One of the strangest non-events of E3 2018 was unquestionably Square Enix's press conference.
As the companies first press conference in a number of years, many expected some big news for the likes of Final Fantasy 7 Remake and The Avengers Project specifically.
But both games were complete no-shows. Not even as much of a small tease. That the reason behind that is probably obvious, they're still quite a way off.
However, given that these games are pretty far from release, it also raises the question of whether they'll only be coming to PS4 (if at all) and a new job listing for The Avengers Project has seemingly suggested that won't be the case.
The new Job listing for a senior software engineer, which you can see here, teases that the job will be for a project involving next-gen consoles.
In fact the job description also asks for applicants who have experience "with current and next-gen platforms: Xbox, PlayStation, and PC”.
Which is interesting for two reasons. First given the fact that jobs are asking for this as a desired skill, but equally, does it suggest that PS5 dev kits are already available across the world for select developers?
You'd have to think so, otherwise how else devs could have experience in the first place.
Watch this space…
Introduction – Sony's PS5 is real and fast approaching, that we know for certain. But exact details about the next PlayStation console are forever shifting like the sands of time. And until the company make some cast iron announcements it's unlikely we'll know the exact details surrounding the gaming giant's next move.
But what is clear, is that in the last three or four months industry discussion around the PlayStation 5 (As well as Xbox Scarlett) has grown to unprecedently new levels.
Whether this is indicative of the earlier rumours that PS5 dev kits were out in the wild is unclear, but, it does suggest that we are now approaching a critical point in the PS4 lifecycle.
Even with a barrel load of excellent PS4 exclusives still to come, the console is (very) slowly starting to wind down.
E3 2018 failed to yield any sort of announcement about Sony's PS5 console, but, we might imagine that they'll be unable to avoid it next year at E3 2019.
As such, we expect that information, leaks, specs and even game announcements related to 'next-gen' will start coming thick and fast in the next 12 months.
For now, though, we do have some details, predictions and industry analysis for you to chew over, which we'll be sure to update weekly.
All this and more can be found underneath the gallery, which for those wondering is a series of concept images by French designer Joseph Dumary.
This is probably one of the most important questions asked by console owners, but equally one of the most tricky to actually answer.
We'll start at the beginning. We know full well that Sony are developing a new PS5 console as it was pretty much confirmed by Shawn Layden, who is, for anyone who doesn't know, President and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment America (SIEA) as well as Chairman of SIE Worldwide Studios.
Layden confirmed in an Interview during E3 2017 that the PS5 is coming, but equally the console would “probably be some time” before being announced by the company.
And more recently PlayStation CEO John Kodera told investors that the PS4 was “entering final phase of its life cycle” after an amazing five years of gaming success.
This is why we believe an announcement will likely arrive at E3 2019, with a view to Sony releasing the PS5 in 2020.
Generally speaking, 2020 appears to be the accepted date that most industry experts and analysts believe Sony will launch a new console.
In addition, the one source and prediction that we're inclined to believe the most comes from Digital Foundry.
The sister site of Eurogamer is well known for its deep dives into the performance of games to see exactly how well they are running on a console and they are, to our mind, some of the best technical experts when it comes to console gaming.
So when they write a story titled 'PlayStation 5: when can Sony truly deliver a generational leap in power?' you take notice.
For those who don't want to read right now, the overriding opinion of the story seemed to suggest that it would be madness to assume Sony would release a new console anywhere before Q4 2019, but that a 2020 launch would prove most likely.
Again, we cannot say for certain without a cast iron announcement from Sony. But based on past releases it's more than possible to make an educated and believable guess.
When the PlayStation 4 first launched in 2014 it was available for £349 in the UK and $399 in the US.
Fast forward a few years to when Sony launched their more powerful PlayStation 4 Pro and it too was launched at the same price as the original PS4, at £349 in the UK and $399 in the US.
We suspect this is where we'll see the PS5 launch, with the PS4 Pro becoming the default PS4 model at a reduced price of £259 in the UK and $299 in the US.
