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DarXyde

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DarXyde's Expectations for PlayStation 5

As we move into the holiday season, many people hope for new hardware in some capacity: PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC, or heck, maybe even Vita or 3DS. We also should not discount the interest in accessories (e.g., elite/SCUF controllers, storage, and so on). Point being, people love new hardware. Maybe you find yourself getting one of the aforementioned consoles because you want another one or the current software selection and hardware fit well into your budget. Whatever your reasons, good for you!

This time next year however, many gamers will know exactly what to expect in terms of specifications and price of next generation hardware: the PS5 and Xbox Project Scarlett. Personally, I believe that we will also see a beefed up Switch that acts as a dedicated console to compete more in terms of power with the PS5 and next Xbox (though I believe it will be somewhere in the neighborhood of Pro/One X power).

I already own a Switch and decided against Xbox next generation, so I will discuss some of the big and more nuanced expectations I have for Sony's next-generation machine. I will do this by focusing on statements made by Sony and rumors and provide my analysis for what that may entail.

1. "We want early adopters."

Sony stated that they wanted to hit the ground running next generation with as much early adoption as they can get. Because of that, I expect a number of things. First, I believe that means PS5 will be anywhere between $400 and $500. While $400 would be fantastic, we also need to give thought to the technology in the machine. Sony wants to give us a very powerful machine at a reasonable price, and I think an increase in cost is fair, considering what we are expected to get. Second, I think we will see mostly sequels in the early years of PS5. One of the surest ways to get people on board is to give them something familiar and loved, and launching with that is a great approach. Microsoft recognizes this by launching with Halo and Nintendo has launched Switch with Zelda. I expect Sony to launch for the first time in their console history with an exemplary arsenal. I happen to subscribe to the notion that BluePoint is working on a Demon's Souls remake, and if they are preparing something like that for launch, I think we will really see something for everyone. Though the SoulsBorne games have gained popularity in recent years, we can still treat them as niche titles. Accordingly, I sincerely think we will see a diverse megaton lineup very early into PS5's life. Third, I expect a pretty serious re-rollout of PS Now and PS Plus. I will say something that is potentially crazy, but here it is anyway: I think we may see either a reduction in the cost to play online or a return to PS3-style online with an omission of cost entirely to play. That in itself could really motivate the frequent multiplayer types to gravitate toward Sony's machine. To me, it makes sense, especially if Sony also feels the need to compete with Switch and their online entry fee, though a huge difference will be in availability of certain titles. Since we should not expect many multiplatform games on PS5 to also be on Switch, Sony in this context would really only need to focus on undercutting Xbox.

2. "History is an important part of PS5"

We heard some time ago that history would be an important component of PS5's approach. Sounds fantastic, but what exactly does that mean? Well, my expectations are a bit more nuanced in this regard. First, to start with the obvious, I think we are going to get a machine that is the real deal in terms of backwards compatibility - all the way back to PSOne. If I recall they did hire some members of the PS3 emulation community, which is more than a little suspicious. BUT to do that, there is another consideration that is never really talked about, which brings me to my second expectation: PS5's controller will return to the era of pressure-sensitive face buttons. Why? Because for backwards compatibility to work, it needs to be. My third expectation is that, continuing with my prior point, the patents suggest the light bar has been axed from the PS5's controller. Good riddance, I say. However, it would be necessary for PS4 games, and we know PS5 is backwards compatible with PS4 at least. Therefore, I think it is reasonable to believe that the PS5 will be able to support the Dualshock 4 (in fact, I seriously think it is required for PS4 games). Assuming backwards compatibility extends to PS3, I think you may also need the DS4 for PS3 titles too. Why, you ask? Well..here's a crazy thought: I do not believe that the DS5 will support motion controls. The controller itself seems really feature-rich already. Obviously though, in order for the PS5 to recognize these controllers, we need Bluetooth. Seems like a "duh" moment, but yeah, that would be an expectation. This is why I believe history is so important with PS5: you will need devices from PlayStation's history to utilize PS5 well. Onto the last thing about history: I think we can safely assume PS5 supports the DS4. And given that I also expect the controller features to vary where DS5 may not have motion control (and definitely not a light bar), I wonder if Sony will allow developers to choose which controller gamers will require for some PS5 games. In other words: if developers want to use the light bar for some games and motion controls, will they make it so that these PS5 games require a DS4? I don't really know and I think it is unlikely, but it could be, especially when you consider the emphasis on history. I do not believe this emphasis ends with backwards compatibility - in may in fact be a necessary component for the PS5 experience in this way. There is one more thing about history I want to touch on, and I will do it in the next section.

