This generation of consoles saw something a little different with the release of the PS4 Pro and the Xbox One X. These mid-gen ‘refreshes’ weren’t just simple re-releases and redesigns of their respective consoles, but actually added addition power and support for 4K and improved HDR. Naturally, that’s made people wonder if we will see something similar with the upcoming PS5 and Xbox Series X. It’s hard to say, but one former Xbox Executive thinks it’s doubtful.
Posting on the popular gaming forum ResetERA, former console marketing lead Albert Penello weighed in on whether we’ll see another refresh situation, and he doesn’t think so. Primarily, he says the Pro and One X came out as a certain necessity as 4K and HDR displays were beginning to become common and neither the original PS4 or Xbox had proper support for them. While 8K is a new technology being rolled out now, he predicts that it won’t be a primary mainstream factor 3 years from now. He also doubts that a machine that would see the same type of comparable bump the Pro/One X gave to their respective systems would be affordable considering how cutting edge the PS5 and Series X is already.
“It may simply be less necessary as well. 4K was becoming a mainstream resolution for PC and TV’s, and the the base consoles were designed around driving 1080p (or less) output. When you have a set that requires 4x the performance *just* to drive 4x the pixels, then you eat up all the performance just driving resolution. I think it’s unlikely we’ll see 8K TV’s go mainstream in the same way we saw 4K go mainstream – we’re more likely to see improvements in NITS (to drive better HDR) or better framerates to support greater than 60fps on TV’s. CPU’s and GPU’s in the next-gen should easily support higher frame rates and wider colors.
“So the mid-gen upgrades are not only less financially and technically viable, but also likely less necessary to keep up with display technologies.
“I don’t see a 20 / 24 tflop machine being affordable in a console form factor even in 3 years. The node change from 7nm to 5nm or 3 nm is going to be cost prohibitive and just mathematically unless they hit 3nm you’re only going to see a 30% reduction in size but you’re doubling the tflops so the chip has to grow.
“Additionally, you can’t really double the GPU without growing CPU and Memory or you run in to other bottlenecks which further adds cost.
“There may be other silicon advancements I”m not privy to, but it’s pretty widely known this is a real challenge right now. So looking through todays lens, I think it’s unlikely you’re going to see a mid-gen console this cycle.”
Keep in mind that Penello is not associated with Xbox, so is not trying to give some kind of insider information here, it’s just educated speculation. It’s also unclear how successful the Pro and One X ultimately were as experiments since neither Sony nor Microsoft ever went into details about what they sold and instead lump them all together as part of overall PS4 or Xbox One sales, respectively. Whether we’ll see mid-gen refreshes again is yet to be seen, but of course, we have to get to the releases of the actual systems first this holiday season.