It also seems as though the grave mistake made by Sony who burned a lot of fans with the overly expensive PS3 launch price of £425 in the UK and $499 in the US has also been learned.
So, we expect you won't pay a penny over £399 for the PS5, if not closer to £350.
The PS3 to PS4 era gave us our first real taste of games releasing cross-platform. And to good effect too. Both The Last of Us and GTA 5 released towards the tail end of the PS3 console's lifecycle only to come to PS4 with even greater visual fidelity.
And we suspect the jump between PS4 to PS5 will also bring about plenty more cross-generational games that first release on PlayStation 4 before getting another release with greater graphical extras on the PS5.
So, whilst we cannot say for certain what games will come to PS5, just yet, there are a few we can suggest as early contenders to come to the next console, as well as a few yearly releases which we doubt will miss out, either.
The games we're thinking of, include:
A job listing for Infinity Ward's upcoming Call of Duty game may have given a hint about the release date for the upcoming Sony console.
The reason for this is largely due to the listing implying that the job role suggests that the game is in development for multiple next-gen platforms.
According to the job listing on the recruiting website SelectMinds, Infinity Ward are hiring a temporary narrative scripter to work on a “new, exciting, unannounced” game that is in development for “multiple next-gen platforms.”
To be clear, the listing doesn't explicitly say this is for Call of Duty, but given that Infinity Ward has developed nothing outside of Call of Duty games, you'd be surprised if they're hiring for anything else.
At this stage, it's widely believed that any next-gen system, both for PS5 and Microsoft's next Xbox, would arrive, at the earliest, 2020.
The implication then, is that either, next-gen consoles are coming much sooner than everyone is anticipating, or Infinity Ward are not developing next years Call of Duty game, but the year after.
The only problem with the latter, is that generally speaking, Call of Duty developers work on three-year cycles, with next year being the turn of Infinity Ward.
Equally the only way this could change, in our mind, iis if a new developer is being lined up for a new yearly Call of Duty release. Who knows, maybe Raven Software, who worked on the Modern Warfare Remaster, could be stepping up to the plate. Only time will tell…
Wednesday 26th September – If there was ever any question that the PS5 might not enable potential crossplay features, well, that looks to have been put to bed.
Earlier today, September 26th 2018, Sony announced the start of a new Fortnite cross-play beta, which seems to have been perfectly timed on the eve of the Fortnite Season 6 release date.
This looks to be the first steps towards allowing complete Cross-platform features between PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo, PC and Mobile players.
It is, undoubtedly, a huge moment in gaming. Here's what Sony PlayStation had to say on their crossplay beta, via a PlayStation Blog post by John Kodera, President and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment –
Following a comprehensive evaluation process, SIE has identified a path toward supporting cross-platform features for select third party content. We recognize that PS4 players have been eagerly awaiting an update, and we appreciate the community’s continued patience as we have navigated through this issue to find a solution.
The first step will be an open beta beginning today for Fortnite that will allow for cross platform gameplay, progression and commerce across PlayStation 4, Android, iOS, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, and Mac operating systems. We see the beta as an opportunity to conduct thorough testing that ensures cross-platform play is best on PlayStation, while being mindful about the user experience from both a technical and social perspective.
For 24 years, we have strived to deliver the best gaming experience to our fans by providing a uniquely PlayStation perspective. Today, the communities around some games have evolved to the point where cross-platform experiences add significant value to players. In recognition of this, we have completed a thorough analysis of the business mechanics required to ensure that the PlayStation experience for our users remains intact today, and in the future, as we look to open up the platform.
This represents a major policy change for SIE, and we are now in the planning process across the organisation to support this change. We will update the community once we have more details to share, including more specifics regarding the beta timeframe, and what this means for other titles going forward.
The current PS4 console uses an AMD Accelerated Processing Unit (APU), built upon the machines x86-64 architecture.
Now, this is hypothetical, but if Sony uses this same architecture in the upcoming PS5 console (which appears, likely) there's a good possibility that the machine will be able to offer backwards compatibility functionality with PS4 titles.
