more than capable of outputting 60Hz if we had a few less leaves and sparkles).

    I was pretty much all sold on a digital future, as I haven't bought physical for my Playstation in ages. And then I got a Switch, and am back into trading games because I simply can't afford their high prices!
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  • Avatar for LunarFlame17 #16 LunarFlame17 3 months ago
    @Fourfoldroot It’s really just a convenience thing for me. If the Xbox Two is fully backwards compatible with all Xbox One games and most Xbox 360 games, then I don’t need to have my Xbox One hooked up anymore. Indeed, I don’t even need to keep it, and can get a little extra money for it.

    It’s also a matter of how we value old games. If a new generation comes along and there’s no compatibility with older games, then it implies that games are disposable and the only games that are worthwhile are the newest ones, which isn’t a healthy mindset.
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  • Avatar for Robozot #17 Robozot 3 months ago
    I’m good for at least 3 years. Do not need another console any time soon, guys!!! Seriously! Feels like this gen is finally heating up, not winding down....
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  • Avatar for Fourfoldroot #18 Fourfoldroot 3 months ago
    @LunarFlame17

    I can understand the latter point to a degree, although going back more than a few generations at most I find almost impossible. But as to the convenience point, I don't really see that holding technology back for the sake of a bit of empty space under the TV is really a worthwhile trade. And getting £40, over the span of a generation of consoles, is pretty much nothing.

    The main thing I would prioritise next gen is a CPU improvement in order to allow for better AI, more enemies, larger environments etc, an SSD or other way to speed up loading times, and tech to improve VR. Playing old games I can do on my old system no problem.
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  • Avatar for shurn #19 shurn 3 months ago
    But I just upgraded to a pro last year.
    I thought they were going all in for another 4yrs this generation. I'm gonna hold out for pro 5, this whole mid generation upgrade better not be habitual I don't want to go through this again it's too expensive.
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  • Avatar for AedanKing #20 AedanKing 2 months ago
    My question here is the determining factor, to whether I will buy a console or not. I am PC gamer that has skipped this generation of consoles, due to what I am about to ask. What will the controller be like? I am currently using Steam controller and I love it, live it and fine tune it to meet my demands. There are many things I think could be improved upon, making it even better and easier to use for new comers. Though that's for another post and story. For now lets talk about what controllers mean. The controller will reflect the games and how they are played, how a user will learn games and mechanic and how video game developer will sell and design their game. I think currently this is the single most important part, of what the next generation should have to offer. Without a good controller, the game you play will suffer. The developers will have a hard time making a high quality game. Telling stories will be distracted by the poor controls and frustration. I say the current console generation, have bad controllers. The simplicity is a disappointment to the games we play, making improving these games even harder. Xbox and PS have very similar controllers on the base frame, things may look different or even function different, though they are still the game controllers that have been used sense 1997 with the Dual shock analog controller PS released. This needs to change, in order to produce more satisfying games, improve current games and involve PC plays with consoles. I look at Steam controller as the first step, into the future of gaming. It's a small step sure, though they made a step unlike Xbox or PS. I strongly suggest picking up a steam controller, or one of the custom XBONE or PS controllers to try something more complex yourself. It's been a lot of fun to play with the future.

    P.S Complex controllers aren't the only answer. As there are people who haven't ever played games before, that'll have a hard time using them. So still offering simple controllers, is a good idea for the simple games. Especially for all these awesome indie side scrolling games, that won't require something more complex.

    P.S.S sorry about typos and really long sentences, I didn't proof read this. So it maybe a little hard to read. But thanks for agreeing. Let's push to improve the video games of the future, in every way we can.
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  • Avatar for AedanKing #21 AedanKing 2 months ago
    @SuperShinobi I don't think it'll make a difference, if they don't try to improve the controllers. especially important part of the next generation. Sure there'll be "cinematic" games, that won't require improved controllers. That's good when my kids need something to do, but I want something more involved and challenging, something more complex and logical to play with. I like games like Dark Souls and For Honor, that are currently suffering this generation, due to the controllers and their simplicity. I see how they tried to sell us last generation and I'll tell you, they failed me really really hard for the first time. I hope they can make a turn around this time.Edited April 2018 by AedanKing
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  • Avatar for dutchsmith82 #22 dutchsmith82 18 days ago
    We really don't a new next gen console yet. Xbox 360 was out longer than xbox one. Xbox one and ps4 was out in 2013. meaning 5 years old. 2020 will make them both 7 years. We really don't need a new gen console yet. I have a xbox 360 in my console. I don't need my xbox one sitting in the closet as well.
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