There is some PlayStation-flavored scuttlebutt floating around the Internet this week. Speaking to outlet GamingBolt, infamous (or at least well-known to some degree) video game and entertainment business analyst Michael Pachter, of Wedbush Securities, had a lot to say about the possible PlayStation 5. Of course, the userbases of places like N4G are eating this stuff up, and many folks in the comments sections taking the man’s words as gospel. We’ll break down what he said down below, but my question ultimately is this: Is it really time to start talking about the PlayStation 5?
Pachter’s statements come as a response to a fairly innocuous comment from PlayStation America’s Shawn Layden. Layden said in an interview last month that Sony will make a PlayStation 5. Yeah? Does that statement come as a surprise to anyone? Of course that will happen eventually, and Layden provided no details or even assurance Sony is currently working on anything. But video game news is video game news, and everyone eats up little bread crumbs like they’re starving to death.
When asked about Layden’s comment by GamingBolt, Pachter had a few things to say. He figures the PlayStation 4 Pro is a half-step to whatever the PlayStation 5 will end up being. He said it will certainly have 4K, a high frame rate ceiling, and so on and so forth. He also suggests the PlayStation 5 would be backwards-compatible with PlayStation 4 games, something probably more likely than you’d think due to the more PC-like hardware this generation. Pachter goes on to suggest his theoretical console drops in 2019 or 2020 and, as an additional caveat, probably won’t happen until Sony is comfortable with 4K market penetration. He says 50% in the US and 35% globally.
What Pachter says is obviously speculation; he says things like he “thinks” and uses words like “expectation.” The duty of us as readers is to notice that and take this guy’s words at far from face value. You’d think that’s an uncontroversial thing to say, but you know how this stuff works. As gamers, we’re all susceptible to looking ahead and getting excited for things far too early. As soon as someone starts chatting about what’s next, all it takes is a slightly misleading headline for people to start filling in blanks that don’t exist with their own wants.
The reality is, the PlayStation 4 still has a lot of mileage. Tons of huge games are going to fill up 2018. There are definitely games in production, clearly PS4 projects, that won’t see the light of day until 2019 or later. 4K games and updates being created for platforms such as PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X are huge and expensive, and there are far more issues than 4K market saturation to consider first. Things like storage media have become an issue, as well as cooling, development costs, and more. Console gaming may be experiencing a boom compared to last gen, and perhaps that means a shorter generation. But generally new consoles come when they’re needed, and it doesn’t feel like we’ve hit that point yet.
Games like Spider-Man, Assassin’s Creed Origins, and Detroit: Become Human are going to be big water-testing moments for 4K gaming. Then, games like The Last of Us 2 and the Final Fantasy VII Remake (assuming that gets to exist eventually) will likely be big selling points for 4K platforms. But until there’s enough motivation and demand for the next step after the PlayStation 4 Pro (currently demand for even that is debatable), I feel like this generation has some legs on it. Perhaps we should pump the breaks and wait for something official (or a leak of course) before hopping aboard the hype train. That said, the prospect of backwards compatibility always turns my head, so it’s okay to be hopeful too!