This seems more unlikely given that the same architecture doesn't support this functionality.
We believe that moving forward it's more likely that Sony will continue to push it's existing PS Now digital service which currently offers over 650 games spanning the various PS2, PS3 and PS4 systems.
Currently, PS Now works as a streaming service on PS4 and PC. But, if rumours are to be believed, PS Now could be heading towards a new system that also allows for games to be downloaded for offline play. This comes via an unnamed Kotaku UK source who claims the new functionality will launch this September.
30th September 2018 – A developer has stepped forward to say that the next console generation could achieve complete photorealism.
In an interview with GamingBolt, Matteo Sciutteri of indie studio RuneHeads noted that Xbox Scarlett and the PS5 could see a massive jump in graphical fidelity.
“I’m very curious,” said Sciutteri in the interview. “Because they can’t stay sticky on their strategy for a long time: the PS4 is impressive as power and the photorealism is really near. I guess that we’ll achieve it with the PS5 / Scarlett.
"After that, I guess they will improve other aspects – like Nintendo is doing with Switch.”
Will the advancement be accurate, and be able to portray images without straying into the uncanny valley? Only time will tell.
16th September 2018 – The lastest and slightly more exciting news about the upcoming PS5 comes from a pretty high ranking boss at AMD, the company who makes processors and graphics card tech for your favourite gaming consoles,
In a recent interview with CNBC, AMD CEO Dr. Lisa Su seemingly confirmed that the company are contributing towards the “secret sauce” forSony and Microsoft consoles.
Here's what Su said:
“We very, very much appreciate our partnerships with all of our key customers. Microsoft with Windows and game consoles. We have a vision of where cloud computing is going, and we’re closely on that with them. We view part of our strength is that we can work with all customers […] and we can differentiate with each one of them. We’re working with both Sony and Microsoft on consoles, and they both have their specific secret sauce we’re helping them do.”
Now, it's worth noting that yes, Su never specifically said AMD is working on new Sony and Microsoft consoles.
However, you would think from here turn of phrase that it's what she's talking about. Equally, as pointed out by wccftech.com, Su's comments were made on an investment show, which you would think is more forward-looking as opposed to talking about anything PS4/Xbox One related.
Either way, when you start getting a CEO talking this openly, you'd have to think things are making good progress with the new consoles behind the scenes.
13th September 2018 – The latest developer to speak out about the potential of the next generation of consoles is Scott Phillips, Game Director for Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.
Tech Radar recently got the chance to preview the game and had time to ask how the developer might be able to take the acclaimed series to the next level with the upcoming PS5 and Xbox Scarlett consoles.
In response, Phillips suggests quite a number of ways the series could improve. Here's his conversation:
TechRadar: What do you think next-gen consoles bring to the table? And what would next-gen hardware enable you to do with a series like Assassin’s Creed?
Phillips: Well, I think I can look at what Yves Guillemot said in terms of streaming being the future and more people being given access to these kinds of games because they don’t have to buy one console to play the game on. I think in terms of opportunities creatively, obviously improving things like AI, believability of the world, credibility and interactivity; how much you can push and pull the world and how it reacts to you, as well as how we keep the game alive and active for players, because the idea of games having an extended lifetime or extended playtime for the game where you finish it but you don’t necessarily throw it away … are where Assassin’s Creed could continue to progress in the future.
Scott Phillips also goes into some more detail to provide a few more examples, but you'll find that over on Tech Radar's website.
5th August 2018 – The latest dev to share their opinions on the matter comes from the Divinity Original Sin 2 team, Larian, who have hinted that the next-generation of consoles would benefit greatly from more physics-based events.
When asked what developers wanted from the next-generation of consoles, a Larian spokesperson said:
"More power for physics-based events, so you can rely less on scripting and animating everything and more on the hardware taking care of this dynamically.
"For example, why can't I pick up a bottle and use it as a weapon, and if it smashes for whatever reason (it collides with something), continue using it as a weapon in whatever state it's in?
"This kind of thing isn't really currently possible, but soon it will be. I'm looking richer sandbox experiences where you can truly walk into a situation and do anything you want.
