It’s been a couple of days since the pre-orders started for the new console generation, and both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S have sold out all over the world. Hype is at an all time high for the new consoles and their incredible power. But with every new generation comes changes to the industry. In previous new console generations this change had little impact on our lives, but I fear that this new generation will have a bigger impact on our lives than we may realize.
Impact #1: Game prices will increase
Sony has already confirmed that many of it’s PS5 games will retail at $70, up from the normal $60 we’ve been used to for many years. Looking at pre-order prices from BT Games, it is already impossible to buy a PS5 or Xbox Series focused game for under R1200. This is a staggering price and will inevitably make new game purchases much more expensive for everyone. Buying games at launch and not on sale will be a much bigger investment, and will come with a lot more research and questioning to ensure people don’t buy a perceived bad game for that amount of money. This is a trend that is not likely to go away, and it is highly probable that next gen games will all retail for well over R1200 at launch.
Impact #2: Your TV is not ready for the new generation
While we as the hardcore gaming scene might see 4K as the bare minimum standard resolution for our TV’s, these TV’s are not yet standard. The majority of households in South Africa, and in fact the world, still only has a 1080p TV. Also, both the new consoles will be able to output games at higher than 60 frame rates. I would bet that virtually no-one has a TV capable of this, as higher than 60 Hz TV’s are incredibly expensive and extremely rare. It means that, while you may buy a R12k gaming console, you may never push it to its full potential, unable to game at 4K resolution, and surely unable to game at higher than 60fps, even though the consoles are clearly capable of such.
Even with computer monitors the situation is not better. The vast majority of users, according to the latest Steam hardware survey, use 1080p monitors incapable of going higher in resolution of frame rate.
What this all means is that we may see an increase in 4K TV adoption in a few years. But seeing as 4K TV’s have been on sale since 2012, the adoption might be slower than expected if other media channels (set top TV, streaming services etc.) do not introduce more 4K content.
Impact #3: Storage will be an issue
Currently we already see many games go over a 100GB install size. Many of the newest AAA games can all be expected to be well over that size limit. What’s more, next gen games will ship with ever increasing texture data as both consoles pack the muscle to handle such high textures, increasing gaming sizes even further. Don’t be surprised to see games installation sizes average at between 150GB and 200GB in the next 2 to 4 years.
With the new consoles shipping with 1TB storage, they can realistically carry only 10 games at this size, if not less. And seeing as both consoles have made the move to speedier NVME SSD storage, expect to see expandable storage cost an absolute premium. The expandable storage for Xbox Series S already costs about the same as the console itself!
These 3 impact points I feel will shape our gaming future, and come at a massive cost. So if you think the next generation of consoles only costs R12k, think again.