July 11, 2020, at 3:11 pm
The 2020 decade is starting with a significant event regarding the gaming industry.
Sony and Microsoft announced that they are launching their next generation's console at some point during the last year's quarter.
Sony Mid-April 2019,
Sony was the first to announce some details about its upcoming gaming console through a behind-the-door presentation for selected journalists. Among them, a journalist from The Wired, who published an article with all the information gathered from the present, six months later, in mid-October 2019, The Wired published another article giving more details about the console's performances, controller and official name. Without any surprise, Sony decided to capitalize on the strength of its brand and calls its newest console: PlayStation 5. Concerning the new device's specifications, all that is confirmed, for now, is that it will be using a customized "ultra-fast" SSD instead of an HDD. This will, according to Sony, reduce in-games loading times to almost no time at all. It will also allow the player to install and uninstall the parts of the game he wants, thus saving storage space. The CPU and GPU are supplied by AMD and are customized specifically for the Playstation 5 with support for 8k resolution and hardware support for the Raytracing technology, which enhances the graphics while making work much simpler for the game developers. The controller seems oddly similar to the Dualshock 4 with just some minor changes regarding its shape. The two main new features are the haptic feedback and adaptive triggers.
The first one is a replacement to the vibrations we knew since the first Dualshock. According to The Wired, this technology allows you to feel the difference between the situations occurring during the game. For example, you can feel a huge difference when a car is driving on asphalt and gravel. The haptic feedback is adaptive, accurate, and continuous in real-time. The second concerns the triggers (also known as L2 and R2), which apply resistance to the finger pressure and vary from light to hard according to the actual situation in the game. It is confirmed that the Playstation 5 will have retro compatibility functionality, but we don't know yet for sure the extent of this functionality. Likewise, we don't know about the launch price either. However, it is believed that Sony will never risk a 600$ launch after the catastrophic Playstation 3 launch in 2006. Despite some leaked photos of the Playstation 5 devkit, we don't know the design of the console. Sony also announced that we still don't know many of the killer features of the Playstation 5.
Microsoft mentioned its next-generation console during its press conference at the E3 2019. No details or names have been announced back then, only the promise of an upcoming powerful console codenamed "Project Scarlett." After Sony started to reveal details about its Playstation 5, Microsoft started to adopt the same strategy by showing bribes of information about its next-generation console.
Specs-wise, Microsoft's new console seems to be slightly more powerful than the PlayStation 5 while having a similar architecture and sporting, as well as a custom-made GPU and CPU supplied by AMD, identical to PlayStation 5's; it will also have an SSD instead of an HDD and hardware support for the Raytracing technology as well as 8K resolution. Mid Decemeber2019, during The Game Award 2019 ceremony, Microsoft took everyone by surprise and revealed its new console called Xbox Series X through a trailer that showcased upcoming titles and finishing by showing the console and the controller's design. We still don't have any information about the console features nor the controllers, besides the fact that it has a similar design to the actual Xbox One's controller. Xbox Series X is scheduled to be announced in the last quarter of 2020 with an unknown launch price. Like Sony, with its Playstation 5 launch, Microsoft will most likely not commit the same mistake as with the Xbox One, which was priced at 500$, making it 100$ more expensive than the Playstation 4 for less power.
Even though both consoles are neck-and-neck as far as the hardware and power perspective goes, Sony and Microsoft have entirely different approaches; Sony keeps its traditional approach, following the same name and logo of the console with only the number change. Launching one console at a time with exclusive titles but promising backward compatibility for the games of the previous generations from the first Playstation and "Accompanying the gamers in their transition from Playstation 4 to Playstation 5". On the other hand, Microsoft announces an entirely different name with each new generation of its consoles.
It was also announced full backward compatibility with previous Xbox games. Though the main difference is that the Xbox Series X will be releasing two different consoles, one will be cheaper but less potent than the other. The first two years after the Xbox Series X launch, none of the games released will be exclusive, in the sense that they will be released in parallel with the Xbox One.
Sony has a traditional and straightforward approach that already made the Playstation 4 the most sold gaming console of the past decade; so, there is no reason to change it. Microsoft, who lost the current generation to Sony, is trying to use a different and innovative approach to reach as many gamers as possible and get them on board on the Xbox ecosystem through separate entry points. In addition to the launch price, there is another crucial aspect that will have a tremendous impact on console sales: the launch titles. Sony already has many internal studios developing first-party games. Microsoft recently acquired many studios for the same purpose. Unfortunately, besides a couple of titles for each console, we don't know anything about the launch titles; in either case, the end of 2020 will be an exciting year for everyone in the gaming industry.