The next generation of consoles launched in late 2020, ushering in a new era of gaming. The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S both sport impressive technical specs and have a promising line--up of games. However, due to ongoing shortages for both consoles, they are still a hassle for gamers to get. Even a year later, trying to secure one of these elusive platforms has proven to be a serious challenge.
This continued struggle to mass produce PS5s on a large enough scale has long been acknowledged by Sony, as a good number of players want to jump into the next generation of gaming. Recently, Sony decided to make more PS4s as an alternative solution since the company is low on the required parts to make enough PS5s. This is concerning, especially going into the second year of the console's life, however there may be a silver lining in the years to come.
The Awkward PS4/PS5 Cross-Gen Situation
It isn't uncommon for a company to continue supporting the prior console for a while after its successor is released. In Sony's case, the PS2 still received love after the PS3 arrived, and the PS3 still had new releases once the PS4 hit the scene. That being said, once the newer console is available, its predecessor take more of a backseat. It's just a natural evolution, out with the old and in with the new.
This isn't the same situation with the PS4 and PS5 overlap. The PS5 has its share of impressive exclusives so far, such as Demon's Souls and Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, games that showcase the incredible potential of Sony's latest home console. However, major titles such as Horizon Forbidden West and God of War Ragnarok will also be available on PS4.
Although this makes sense from Sony's perspective, since there are currently more PS4s available, it does contradict the company's prior statements about believing in console generations. Furthermore, many players feel that making developers continue to develop for PS4 as cross-gen releases will limit the opportunity to take advantage of what the PS5 can truly do.
The Possibility of a Longer Console Generation
Sony's decision makes sense from a business perspective, but it is also understandably frustrating for early PS5 adopters. Sony continuing to make PS4s throughout 2022 implies that the company can foresee PS5 shortages as a continued problem at least until the end of the year, and potentially into 2023. This continued support for PS4 cuts into development time for what could be PS5-exclusive games.
If this trend continues into 2023, that could mark the three-year anniversary of the PS5 with a significant amount of time lost on developers not using the console to its fullest. Couple this with console generations typically lasting six-to-seven years on average, and that would be roughly half of the PS5's life gone with so much potential only hinted at.
Sony is likely aware of the overlap between the latest console generations, and how it is a bit more awkward than usual. As a company, it is likely eager for fans to fully dive into next generation and show off everything the PS5 can do. For the PS5 to truly hit its stride by 2023 or 2024, only to have roughly three years left to go, would be a shame. For this reason, Sony may extend the usual console life cycle by an extra year or two in order to fully give the PS5 the spotlight it deserves.
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