"Right now we're limited by choice being mandated by scripted possibilities. Physics has the potential to unlock more."
It's likely this won't be the last time we hear from dev's sharing their opinions on what they want from the new PlayStation or Xbox console.
24 July 2018 – The PlayStation 5 needs “more of everything” if games are going to improve in the next generation of consoles.
That’s the verdict of Assassin’s Creed game director Scott Phillips.
His title Odyssey is due out in around three months, and while he expects it to be the best Assassin’s story ever – he reckons much more can be done in future if the next console generation ups power across the board.
Scott said of his biggest expectation come the PS5 in 2020: “More. More of everything.
“I think connected features will continue to be important as more gamers get online and want to be connected with their friends; the share button and those sorts of things will be more, and more important.
“That’s why things like photo mode are coming back for Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. We want to engage with the community and we hope that the platforms continue to allow that.”
It comes after maker Ubisoft’s top chief Lionel Raynaud suggested next-gen technology could allow for an expanded scale in Assassin’s Creed titles.
He believed that a single Assassin’s Creed title could have “several historical” periods and settings with the Animus travelling from one to another, as opposed to the current games’ single era maps.
7th June 2018 – Ubisoft's CEO – Yves Guillemot – has revealed his thoughts on what the shape of the next generation of consoles could look like.
Guillemot – who has been part of the industry since 1986! – recently spoke to IGN about what he believes the next generation of consoles should deliver to gamers (and how Ubisoft can help deliver on that).
In the interview, Yves notes that the machines will be more powerful (this is a given), but that more power in the console will be pushed towards better streaming experiences. He also doubles down on the fact models will be scalable – that people can choose models that fit their needs.
"The machines will be more powerful and the system to transfer data will be more efficient, so at one point, we will have a better experience streaming something than having to buy a machine and change the machine regularly," he explains.
"We'll have different models. Everyone will be able to choose the model that fits for the type of amount he or she wants to invest. What I'd like is the diversity of models. I don't like one specific way to participate. I’d like to keep different types of approaches so that anyone can play with each other.”
He also notes that games will become more collaborative, and the line between player/creator will be blurred in some cases.
"We feel it's very important to bring the community into the creation of the game so they really feel more at home when they play. Going to HitRecord was a way to organize those things in such a way that it could work with many people. It's working very well. We are seeing lots of proposals that are fantastic. It's really going to improve the diversity and appeal of the game.
“[In the future], games are going to be really huge worlds. It will be really good to have more creators being able to create environments that will be completely different from what only a team [of developers], even if it's 500 people, can imagine."
It's a pretty utopian idea – and one that could be even closer than we realise.
September 23, 2018 – Despite the Tokyo Game Show going on this past week, news from any sources regarding the future of PlayStation consoles and the PS5 has been, surprisingly, few and far between.
That said, there is one interesting piece of news that caught our eye which we'd seemingly missed last week.
Jez Corden of Windows Central has stoked the fires by claiming he's heard a few rumours regarding Sony's plans for the PlayStation Network with their next console.
The writer goes on to suggest that Sony could be looking to overhaul the entire PSN infrastructure for their next hardware launch.
‘Heard a few rumours Sony might be working on a big infrastructure/platform update for PSN in time for PS5. They’re not resting on their laurels when it comes to cloud it seems’, Corden told his followers.
Now, all of the above is clearly, without evidence. But that being said, we've spoken with Jez previously and he's a stand-up guy. Certainly, not the kind we'd think would spread fabricated news. And besides, for now, this is, just rumours.
But it does raise an interesting question. How will Sony improve on PSN, which, compared to Microsoft, does seem a few steps behind.
Sure Sony is selling games and consoles like hotcakes compared to Microsoft. But Backwards Compatibility, Game Pass and much more has clearly made Xbox Live the preferred platform of core gamers.
How can Sony improve this? How will they utilise the cloud more effectively? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
As any Sony PlayStation fan will know and remember, the transition between PS2 and PS3 was one of the more difficult periods for the console giants.
