How One Quote Revealed the Future of PlayStation:
“It’s really up to the game creators,” “If they still feel that we need more machine power — ‘we want to realize this and that and that, but we cannot do it with PS4′ — if that’s the case, there’s a good reason to have PS5, so that developers can create their vision. So, we’ll see.”
- Shuhei Yoshida, president of Worldwide Studios, Sony Computer Entertainment.
Theories rarely manifest themselves from nothing. If someone has a hunch, it’s usually because something tipped them off. Sure it can be an abstract concept like a dream or a vision, but in many cases it is something more tangible. A slip of the tongue, or a leaked document, a blurred image or a recording, and the chase is on. PlayStation 4 is here, but how long will it stay before it’s replaced by another, more powerful system. Will Sony stick to the PS4 for as long as they did the PS3, or will the console cycle see a decline in its length? So many questions my friends, luckily your talking to the answer man.
Let us dissect this quote, talk about the implications, and recent events, and develop the road map for Sony’s game plan. Believe it or not, these simple words are all we need to see the future.
“It’s really up to the game creators.”
So here we have the first little piece of the quote, and already it’s a big one. Shuhei Yoshida has a lot of power, being the president of Sony’s Worldwide Studios and all. We all know that Sony is a corporation and corporations like to make as much money as possible. Sony has gone a long way towards masking that though and appearing publicly as a very down to earth and reasonable company that truly cares for the gamer.
Beneath all of that, they still want to make money though. That is why this particular sentence strikes a chord with me, as it should with you. Since when do game creators get to dictate the console cycle? If he is serious and four years from now developers are complaining about the PS4’s power, will Sony truly get cracking on a new system, just like that? I imagine it would take a large majority of big companies to say this before any real change would occur, but even that is a concept that is hard to grasp.
Truly though, the success or failure of a game console rests in the hands of those who create games for it. The console is merely a vessel, without great games it might as well be a paperweight that you can check Facebook on. Sony is smart to put power in the hands of the game developers, but it is still jarring to see such a high level of investment placed into their hands; a bold move, but a good one.
“If they still feel that we need more machine power — ‘we want to realize this and that and that, but we cannot do it with PS4.”
The PS4 is the most powerful home console to date, hands down. When stacked up against the modern world of PC however, it begins to pale in comparison. That’s not to say the PS4 is a slouch, but the technology of gaming PC rigs changes by the month it seems, and the power of these custom built monstrosities grows by the day. Of course, that is the appeal of a home console, the fact that you don’t need to tear it apart and replace half the parts every six months.
We saw the PS3 get pushed farther and father before the PS4 released. With games like The Last of Us coming out so late in the cycle, I think we were all wondering how much farther it could go. So, why did Sony release the PS4 now, was the PS3 truly at the limit of its power? When The Last of Us released, Naughty dog’s Lead Designer Jacob Minkoff had this to say about the game:
"With The Last of Us, we are as efficient as we can possibly be. It's just squeezing every last drop of power out of the system. And it's a system we know really, really well. We know its constraints, so we can push it to the edges and play it really fast and loose because we know what the system can handle."
Fair enough, but why didn’t every game look that good? The answer lies in the system’s architecture, a subject we’ve all heard about when the PS4 was announced. The PS3 had power beyond power, but it was hard to develop for. The proprietary Cell Processor technology had a lot of potential, but only companies like Naughty Dog could truly unleash that power. So, with the PS4, it’s built like a PC.
The trouble with building something like a PC though is that it has a limit. Sure developers can get creative, but at the end of the day, it still has limits. The PS4 has plenty of potential, and I know developers will create incredible titles for it, but since Sony seems to truly have their developers in mind, we need to know how Sony can improve from here on PS5.
“If that’s the case, there’s a good reason to have PS5, so that developers can create their vision. So, we’ll see.”
And there we have the final act in this grand quote of ours. Sony has been very hypothetical in their responses to questions about the PS5. Some think that there won’t be a need for another console. When asked about the upcoming streaming service, PlayStation Now, Shuhei remarked that Sony will be “shifting to be service oriented”. With PlayStation Now, they are bringing their games to all new devices that never supported them before.
While this does make the argument that streaming and cloud gaming could be the future, we also see Sony’s VR headset they announced for the PS4 entitled “Project Morpheus”. This kind of massive investment into the PS4 shows that each console is a testing ground for the ones to follow. The VR craze is beginning and this headset will show if the PS5 should support such a feature before they make it a solid aspect of their plans.
The future is ever changing and ever shifting. Right now, the PS5 is just a concept. Its characteristics and features are ever changing. One thing we know for certain is that Sony is thinking about it, and that the timeline is in the hands of the developers. In my opinion, that’s exactly where it needs to be.
What do you think of the quote? We want to hear your predictions about PS5, so tell us in the comments!