After the runaway success of the PlayStation 4 — by far the most successful game console this generation — Sony will release a follow-up system in late 2020. The PlayStation 5 is shaping up to be a behemoth of a console, much like Microsoft’s Xbox Series X, and will be capable of 8K resolution, ray tracing, and other features currently reserved for very expensive PC systems. However, Sony still has plenty of secrets regarding the PS5, and at least a few of them need to be revealed before we’re ready to pick up the console. Should more information be revealed, the PS5 just could be the console of the next generation, too. Here are five big PS5 questions we still need to have answered ahead of its launch in 2020.
The first of two questions we also have for Xbox Series X: What games will we be able to play on the PS5 when it launches next year? After The Game Awards in December, we know that an action-role-playing game called Godfall will be coming to the system, though it will also release for Epic Games Store in late 2020. Presumably, this will be a launch game for the PS5, given the “holiday 2020” release window the game has been tagged with so far. Godfall certainly looks impressive from a technical standpoint, but one game from a new IP is not usually enough to sell a system.
Sony needs to provide more information on launch games for the PS5, and the fact that it hasn’t yet done so likely means that at least a few of its upcoming PlayStation 4 titles will also release on the system. The timing for the PS4 releases of The Last of Us: Part II and Ghost of Tsushima make this particularly likely, and we anticipate Dreams will also come to PS5. Outside of Sony’s own games, information on release dates for confirmed cross-generation games such as Watch Dogs: Legion would help players to make better purchasing decisions.
Given the amount of processing power packed into both the PS5 and Xbox Series X, we know that neither console will be cheap, but just how much more expensive will the PS5 be than Sony’s current offerings? If Sony chooses to price it at the same point as Microsoft’s console, then customers will have to look to other factors when making a decision.
The decision was made easier during the current generation, as the PS4 was $100 cheaper than the Xbox One from the beginning, but Microsoft isn’t going to make this mistake again. Sony has to understand this, and must avoid overpricing the system as it did with the PS3 back in 2006. It dealt a substantial blow to the console that took years of marketing and messaging to remedy.
We already know that Sony is working to make the PS5 backward compatible with PS4 games, and even accessories like the PlayStation VR headset, but what we don’t have confirmation on is backward compatibility for older PlayStation systems. The original PlayStation 3 system was capable of playing a huge library of prior PlayStation titles, but Sony has moved away from this in recent years, with the PS4 not supporting backward compatibility at all — aside from streaming through its PlayStation Now service.
But Sony’s competitors are taking a different approach. Microsoft has already said Xbox Series X will be compatible with games dating back to the original Xbox, much like the Xbox One does today. That’s a huge selling point for anyone with limited shelf space, and Sony needs to address the PS5’s full backward compatibility in order to show the console is up to the challenge.
Earlier this year, a Sony patent suggested that the next-generation PlayStation VR headset could be wireless, replacing the bulky, multiwire version of the headset currently used on PS4. This would be a major step up from its current design and would make setting up the headset for play much easier, though it would likely come with a price tag to match the improvements.
If Sony wants the PlayStation VR to succeed in the next generation, it must make significant improvements to the headset compared to the current model. We know Microsoft won’t be supporting VR on Xbox Series X, but Sony’s main competition will be the Oculus Quest, which is only slightly less powerful and significantly easier to use. No more external cameras or PlayStation Move controllers, please.
Game streaming might not be the first thing on your mind if you’re looking to purchase a new console, but it could still radically change when and where you play your games. Currently, you can stream content from your PS4 to your phone, but the feature is more of a novelty than anything else. If Sony were to improve this feature or give digital game purchasers streaming access to their games through a PlayStation Now subscription, however, it could potentially rival Microsoft’s Project xCloud system.
Currently, PlayStation Now is not supported on mobile devices, either — that is a big problem, considering that it would immediately be the service’s biggest selling point as we entered the next generation. If Sony wants PlayStation Now to remain relevant, it will need to make it more compatible, and let players pick up their PS5 games from exactly where they left off on a mobile device.
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