Gaming has been big business for decades, but in the past five years or so, there has been a huge explosion in popularity of online, mobile and PC gaming, and the world seems to be going in a new direction, with pay-to-win, freemium games and business models such as Fortnite, which is now worth more than $15 billion, all changing the way we play content.
Whilst these new technologies have no doubt helped to innovate the gaming landscape, add some new life into titles that were once outdated and encouraged more of us to play games, the truth is that games consoles have suffered as a result, and the PlayStation 4 is no longer the be all and end all in the gaming world.
Indeed, gaming is now worth more than video and music combined in the United Kingdom, and it’s a similar picture around the world in other markets, with the rise of online gaming streamers and mobile giants changing everything.
However, there’s no denying that there’s still a huge market for PlayStation and other games consoles. You only have to look at the success of the recently-released Nintendo Switch to see why.
Below, we offer a closer look at the future of the PlayStation 4, explore the latest rumors of the PlayStation 5, and see what to expect in the future years and decades ahead.
Sony already working on PS5
With the PlayStation 4 now five years old, rumors were rife about the future of the console and the plans for its next generation.
Of course, Sony and Microsoft have always waited a while between console releases to give developers and games studios time to create the best games and to sell as many units as possible, but as we enter into new times where consumers demand the most advanced technology the moment it’s ready, perhaps these video gaming giants are ready to increase the rate of their new console releases to appease an always-on tech-savvy audience, who appreciates speed, performance, and graphics?
Speaking in an interview with the Financial Times, Kenichiro Yoshida, Sony’s president, said that he thought it would be necessary to work on the next-generation games console and that his company already had something in the pipeline.
Last year, however, John Kodera, the CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment suggested that the next console was at least three years away and that we should not be preparing for a next-generation console just yet.
Selling more than 81 million units around the world, PlayStation is one of Sony’s greatest assets, and its PlayStation division is the best-performing market for the company since its 2013 launch.
Since the release of the console, both Sony and Microsoft have extended the life of their products by launching suped-up versions, the PlayStation 4 Pro and the Xbox One X but demand for an even more advanced and innovate console has never been higher.
Popular PS4 blog PS4 at Home suggests that the PS5 may come with no disk drive and 8K graphics as standard, which is pretty exciting and signals a change in the way we game.
As personal computers become more advanced – and cheaper to build from scratch – Sony must deliver on a truly next-generation device that can stand the test of time in the 2020s.
What can we expect from a PlayStation 5?
Although rumors on the expected features are currently scarce, there are high expectations for the next PlayStation, with fans and critics alike already pulling together wishlists of the features they’d like to see included.
One of the most important is visuals – competition with Microsoft has never been greater, and so if Sony wants to stand out and become the choice for gaming, then it must work to create the very best graphics and visuals it possibly can.
In terms of hardware, the PlayStation 5 is likely to be discless. Rumors have already been circulating that Microsoft is working on an Xbox One without a disk-drive to appease today’s always-online, stream-savvy generation, who prefers to download their games and stream content from the web.
If that was to happen, then Sony would need to increase the size of its hard drives to enable users to download and stream as much content as they want, so a two or three terabyte hard drive as standard does not seem out of the question.
Space will be even more important if Sony wants users to be able to live stream their gaming sessions online, on websites like Twitch and YouTube gaming, and the innovations of virtual reality and augmented reality will also demand that next-generation games have space to perform.
In a time when gamers are spending more time tapping and clicking, the console’s controller is also something to think about.
Nintendo has done well with its Switch console, marrying the smartphone experience with a games console to offer ultimate flexibility, but Sony and Microsoft have so far stuck to their traditional controllers.
Many argue that Sony’s is head and shoulders above the competition, as its ergonomic and offers responsiveness, so it’s likely that the next generation will follow in a similar design and experience.
Perhaps it will feature voice recognition as standard to target casual gamers and those who want to stream video content from sites like Netflix and Amazon Video, or it may even feature wireless charging from the games console itself, so users can play as long as they want.
The user interface is something else that Sony will want to consider when crafting the next version of its console.
Today, we have more choice than ever before when streaming content but if Sony can find a way to create the ultimate home entertainment suite, perhaps it will be able to market itself as an all-in-one solution and appeal to even the most casual of gamers?
Its current UI does the job, but by integrating features as standard and giving users ultimate control over their gaming and content management, it could be an unbeatable piece of kit.
The future is pretty exciting…
It would be impossible to know for sure what Sony has planned for the PlayStation 5, but it’s clear the firm is hedging its bets on the next-generation console being a success.
Indeed, if the company wants to increase sales and rely more on its hardware, then it may be working on multiple generations at the same time – even a PlayStation 6 could be on the cards in the next five to ten years.
As technology companies work harder to capture the attention of their users and lock them into their ecosystems, Sony will have to encourage gaming franchises to choose the PS5 for their next major releases, and perhaps innovate its current gaming packages to increase sales and enjoy long-term subscription revenue.
With open-world games more popular than ever and linear games drawing ever closer to the graphics and experiences of Blockbuster movies, the future of PlayStation has never been more exciting…