Friday, June 10, 2016

PS4.5 aka Neo and The New Console "Generations"

Well, figures that I'd get a PS4 about a month before the announcement of a new Sony system. However, this new "generation" isn't exactly that. It looks like Sony and Microsoft will be releasing new, more powerful versions of their current consoles, but as far as I understand it, this won't create a totally new game library. The new systems will be more powerful, but - and this is an assumption on my part - they probably won't be fundamentally different in such a way to prevent compatibility with the generation's earlier games.

Obviously, it's way too early to see a new console generation. The Xbox One/PS4 generation was launched in fall of 2013 - less than three years ago. Compare that with the previous generation of consoles, which launched in 2005 and continued to be relevant for eight years.

I made a fairly dire and frustrated post when I learned about the Nintendo NX (possibly just a codename,) given how I didn't feel like the Wii U got a chance to thrive. But you could imagine a new model for video game consoles that allow them to release new hardware without requiring everyone to keep up.

Obviously, in the PC world, new computers come out every year. Operating systems get updates, but software either simply remains compatible or gets a little patch to allow the program to keep running.

I've been playing World of Warcraft just under ten years now, and my current 2014 Mac Mini is a very different piece of hardware than my 2004-era Macbook.

So what I wonder is if we might see consoles start to go in a similar direction - you might get a PS4 Neo next year and play Bloodborne and Fallout 4 on it, and then maybe in three or four years they'll release the PS5, but it'll still be able to play those old games. Eventually, your old console might not be able to handle the newest games, and perhaps some older, less popular games will not get updated, but the general rule will be backwards compatibility.

I think E3 officially starts tomorrow, and we'll almost certainly get more details on the "new" console.

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