As of late, Sony has been ramping up some announcements regarding their Next Generation PlayStation plans. Sony has no plans on attending E3 2019 or hosting a press conference during E3 2019. Recently, Sony had a few announcements regarding Next Generation PlayStation.
The first one is a “strategic partnership” with Microsoft. Nobody really knows what this partnership entails, but Microsoft is already working on their own solution, called Project xCloud. Sony already has a streaming service, PlayStation Now. According to the announcement by Microsoft, both companies are slated to develop streaming services in Azure, and host Sony’s game content entirely in the Azure cloud. They’ve worked together for many years, but it’s been speculated that this partnership intensified over the last year now.
Furthermore, during Sony’s Corporate Meeting today, Sony referenced the partnership in a slide. Sony said “We will leverage existing and new partnerships to achieve growth and scale faster than ever before.” They continued by saying “This follows the model successfully followed in growing our PSN business.”
PlayStation Network encompasses not just the network itself, it encompasses the PlayStation Store, PlayStation Vue, PlayStation Now, and more. Meaning, whatever business model they were doing before, they will apply to the new PlayStation Network in Azure to maintain sustainability.
This announcement sent shockwaves throughout the game industry. Everyone has their own opinion about the idea. However, if they’ve been working together for many years, this is just “business as usual.” Some have speculated that this is a war on the new trend in the technology world – Google unveiled Stadia during GDC 2019 in March. Apple unveiled their own game streaming service, and Amazon is speculated to announce their own game streaming service.
That’s not all, the PlayStation team was equally as shocked as everyone else. The management had to calm down workers saying that none of this affects current PlayStation plans internally. Sony purchased Gaikai, which has been building out the PlayStation Now service since 2012, Sony also acquired some of the OnLive IP.
The second one is about the hard drive. Sony already announced that the Hard Drive will make “load times a thing of the past.” During the Corporate Meeting at Sony today, Sony reiterated that PlayStation 5 has a new CPU, GPU, will support Ray Tracing, 8k, will have backward compatibility, and Disc Support.
The big subject of the meeting, though was the SSD (Solid State Drive). Sony already said they’re making a custom Hard Drive to speed up load times, and the rendering of games, which means fetching assets from the games you install or download. They invited Wall Street Journal’s Takashi Mochizuki to show off the lighting fast loading time in real time…
In the video embedded above, Sony showed off PS5’s load time(s) by comparing PS5 load times side by side with the recently released PS4 Pro.
Sony says that PlayStation 4 is part of their next generation plans. Sony said that so far, they’ve sold over 96.8 Million PS4 consoles worldwide. Furthermore, PlayStation Network has 94 Million subscribers (keep in mind this is across PS3, PSVita, PS4, and PS4 Pro).
Sony projects that PlayStation 4 will hit 100 Million units by the end of 2019. I think it’s safe to say they’ll meet that projection earlier. In two slides, Sony talks about PlayStation 4’s role in Sony’s Next Generation plans.
Sony plans to leverage the adoption of PS4 to transfer easily to PS5 with a combination of exclusive PS4 titles still to come, backward compatibility, and gaming experiences. This is not the first time Sony has tried to transition from generation to generation, they’ve tried it with PS3, by offering backward compatibility straight out of the box. But from what these slides are alluding to, is that they’ve successfully done so.