Sony has all but announced the PS4K, a more powerful system, and seemingly a half-step in the current console generation. The new console is rumored to boast more powerful hardware with capabilities to run games in 4K resolution and maybe even have PSVR capabilities built in. We know that this new console is said to release by October of this year, but no dates have been solidified. What does this mean for the industry, though? What does it mean for development cycles and the games that come out? What about current PS4 owners?
Sony is seemingly trying to change things with the PS4K. Incrementally updated consoles could mean a shift in the industry as a whole, but we already see Nintendo do this with their Nintendo DS handhelds (there have been nine of them released over twelve years) and it seems to be working but are people willing to spend another $400?
As we all know, a new iPhone comes out every two years with a half step in between. Consoles come out every five to seven years and that’s all we get for those five years, no hardware upgrades or anything like that (unless you’re the N64 and have an expansion pack.) Yeah, we get new the iPhone every few years but do we really want to do the same for new gaming consoles every two years?
Other than more power, what does the PS4K offer to devs? Likely, the only motivation a dev will have to develop for this new system is sales and so, if the PS4K comes out, sells well, and is definitely the superior system, what is keeping the devs from completely abandoning the PS4? Is there really a point in keeping the older system, whether it be downgrading the games or just not making the games for the older system? Not that porting a game is necessarily bad, but if it turns out like Hyrule Warriors did on the 3DS, which is bad, that is not something I want to see happen on PlayStation.
It’s safe to say it takes a few years for developers to get into the groove of making games for a system. Comparing Grand Theft Auto IV to Grand Theft Auto V, one released at the start of the PS3 life cycle and one released at the end of it; there is obviously a big difference not only graphically, but also in scope. GTA V‘s map and content are much more substantial than GTA IV‘s. This comes from knowledge of the architecture and time. If the architecture is changing and the time is getting shorter, it makes it harder for the devs to give us quality games.
The PS4K has a really good chance of splitting the PlayStation community. About 40 million PS4s have been sold and you would imagine not all 40 million people would make the jump to this system. Gamers and the gaming industry has been used to consoles taking five to ten years to release with, usually, pretty big jumps in hardware and capabilities, when the PS4K comes out, it will need to do really well and change the industry as a whole if it wants to avoid being a complete flop.