3. "Those storage cards patents"

To be honest, those cards that people are talking about do not really seem like storage solutions to me. I guess I cannot say I am convinced of this much yet. I do believe we will see some serious storage constraints on PS5 when we consider expected cost and how we will have the option of installing parts of the game instead of the whole thing. I do not think those cards are for storage exactly - not in the way you think, anyway. For storage expansion, I think we will see USB-C thunderbolt SSD support. It would be pretty criminal to deny that much to us. So what do I think those cards are for? Well...my theory is bizarre. One thing about Sony is that, in addition to doing their own thing, they also like to cover the bases offered by their competition. We saw this with VR (competing with PC), motion controls in the SIXAXIS/DS3 and PS Move (competing with Wii), and the updated PlayStation Eye (Kinect). And so, I think those cards are meant to compete with Switch and xCloud. How exactly? I actually believe the Dualshock 5 is a smart controller in every sense of the word, and that hole on the bottom is related to those cards. I actually think it attaches like a dongle and can store games where you can use your phone's screen so you can take it on the go. This can be accomplished via Bluetooth, and would actually justify my thinking that they would remove motion controls from the DS5 - after all, why would you shake a controller that has a dongle hanging from it? On top of that, with history being such an important piece - and this is where I get really crazy in my thinking - what if the full backwards compatibility is achieved natively and allows ALL games to be downloaded via PS Now instead of streamed and can be taken on the go? Naturally, there would be some restrictions to prevent piracy, but I think it is quite feasible. 25 years of PlayStation history on the go. Sony is not stupid. The PS3's launch withstanding, they have consistently kept their finger on the pulse, and I think they will see a remarkable spike in PS5 adoption and PS Now subscriptions if people can download games across the spectrum of PlayStation history and play them on the go. Sony must know that a big reason why PS Now has limited appeal is because not all games can be played locally and streaming is still not a perfect solution. This would be exactly how Sony can directly compete with Game Pass, xCloud, Stadia, and Switch in one move. I never subscribed to PS Now because I saw it as a service with very limited appeal, but this would really make it into something very competitive. I am not sure if I can call this an expectation, but it certainly is something that would be fascinating in competing with Switch and xCloud. The remaining question in this regard however is...how can we get such a device to play games necessitating motion controls or the light bar? I do not have an answer for that yet, so this would be a huge hole in my thinking.

As always, thank you for reading. Feel free to agree or disagree (amicably) in the comments. It would be very interesting to have some discourse on this, and I would love to hear all of your thoughts.

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stuckNhere4Good3d ago (Edited 3d ago )

I don't have much in the way of expectations, but I do have suspicions which give me hope that PS5 will be a legitimate heir to PS3 -- unlike PS4/pro:

1. Although Jim Ryan said he wants to quickly transition the community from PS4 to PS5, he never said 'a reasonable price' would be one of the conduits used to facilitate that transition. When it comes to PS5's price, the only person to vaguely speak on it was Mark Cerny, and ironically, what he said about it's price echoes the overall sentiment Ken Kutaragi expressed about the PS3's price in relation to the appeal of its tech:

"I’m aware that with all these technologies, the PS3 can’t be offered at a price that’s targeted towards households." - Ken Kutaragi... http://www.siliconbeat.com/...

