Earlier this week, Sony revealed a bit of footage showing the new Spider-Man game running buttery smooth on its next-gen console (deemed the PS5, for now) versus the same game’s performance, with load screens, on the PlayStation 4 Pro. Further, at its recent investor relations conference (IR Day 2019), Sony revealed more details about its plans for the PS5, how it will fit into the current gaming ecosystem, and what users might expect performance-wise. And then there was an earlier announcement that Sony and Microsoft have teamed up for something relating to cloud-based gaming, which was apparently a surprise to folks at Sony. However, it came out at IR Day 2019 that there was no such partnering.
All in all, it’s been quite the week for Sony.
With each next console generation, players face numerous issues, with the primary one likely being will I get [x new console]? Personally, that question only arises when companies start to release games that I really want to play on a system that I don’t have. And even then, need trumps want, because frankly, I only have room for so many consoles, and I’m very happy with the ones I have now.
But what’s interesting about the near future of gaming is something that’s mentioned in Sony’s IR Day Gaming & Network Services segment presentation, something that many outlets have already quoted. The vision statement appears on a slide title “The Role of Streaming in Next Gen” as:
A massively enhanced PlayStation community where enriched and shared PlayStation experiences can be seamlessly enjoyed independent of time and place – with or without a console.
While part of my brain thinks slow your roll there buddy…don’t you dare take away my precious console!, it’s not that grand of a statement in light of Xbox’s all-digital console, the Google Stadia, and the present state of our collective Internet life. While, yes, there’s most certainly going to be a pretty, shiny new console all decked out with the latest and greatest Sony technology that’s backwards compatible and may run games effortlessly, there’s most definitely push now to free gaming from the confines of a particular system. Of course there will be staunch fans on all sides, but could we eventually see a time where the console on which you play a game is less important than the brand under which you play it? The quote above speaks directly to the fact that Sony wants you on its PlayStation team whether or not you want to buy a PS5. Next-gen gaming may very well be more about opening up the boundaries of the console and bringing players under an umbrella of experiences that aren’t tied to that box connected to your TV.
Of course, Sony’s business demands that at least some people buy the PS5 in order for all these visions to get off the ground, so we’re not looking at limitless gaming just yet. So…maybe we’ll just put a pin in that until 2030.