The gaming community has had to acclimate to a number of changes this console generation, chief among them being the adoption of mid-cycle hardware refreshes in the form of the PS4 Pro and the yet-to-be-released (and officially named) Project Scorpio. If that weren’t enough, one analyst speculates the next generation could be right around the corner.
According to Macquarie Research analyst Damian Thong, Sony is due for continued growth for the remainder of 2017 and throughout 2018. One of the three catalysts will come down to the PlayStation brand, and it’s here that Thong suggests Sony may be planning to unleash the PlayStation 5 as soon as the second half of 2018:
“We see sustained profit growth in Game & Network Services. We forecast OP growth from ¥140bn in FY3/17 to ¥180bn in FY3/18, driven by expanding software sales and profits. A rising digital ratio and a higher mix of first-party titles will help margins – Horizon Zero Dawn, which launched on 28 Feb, looks to have had a good start with a Metacritic score of 88.
While we have tempered expectations to account for rivalry with Microsoft/Xbox and PC gaming, we note that the success of PS VR (which has reached 915K units sold) highlights the health of the ecosystem. We expect Sony to launch a >10 TFLOPS ‘PS5’ in 2H18 to secure the installed base.”
Thong states that PlayStation VR has sold 915,000 units, which in and of itself strongly suggests the VR peripheral may play a vital role in the presentation of the PS5. With Gran Turismo Sport still expected to release sometime this year, there’s little denying that the sales figure will continue to grow.
Even more interesting is the suggestion of a more powerful GPU with peak performance upwards of 10 TFLOPs, or over 2.4x what the PS4 Pro offers. This would place the next generation GPU within striking distance of the Nvidia Titan X GPU at 11 TFLOPs, and while the actual figure is likely to differ in the time before its eventual release, it remains an impressive starting point.
For curious minds, this isn’t the first we’ve heard of Damian’s speculations. Just last year the Macquarie analyst speculated on a slimmer variant of the PS4 (which turned out to be true). The notion of a next generation PlayStation may be a foregone conclusion, but the timetable may be a cause of concern for some, especially with the aforementioned Pro model releasing only late last year.
While two sides of the same coin, the recent release of the Pro places things in a sticky situation, and should the PS5 release late next year it will beckon the question of “why?”, as the recently released uber PS4 has only just begun to find its footing.
Despite the forecast, it bears having to be mentioned that console generations for the PlayStation brand have typically extended to six years before the unveiling of a new model, with the only exception being the PlayStation 3 which stood tall for seven years. The PS4 will be celebrating its fourth birthday later this autumn.
A more likely scenario is Sony will begin teasing the next generation console next year, targeting a 2019 release window thus maintaining the six year time frame.