The PS4 and the Xbox One were already outdated pieces of machinery when they first launched back in 2013, and the rapid advance of technology meant that they would continue to become even more so as time went on. Both Sony and Microsoft, however, were able to prolong their respective consoles’ life cycles with mid-cycle refreshes, with the Xbox One X and the PS4 Pro acting as more powerful variants of the base consoles, as a stopgap between current gen and next gen.
And it seems we’ll see a similar trend next gen as well. Speaking with Game Informer, Masayasu Ito – who is the Executive Vice President of Hardware Engineering and Operation at Sony Interactive Entertainment – talked about how life cycles for consoles are getting shorter, as technology continues to advance at a more rapid rate. The PS4 Pro was, for Sony, a way to prolong the PS4’s life, with Ito also calling it a “test case” for Sony’s similar plans with the PS5.
“In the past, the cycle for a new platform was 7 to 10 years, but in view of the very rapid development and evolution of technology, it’s really a six to seven year platform cycle,” said Ito. “Then we cannot fully catch up with the rapid development of the technology, therefore our thinking is that as far as a platform is concerned for the PS5, it’s a cycle of maybe six to seven years. But doing that, a platform lifecycle, we should be able to change the hardware itself and try to incorporate advancements in technology. That was the thinking behind it, and the test case of that thinking was the PS4 Pro that launched in the midway of the PS4 launch cycle.”
It was only a couple months ago that we received reports that Sony was looking into launching the PS5 Pro alongside the base PS5. While it remains to be seen how much truth there is to that report in particular, Sony releasing a more powerful PS5 variant at some point in the future to extend its life cycle doesn’t seem like much of a stretch, especially in context of this generation.
Meanwhile, as far as the competition is concerned, in spite of prior reports, it looks like Microsoft, too, are looking to enter the market with two SKUs of Xbox Scarlett with varying hardware specs. Read more on that through here.