By Eric Tran
There is no doubt that Sony Corp. has won the console war this generation. It was revealed during Sony’s press conference at CES on January 7, that over 91.6 million PlayStation 4 systems have been sold worldwide. While the Xbox One has sold over 41 million and the Switch has sold over 29 million, according to vgchartz.
Sony has found huge success with the PS4, but it’s nearing the end of its life cycle and the next generation is on the horizon. Of course, with all new console releases, there are a ton of rumors and speculations going around.
There is no official word of a release date for Sony’s next console, which many assume will be named PlayStation 5. Although, back in May, Sony Interactive CEO John Kodera revealed in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that the PS5 would not be released until at least 2021. However, Sony might be rethinking its release date because of Microsoft.
Rumors have also been circulating about Microsoft’s next console which will presumably be called the Xbox 2, also code-named “Scarlet”. Thurrott believes the Xbox 2 could arrive in 2020. Sony wouldn’t want to give their competitor a head start in the next console race, so they might release the PS5 ahead of the Xbox 2 or at least close to their release date. More details about Microsoft’s console could be revealed at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in 2019, better known as E3 to players worldwide, while Sony is skipping E3 along with PSX (PlayStation Experience) this year.
The PS3’s life cycle lasted about seven years and the PS4 is currently at six. Historically, Sony has also had Q4 launch dates for their consoles in North America. So, a 2020 Q4 date does seem likely for the PS5 to launch.
The PS5 might also have backwards compatibility, meaning it could possibly play all previous generations from the PS4, PS3, PS2, and PS1. According to an IGN article, Sony filed a patent on January 31, 2019. The patent explains how the software will be able to mimic all the previous systems in order to emulate these older games. However, it doesn’t mention anything about the PS5, just PlayStation hardware.
Backwards compatibility would become a huge selling point for the PS5. Sony had been criticized for not having it, while Microsoft was praised for having this feature on the Xbox One. Although, the PS4 couldn’t emulate PS3 games because its Cell Processor, which made it difficult to read its games. It’s more likely that the PS5 will be able to play PS4 games if they keep the same architecture. Even though Sony filed for the patent it doesn’t mean it’s set in stone, so fans should keep expectations low.
It’ll be a good while before we see the next generation of consoles. No one knows for sure when the PS5 will release or what kind of specs it’ll have. Expect to see even more rumors and speculation later this year. So, be skeptical about any news regarding the PS5, unless it comes directly from Sony themselves.