“Whether consumers think a product is expensive or cheap all depends on the balance between its appeal and price,” - Ken Kutaragi... http://www.siliconbeat.com/...

"I believe that we will be able to release it at an SRP [suggested retail price] that will be appealing to gamers in light of its advanced feature set." - Mark Cerny... https://mobile.twitter.com/...

Given what has officially been confirmed by Cerny to be part of PS5's 'advanced feature set', I expect PS5 to go for no less than $500 at launch, just like PS3. And it wouldn't suprise me in the least if there was a $600 SKU at launch too.

I have zero expectations for specific games at launch, I only have a hope -- I hope that cancelled projects from the PS3 era (namely The Getaway, Eight Days and Eyedentify) make it to launch or the launch window.

There's nothing 51/50 about entertaining the possibility of PS+ getting a price reduction, or online play being free for the reasons you suggest, but PSNow doesn't need to be re-rolled out. It needs to continue to evolve in lock step with each successive generation of PlayStation hardware as it has done from the outset. What I anticipate will happen next gen is that it will become a tiered service (streams in 720p $69.99/yr, 1080p $79.99/yr and 2160p $99.99/yr?). I also anticipate that DS5 will connect directly to PSNow via router per 'Claims20' of SIE's patent:

6. The controller device of claim 1, wherein the access device is a router.
7. The controller device of claim 1, wherein the inputs are communicated directly over the network to the server, bypassing the client device.
8. The controller device of claim 7, wherein bypassing the gaming client device reduces input latency for inputs communicated to the server... https://patents.google.com/...

stuckNhere4Good3d ago (Edited 3d ago )

2. A couple months ago, a YouTuber uploaded a somewhat poorly produced video... https://www.youtube.com/wat... in which he shows how to connect a PSVITA or PSP to a ps3 via router for remote play, instead of connecting them directly to the ps3. By accessing PS3 via router he claims that a boost in performance (reduction in latency) of 2x or more is possible. I imagine that a network-enabled DS5 connected via router to a PS3 server sitting in a datacenter somewhere would see a significant reduction in latency also. Based on the claims of the patent and the video, I suspect DS5 is getting geared up for the next phase of PSNow's evolution... https://cdn.wccftech.com/wp...

Not to dash your hopes, but there's one other thing I've noticed about the DS5 illustrations that makes me think the lightbar hasn't been removed. If you look at DS5 from the side... https://i.postimg.cc/QNRYT0... , you'll notice two abbreviated lines that represent the touchpad. The abbreviated line on top is shorter and turns downward at an angle into the longer abbreviated line beneath it. The longer abbreviated line then turns straight down. This suggest to me that the lightbar may be integrated into the touchpad.

If the touchpad is viewed from the top down... https://fsmedia.imgix.net/9... the user may see a very thin colored light running along it's top edge. If it's viewed from the front... https://fsmedia.imgix.net/d... (as seen by a camera), then the entire touchpad or some large portion of it may appear to be lit. Underneath the touchpad appears to be a slit just like on DS4, which is there so that the touchpad can be depressed. Below that appears to be a USB port. The DS5's housing also appears voluminous enough to hold the DS3/Sixaxis accelerometers too. If that's the case then I expect DS5 to be a pricey controller (rightfully so), but the only controller PS5 owners and PSNow subscribers will need.

stuckNhere4Good3d ago (Edited 3d ago )

3. I would like to know where you read or heard that SIE hired RPCS3 guys to help with ps3 emulation. The only person I've heard mention something to that affect was Foxy Games UK, and that was just his own speculation. He said he didn't know if it was true, but he thought it was likely. However, his "likely" doesn't cut it. Particularly when the fastest most capable PCs currently available can't run PS3 games under emulation without running into all sorts of issues, and especially when considering what Masayasu Ito said when asked about PS3 backwards compatibility via software emulation:

Ito: Backwards compatibility, particularly in Japan, is something that is strongly brought frequently, so we thought long and hard about this. Realistically, to support backwards compatibility with PS3, the CELL Broadband Engine would have needed to been part of the new console. Currently, it's not possible to simulate this via software. If CELL were the only requirement, that wouldn't have been much of an issue. We would also need to support the supporting hardware indefinitely. We can freely manufacture CELL if the decision is made that it is needed. However, that's not the case with supporting hardware. There are parts which will become difficult to obtain since 7 years is already considered to be long in the IT industry; using this opportunity, we decided to stop going down this path, and as Mark said, to focus our efforts on simplifying developer efforts... https://www.neogaf.com/thre...

