To the shock of everyone (including PlayStation employees), Sony and Microsoft will be working together on their cloud services for gaming. While they have been competing in the video game console industry for years, Sony is not an expert in the Cloud system. Running a cloud server is expensive and Microsoft is considered the 2nd biggest company with the capabilities. Sony and Microsoft “will explore joint development of future cloud solutions in Microsoft Azure to support their respective game and content-streaming services.”
Essentially, PlayStation’s online services will be hosted on Microsoft’s Azure Cloud platform. Don’t expect PlayStation exclusive games or services to come to Xbox or vice-versa. This collaboration can be considered a response to the Stadia from Google and Amazon’s Cloud gaming system (which still isn’t out yet).
Cloud isn’t going to take over anytime soon
Despite the Stadia coming out this year, don’t expect Cloud Gaming to take over the industry. Reports from players have said there were mixed results including delays in registering actions and reduced graphics quality. I strongly believe that console gaming will be strong in the next generation however Cloud gaming can be a game changer once 5G actually comes out. An analyst has predicted that Cloud gaming will only take 2% of the industry according to Bloomberg.
Electronic Arts Access subscription service is coming to PlayStation starting in July. It cost $4.99 a month or $29.99 for the whole year. If you pay for the subscription, you’ll have access to various EA title, 10% off new digital purchases, and early access to their demos. It was only on Xbox and PC because PlayStation didn’t want other gaming subscription services on their devices that weren’t PlayStation provided.
Why is this important?
EA Access coming to PlayStation are signs that Sony is relaxing on their isolation policies. Many players are familiar with PlayStation not having cross-platforming capabilities for a majority of the games. Many players complained at Sony, especially after Nintendo and Microsoft announced cross-play between the platforms for Fortnite but Sony had not. Sony has since announced crossplay for Fortnite in September. With Sony lessening their restrictions, this may lead to the PlayStation having different subscription services or more open crossplay games.
Wired released an article about interviewing the specs and capabilities of the “next PlayStation console” according to Mark Cerny (Lead Architect for PlayStation 4 and Vita). A lot focused on the internal parts and systems that will make it great but let me break it down for people who are unfamiliar with specs and gaming hardware.
3rd generation Ryzen cores designed for the 7nm fabrication process, based on the upcoming Zen 2 design: The “PlayStation 5” will be as strong as a standard gaming PC and be able to run games even better. More stuff on the screen and being able to show everything without the game slowing down at all.
A custom variant of AMD’s upcoming Navi architecture: The games for the new PlayStation console will look amazing.
Ray Tracing: Game audio quality will be good. You’ll be able to even hear the footsteps of characters or hear audio from different sources in the game in one area. Audio quality from PlayStation 3 to 4 was quite minor but expect big changes to the next one. You won’t need to buy new audio equipment; you should be able to hear everything from a television speaker.
The current PlayStation VR model will be compatible with the PlayStation 5.
Solid State Drive: Your games are gonna be able to run way faster. Cerny demonstrated how long it took in Spider-man for PlayStation 4 to fast travel. In the PlayStation 4 Pro model, it took 15 seconds; in the developers kit for the prototype of the “PlayStation 5,” it took 0.8 seconds. Your game and its environment will be able to move much faster and you can accelerate motion in the game while still looking good.
Backwards Compatability: You’ll be able to play your PlayStation 4 games. It will still accept physical media so you don’t have to worry about your games becoming obsolete.
In regards to other features, that still remains to be determined but don’t expect the PlayStation 5 to come out in 2019! Cerny also didn’t state anything about cloud services but he did say “we are cloud-gaming pioneers, and our vision should become clear as we head toward launch.”