Sony’s opening up about its next generation of PlayStation—and it sounds a lot like an upgraded version of the current one.
Mark Cerny, the lead architect of Sony’s console, divulged technical specifications to Wired, checking off many of the usual boxes, including a faster processor, improved graphics card and backwards compatibility with PS4 games. And while there’s still no talk about a launch date (aside from that it won’t be this year), price or even the official name (though PlayStation 5 is the logical contender), Cerny did offer a few hints about new features.
Audio improvements seem to be a focus of the new PlayStation. It will use new 3D audio technology to let players hear steps behind them and beside them without any additional hardware. Loading speeds are another, with the new system using an solid-state hard drive rather than a traditional one, which will load levels and other game elements in significantly less time.
While there will certainly be other features announced in the future (though not at E3, as Sony is skipping the annual video game trade show this year), the “PlayStation 5” is, at its core, another home console. That’s familiar to players, which could end up being its biggest strength, but it comes as other players in the video game industry prepare for seismic changes in how players interact with games.
In March, Google unveiled Stadia, a game streaming service that will launch later this year. It will allow subscribers to play top-tier games at the maximum resolution on virtually any screen—TV, PC, laptop, phone, or tablet—without needing the latest and greatest processor, graphics card or console.
Microsoft, meanwhile, is reportedly exploring a similar model, though work is underway on a new Xbox, which will likely be discussed in depth at E3 in June. (Cerny did say the new PlayStation would have a drive for physical game discs.)
It’s a play-it-safe bet from Sony, based on what they’re showing so far. The company already has its own streaming service And officials seem to be betting that, even if game streaming does take off and become a preferred delivery method for players, that transition will take time. Hopefully enough time for it to recoup the four-year investment on this next PlayStation and make a hefty profit off of it, as well.