Though the next generation is still a ways off, there’s quite a lot happening behind the scenes.
With Sony not hosting PlayStation Experience this year or attending E3 2019 and rumours swirling about Microsoft’s next Xbox, we’re pretty much on the cusp of a next gen console announcement. While the timing is still in question – though it’s likely that Microsoft will unveil their console at E3 2019 – there are still plenty of interesting reports, analysis and rumours about what we could see. Let’s take a look at 15 of them here.
PlayStation CEO John Kodera Hints at Next Console Release
Let’s start with May 2018 when PlayStation CEO John Kodera spoke to analysts and investors during Sony’s Investor Relations Day. He said that the “PS4 is entering the final phase of its life cycle, which would have a negative impact to the unit, but recurring revenue via membership services etc. should cushion some of that.” Kodera further noted that the period until March 2021 would be when PlayStation would “crouch down once”, which was interpreted as sales slowing down, before the brand would grow further in future. Some interpreted these comments to mean that a potential PlayStation 5 would launch sometime in late 2020 or early 2021.
PS5 Launching in Fall 2020 – NPD Analyst
On the same day, The NPD Group’s analyst Mat Piscatella forecast the PlayStation 5’s launch as no earlier than Fall 2020. Given that the current console cycle started in 2013, Piscatella said, “Of course we are entering the final stages of it. We’ve only been through this whole cyclicality thing seven or so times before. How is this even at all surprising.” He also believed that the pace of incremental upgrades for consoles would happen a lot more quickly, with more of a 1-2 year cycle rather than 4-7 years.
PS5 and Next Xbox Will Have Disc Drives
As rumours ran amuck of Sony possibly showcasing or at least announcing the next PlayStation at E3 2018, we weren’t even aware of what Microsoft was planning. On June 2nd, however, Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter talked about the PS5 and next Xbox still retaining disc drives. The reasoning was that despite the growth of digital distribution, console manufacturers wouldn’t want to cut out physical retailers from the equation completely (not to mention the value of used games for some consumers). Pachter also believed that Xbox Play Anywhere would evolve further over time.
Next Xbox Codenamed Scarlett, Out in 2020
Fast forward to E3 2018. Xbox boss Phil Spencer had announced the next Xbox, currently in development by the team responsible for the Xbox One X. Rumours quickly emerge courtesy of Thurrott’s Brad Sams of the console being codenamed “Scarlett”. Sams said this codename was for a “series of devices” and that the next Xbox would release in 2020.
AMD’s Navi Architecture
On the PlayStation side, there was no PS5 announcement at E3. However, a report from Forbes talked about AMD’s Navi architecture. The development of this apparently affected the Vega but what’s more interesting is that Navi was being developed specifically for Sony and the PlayStation 5. AMD technology in today’s consoles is nothing new but Navi wasn’t even mentioned in connection to Microsoft. Maybe the next Xbox is using a separate AMD solution or something completely different. Maybe Navi is indeed included in the next Xbox. Either way, Sony seemed to be making plans.
Xbox Scarlett Launching in 2020, Before PS5 – Pachter
With the PS5 potentially out by late 2020 or early 2021, it would make sense for the Xbox Scarlett to arrive before that right? According to Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter in June, Microsoft could launch the next Xbox in 2020. However, he also believed that it could arrive earlier if Sony planned to launch their console by then. Given that Sony released the PS4 slightly earlier than the Xbox One (at least in North America), Microsoft wanting to be first doesn’t feel too strange.
“Traditional” Next Gen Xbox
Remember Pachter’s comments about Xbox Play Anywhere evolving? Or Brad Sams’ report about Scarlett being a “series of devices”? A new report from Sams on July 23rd indicated there would be more than one Xbox console in the next generation. The first would be a traditional console, which we guess means a more familiar architecture akin to the Xbox One X. No specifics were provided on hardware.
Next Gen Xbox With Cloud Game Streaming
It’s the second console that could represent Microsoft’s full-fledged entry into cloud-based game gaming. Also codenamed Scarlett, this console will be priced cheaper. Along with some local processing, it will provide speculative processing for collision detection, control input and image processing. It won’t be a traditional console but there will be some hardware inside to deal with the latency that comes with game streaming.
Bink Video Mentions “NDA-ed Platform” in Software Log
While leaks about Xbox Scarlett were starting to dry up, there were still plenty of developments concerning the next generation of consoles. Middleware company Bink Video updated its software log on June 29th with the line “Added a new NDA-ed platform” NDA means non-disclosure agreement, which basically translates to a console that Bink couldn’t talk about yet. We wonder what it could be.
PS5 Launching by 2019 End – Ace Economics Analyst
On August 20th, Ace Economic Research Institute analyst Hideki Yasuda offered an interesting take on the PS5’s launch window. He believed that Sony’s next console could be out by 2019 end. Any delays taking place could be due the shortage of monolithic ceramic capacitors or MLCC, which would be used in manufacturing the console. Still, the possibility of the PS5 coming next year didn’t go away.
PS5 Marketing Campaign Preparation
If anything, other developments would lend further credence to the PS5 being released next year, if not in early 2020. On October 15th, Sony’s PlayStation division had a job listing for Senior Product Manager for “Campaign Management”. The person in question would “own the roadmap for the next generation PlayStation campaign”. Again, while this doesn’t narrow down the release date, it does indicate that the PS5 isn’t too far off from an official reveal.
EA CEO Hints at Cloud Support in Future Platforms
Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson offered a rather interesting take on the rumours surrounding the PS5 and Xbox Scarlett. During the company’s Q2 2018 results, Wilson didn’t acknowledge that these platforms existed. However he did say, “Just know that we’ve worked with Microsoft and Sony and Nintendo for many, many years and we look forward to working with them for many, many years more, even if we all collectively seek to move – either some portion of or all of our experiences – to the cloud.” With EA working its cloud-based service and introducing Origin Access Premium for full games, it seemed like cloud-based technology and game streaming would feature into future consoles. The mention of Nintendo didn’t feel out of place either given the release of titles like Resident Evil 7 and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey on the Switch via game streaming.
Sony Patents Controller With Touchscreen
Though it was reported on November 12th, a patent from October 16th from the United States Patent Office seemed to hint at the next DualShock. The patent describes all the features of the DualShock 4 from the Share button to the Light Bar. However, a touchscreen seemingly takes the spot of the touchpad. Again, there’s no guarantee that this patent is for the PS5 but it has cropped up at a rather interesting time nonetheless.
PS5’s “Small” Mid-2019 Reveal
In mid-November, Reddit user RuthenicCookie revealed that Sony would not appear at E3 2019, one day before Sony officially announced the same. But it was the other little teases from the user that really got us interested. Along with revealing that most developers already had PS5 dev kits and that the machine is a “monster”, he noted that Sony wants to show off new things at PlayStation Experience 2019. What does that leave before then? Apparently a small reveal in mid-2019 with a bigger one at PSX 2019. Plans could change though so take this with a grain of salt.
Next Gen Announcement in 2019 – NPD Analyst
After all the rumours and analysis that had been given, does it make sense for the PS5 and Xbox Scarlett to release next year? NPD analyst Mat Piscatella, who predicted the PS5’s launch in Fall 2020, thinks the next generation will be announced in 2019. Whether the PS5 is out next year or the year after, there’s no denying that 2019 will be a very, very interesting time for the industry.