There's been a lot of hoopla around the backwards compatibility patents that have Cerny's name on them, but they don't strike me as patents related to PS3 emulation. In fact, there's a couple of articles where Cerny talks about experiments that were done during development of PS4 pro to ensure backwards compatibility with PS4. What he said in those articles is in the very titles of three patents themselves:

"Moving to a different CPU - even if it's possible to avoid impact to console cost and form factor - runs the very high risk of many existing titles not working properly," ... "The origin of these problems is that code running on the new CPU runs code at very different timing from the old one, and that can expose bugs in the game that were never encountered before."... "I've done a number of experiments looking for issues when frequencies vary and... well... [laughs] I think first and foremost, we need everything to work flawlessly." ... https://www.eurogamer.net/a...

“What we do for the legacy games, if you want to play a game from 2-3 years ago that hasn't been patched or tested, is we just run that at 1.6 gigahertz,” said Cerny... https://www.gamasutra.com/v...

1) Backward compatibility testing of software in a mode that disrupts timing... https://patents.google.com/...
2) Backward compatibility through use of spoof clock and fine grain frequency control... https://patents.google.com/...
3) Simulating legacy bus behavior for backwards compatibility... https://patents.google.com/...

stuckNhere4Good3d ago (Edited 3d ago )

My takeaway from Ito and Cerny's words/patents is that at the moment, I should expect PS5 to play PS4/pro games -- not PS3 games. Despite this though, there are two things that give me hope: Kenichiro Yoshida's characterization of the SSD and the SSD patent itself that cites another patent. First, Yoshida's characterization:

"We plan to do that by further improving the computational power of the console, measured in TFLOPS (Tera Floating-point Operations Per Second), and by dramatically increasing the graphics rendering speed through the employment of a customized ultra-fast, broadband SSD.”... https://www.videogameschron...

I've heard of a SSD, but never of a 'broadband SSD'. I don't want to get into the weeds here, but in the SSD patent... https://patents.google.com/... are entries that describe a "sub-CPU" and "accelerator(s)" that the sub-CPU uses to greatly speedup the SSD. What I find peculiar is this patent cites another listed under 'Patent Citations (4)' US20090300642A1 for a 'File input/output scheduler'. Among other entries in this second patent, these two stand out:

[0044] Some embodiments of the present invention may take advantage of a Cell processor architecture or similar processor architecture. FIG. 2 illustrates an example of cell processor 200 configured to implement a FIOS according to an embodiment of the present invention.
0047] By way of example, the FIOS program 101/205 may include a media stack to facilitate interfacing with hardware such as storage device 115... https://patents.google.com/...

I don't know what to really make of it all -- it could be nothing, it could be everything. One thing I know for sure though is that if the 'broadband SSD' was made for an all-new CELL Broadband Engine, then PS5 will be one amazing piece of kit. With CELL at its core, PS3 backwards compatibility will be correctly and fully implemented. It might even be possible for an extremely high percentage of legacy games across all gens to benefit from sub-second load times as well.

And it doesn't stop there, the rabbit hole goes incredibly deep. For the sake of brevity though, I won't go into it. Suffice it to say that the inclusion of CELL would have major implications for the client and network sides. If SIE intends to truly reconcile PlayStation's past and present with its future next-gen, it must do what's difficult but necessary, not what's easy, safe and expedient. That's both my hope and expectation.

You asked what those cards (cartridges) are for, they're for Toio... https://roboticsunderthesto...