With the recent releases of the Playstation 5 and its rivals, the Xbox Series x and Series S (by “recent,” we mean 2020, OMG how time flies), fans have been wondering if their beloved platforms will receive any improvements.
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Alas, the majority of the material presented here is based on hearsay and speculations from unnamed sources. The key goals of the year for Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo are less about hardware and more on intangible ventures like cloud gaming and brand acquisitions. There will be an article about those later, but for now, here’s we know about the three major brands:
Despite the market shortages, the Playstation 5 had a fantastic year in 2021. I think I speak for the majority of people when I say that the most upsetting aspect of it was the console’s unreasonable price increases. When last counted, it was recorded that 13.4 million PS5s had been sold. It is safe to assume these numbers would have even been more if supply had kept up with demand.
Here’s what Sony has planned for the Playstation in terms of upgrades.
Some fans who are yet to purchase a PS5 may be considering their choice of either a PS5 standard or digital. Those expecting such news may be interested in a May 2021 story that stated a hardware overhaul would be arriving in late 2022, presumably to address chronic chip shortages.
It is rumoured that Sony may be switching from 7nm to 6nm chips, which would offer the PS5 generation a slight performance boost. On the other hand, Sony took three years to release smaller versions of the PS3 and PS4, and another three years to offer their first Pro model. We can, however, cross our fingers.
The PS5 has only been available in white so far, and while that is unlikely to change anytime soon, Sony has now revealed plans to allow owners to customise their systems in new colour-ways. The plates will be $54 each and come in Midnight Black, Cosmic Red, Nova Pink, Starlight Blue, and Galactic Purple. DualSense controller colour-matches will be available as well.
PSVR 2 is on the road, and early leaks point to capacitive touch sensors, 4K panels, and a strategy that prioritises console-quality AAA games above disposable experiences. The PSVR 2 release date for the PS5 is currently unknown. According to one report, it will be available during the holiday season of 2022, but that is dependent on the global chip scarcity, and Sony’s goal will definitely be to make PS5 consoles accessible before branching out into further gadgets.
Finally, a patent demonstrates how Sony could make portable gaming more popular by developing a DualShock-shaped gaming grip for cellphones.
With the newest acquisition of Activision Blizzard for a reported $68.7 billion dollars, Microsoft has taken significant steps towards the future of gaming. That said, there hasn’t been much to look forward to in terms of hardware this year (at least for now).
We just learned about a prototype Android handheld device for Xbox cloud gaming, complete with a Qualcomm specialised chipset intended particularly for mobile gaming and cloud streaming. There have been reports for a while that Microsoft has been working on prototypes for a device like this for handheld Cloud Gaming, to bridge the gap between complete tactile controls and touch gameplay.
Touchscreens work great in games like Minecraft Dungeons, which are entirely “cloud-native,” but the vast majority of games on xCloud aren’t designed to be played that way. There have also been reports that Microsoft is working on a streaming stick for Xbox, presumably based on a slimmed-down version of the Xbox OS, that would provide customers with a low-cost entry point into the ecosystem, similar to Google’s Stadia + Chromecast Ultra package.
The Nintendo Switch OLED was released on October 8, 2021. We know that it was more of an upgrade from the original Nintendo Switch than its successor. Nintendo Switch 2 or “Nintendo Switch Pro” is expected to launch in late 2022 or early 2023, according to reports. Nintendo indicated on an investor call that the present Nintendo Switch is in the ‘middle period’ of its life cycle, so we don’t expect a Nintendo Switch 2 to be released anytime soon.
In terms of cost, Serkan Toto, a games consultant based in Japan, estimated that the Switch Pro will cost roughly $399. This might be the same system as the Switch 2, and hence the same price, or a new higher-spec version, in which case the Switch 2 will likely cost less.
The so-called Nintendo Switch Pro was rumored to be a follow-up to the original Switch for a while. The Nintendo Switch OLED, on the other hand, improved some aspects of the original Switch but not its performance. As a result, there are still speculations circulating that a ‘pro’ version is in the works.
Nintendo has however stated that, this would not be the case, implying that the speculations and alleged leaks we’ve heard thus far are for a second-generation Switches, not a mid-generation upgrade. We have no easy way of getting confirmation in this situation, so we must rely on our instincts. We believe a new Switch console is in the works, but what remains unsure is whether it’ll be branded the Switch Pro or Switch 2.