The information in this article is neither rumor nor confirmed information. Rather, just the direction I see the Playstation 5 and the Xbox One’s successor heading in?
My probability pie chart looks something like this:
* 2018 (5%)
* 2019 (45%)
* 2020 (40%)
* 2021 (10%)
A release in 2018 is a bad idea. The PS4 Pro and Xbox One X just came out and neither company wants to cannibalize their own products. Consumers won’t buy a new console just a year after they bought one and the companies probably don’t want to hurt the sales of their recent refreshes. Also, graphical processors inflated in price recently and it may be better to wait for the market to change. Plus storage could be had for cheaper if the companies wait.
Price is going to be tricky. It would be indeed hard to have a system which is meaningfully more powerful than the PS4/X1 without being expensive. $400-450 is the magic price point. Remember what $600 did to the PS3 and Sega Saturn? A pro edition of the consoles for $500 makes sense, but only for a niche of higher-end gamers. Most consumers don’t want to spend that much for a console. A large base of consumers include kids, teenagers, college students and broke people in general.
I am predicting that the next wave of consoles will be substantially smaller than the PS4 and Xbox were at launch. Technology has changed a lot over the past several years. Tablets, smartphones and laptops are tiny. Processors have been getting a bit more energy efficient. I expect the next wave of consoles to have a similar size as the PS4 Slim if not smaller.
I don’t expect the specs to be massive improvement due to pricing concerns and Moore’s Law weakening. I expect most of the improvements to be in a lot of little features here and there which greatly improve the user experience.
The CPU and GPU may be equivalent in raw performance to a Ryzen 3 1200 and GTX 1070 (basically something like an Xbox One X with a better CPU). I expect 12 GB VRAM (as in the Xbox One) to be the standard since RAM is expensive, console OS’s are light and games won’t need more than that typically. For storage, 1 TB will be the minimum, but I’d hope they’d come with 1.5 or 2 TB hard drives since games are now getting to be 60 GB in size each. 3-4 TB storage drives will probably appear in console refreshes. I’m hoping that consoles will be able to integrate a solid state drive in some way, even if it is just a very small 16 GB drive for the OS and apps. However, costs must be cut somewhere.
With the Xbox One X being able to game at 4K, we now know that 4K gaming will be a standard. 4K TV’s will also be far more common in consumer homes in 2020 than they are today. People are usually late adopters. However, there are many people who (a) don’t have a 4K display to game on and (b) prefer a higher refresh rate. Current gen consoles have a low frame rate of 30 per second because of their cheap CPU’s combined with good GPU’s. If next-gen consoles decided to keep a similar GPU to the Xbox One but significantly improve the CPU, not only will games still look better but they can also perform much better.
In the 2020’s, I hope console gamers will finally be able to experience 60 frames per second in most of their games. Also, there is a need for an in-between: perhaps an option for 1440p gaming at higher graphical settings instead of 4K gaming at lower graphical settings. During 2013, most people had 1080p 60hz televisions/monitors, but opportunities to increase screen resolution and refresh rate are present and not everyone is going to have the same resolution/framerate needs.
My Wishlist of Features for 9th Gen consoles.
* Small cartridges instead of discs (for saving space)
* Ability to customize icons and layout on OS
* A good wishlist feature for console stores
* Keyboard and mouse support
* Integrated microphone inside of the controller
* USB-C ports (for powering controllers or any USB-C capable devices)
* More ability to multitask (i.e. allow 5 apps open at once while not gaming)
* Microsoft’s next console should be able to run popular apps like MS Office and such.