But a delayed launch and a wildly expensive price tag made the PlayStation 3 launch a bit of a backwards step and gave Microsoft the upper hand with their Xbox 360 launch.
Talking with Eurogamer at Develop in Brighton recently, Sony Interactive Entertainment Worldwide Studios’ Shuhei Yoshida looked back on those difficult days and equally promised that future PlayStation consoles won’t make the same mistakes again.
"Ken [Kutaragi] was such a brilliant engineer – the team that worked for Ken was so motivated, he was a great motivator. Maybe he was using video games as a stepping stone to realise his vision and dreams – he wanted to become the next Intel or something. He always approached developing game systems, up to PS3 – they work on a system just by themselves,” Yoshida said.
“And we weren't given access until it was done. He had trust with the developers – whatever he made, the top developers would be able to work on them and understand them. He didn't see the need to involve game developers in the design of the system – that's how the PS3 was made. And you know how successful it was."
"It's human nature," added Yoshida. "People make mistakes. I don't know why. We're all human – we're not perfect. PS4 is doing so well, but we don't forget why we're here now."
The suggestion, perhaps, is that by not including the developers in the process of building the new machine, it created more work for those teams. But as we've heard from Digital Foundry, Mark Cerny, once the lead architect on the PS4, was again "hitting the road, talking to developers about their needs for the next-gen PlayStation."
It certainly doesn't sound like Sony are too keen on reliving the same mistakes they made in the past.
Industry analyst and long-time hypothetical mouthpiece Michael Pachter has conducted an interview with GamingBolt, sounding off about his predictions for the next generation of consoles.
Pachter, who is an analyst over at Wedbush Securities, believes Microsoft will be next out the door with its next-gen console – supposedly code-named Xbox Scarlett – beating Sony out the gate and getting the drop on the PS5.
“I’m sure Microsoft intends to launch first, and I am equally certain that the new Xbox will be backwards compatible with any Xbox One X software,” Pachter said in the interview.
“I agree that it’s hard for Xbox One X purchasers, but they should know 4 years into a cycle that there is another one coming. My guess is that Microsoft intends to launch in 2020, but if they think Sony is going [to launch the PS5] then, they will launch early.”
Whether or not this is accurate is anyone's guess – but with recent conversations surrounding Microsoft's Scarlett platform kicking off in earnest, the race to next-gen is starting to heat up.
Over the course of E3 2018 Gamespot had the chance to speak with GameStop Merchandising head Eric Bright who was quick to talk up the potential of the next generation of consoles.
More specifically, Bright has been quick to suggest that the launch of the new PS5 and Xbox console in a couple of years time will see another huge increase in sales, which he described as a "feeding frenzy".
Bright also pointed to the recent Nintendo Switch launch as an example, pointing out how the company was selling faster than they were getting the consoles in.
“When is always the big question. Phil Spencer announced they are working on a new Xbox, which I think everybody expects. When, I don’t know. I honestly don’t. But like every hardware transition that occurs–and GameStop has gone through many of them in the past–it’s a tremendous time for us.”
“It’s going to be a feeding frenzy that I expect to drive tremendous traffic into our stores,” concluded Bright.
However, it'll be interesting to see if the store's sales will be impacted in the long run, especially with the conversation around consoles becoming less dependant on physical media and disc drives.
Another report this week from investment banking company Piper Jaffray, penned by analysts Michael J. Olson and Yung Kim, suggests that the physical game market is decreasing at a rate of around 10 points per year.
The report also points out that profit margins would be significantly increased for publishers if the consoles went 100% digital as distribution costs would be (practically) eliminated.
“We believe it is a certainty that video games will be ~100% digital in the coming years, and while exact timing is hard to pinpoint, we think 2022 is a realistic expectation," say, Olson and Kim.
Whilst we doubt that the next console generation will do away with disc drives completely, we wouldn't be surprised if the PS5 and Xbox Scarlet begin to usher in a new digital wave for consoles, driven by a concentrated focus on streaming platforms such as the existing PlayStation Now and Xbox Game Pass initiatives.
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