With the PlayStation 5, Sony is sticking to what it knows. Alongside the announcement of its upcoming next-gen games reveal event, boss Jim Ryan conducted an interview with Games Industry.biz, where he stressed that it’s “time to give the PlayStation community something new, something different, that can really only be enjoyed on PS5”. The insinuation here is that we’re going to see true exclusive titles next week, which take full advantage of its new hardware.
Of course, throughout the history of console launches there has always been software designed to take advantage of the new box. Microsoft’s approach with Xbox Series X is causing some debate, however, because it has committed to releasing its titles on both its next-gen platform and its current one – at least for the first year or two. That means that games like Halo: Infinite will launch on Xbox Series X, Xbox One X, and even Xbox One S.
“We have always said that we believe in generations,” Ryan said. “We believe that when you go to all the trouble of creating a next-gen console, that it should include features and benefits that the previous generation does not include. And that, in our view, people should make games that can make the most of those features. We are thinking that it is time to give the PlayStation community something new, something different, that can really only be enjoyed on PS5.”
Sony, to be clear, is not abandoning the PS4 at all – it knows it will continue to be a cash cow for the company for years to come. “If you say in broad brush figures that we have a community of 100 million PS4 owners right now, and in the first couple of years… I don't know, somewhere between 15 and 25 million might migrate to PS5, that still leaves a huge number of people with PS4s,” he continued. “We have always felt that we had a responsibility to serve that community.”
So, what are the advantages of Sony’s generational approach, then? Well, there’s been a lot of talk about the PS5’s ultra-fast SSD, and that’s something developers wouldn’t really be able to leverage if they still had to design their games around the significantly slower PS4 hard drive. Imagine a hypothetical sequel to Horizon Zero Dawn: the SSD could allow for flying mounts, but if Guerrilla Games had to support the PS4 as well, it might have to remove that feature.
It also provides incentive to upgrade: why bother buying a new console if you can play all of its games on the one you’ve already got? Outspoken Xbox executive Aaron Greenberg took to Twitter to respond to the latest batch of PS5 reports: “Xbox believes in generations,” he said. “Generations of games that play on the latest hardware taking advantage of next-gen innovation offering more choice, value, and variety than any console launch ever.”
The proof will, as always, be in the pudding. Microsoft clearly believes that it can effectively demonstrate a generational jump, despite all of its Xbox Series X launch software being designed to run on the Xbox One X and Xbox One S as well. Sony, meanwhile, hopes to give its community “a little bit of a jolt” with titles it believes are only possible on new hardware. Bluepoint Games, one of the teams working on a PS5 exclusive project, had this to say: “It’s time to leave our old gaming limitations behind us.”
Which approach do you prefer? Do you think Sony should be designing all of its PS5 games with PS4 in mind, or do you reckon next-gen hardware is wasted when saddled with the restrictions of old consoles? Demonstrate a generational jump in the comments section below.