Google broke into the cloud gaming space with the announcement of Google Stadia, an on-demand game streaming platform. This would be backed up by Google’s bevy of services and robust cloud infrastructure.
Now, Sony seems to have caught up with Google, as its newest announcement portends towards the rise of cloud gamings. From performance improvements to accessibility, the PlayStation 5 will bring the future of gaming to every screen.
The PS4, Replaced?
Before anything, Sony made it clear that the PS4 is going to be the current generation of the PlayStation brand for at least the next 2 years. The console is still very profitable for Sony, and has a few exclusive game titles coming to the platform.
The company even conducted a mid-generation refresh of the PS4 in the form of the PS4 Pro. The addition of more computing power allowed for the console to have 4K graphics and better performance.
The PS4 Pro’s life cycle is not mature yet, which means that there are many games coming for the console. Moreover, Sony’s profits have not run dry, and the developer market for PS4 is still sizeable. In a corporate strategy meeting, Sony stated:
“[The PlayStation 4] will remain the engine of engagement and profitability for the next three years.”
Under The Hood Of ‘Next-Gen’
However, the fact remains that the PS5, which Sony referred to as the ‘next-gen’ console, is already beginning to be fleshed out. The console’s specifications have also surfaced, with AMD providing the guts for both Sony and Microsoft consoles this year.
The AMD APU, with the codename Gonzalez, features AMD’s Zen 2 architecture for the CPU. It is built on the 7nm manufacturing process, and features the upcoming Navi architecture for the GPU. Moreover, the chip is also said to be capable of real-time ray tracing; a feature reserved previously for only Nvidia cards.
Twitter user TUM_APISAK, who has leaked many details in the past, posted a serial number of the chip in the PS5; 2G16002CE8JA2_32/10/10_13E9. This makes the CPU a 3.6 GHz, 95W TDP, AM4 chip with 8 cores and, possibly, 16 threads. The GPU details are unknown as of yet.
The PS5 is said to have 8+ teraFLOPs of power, and almost 2x increase over the last gen PS4 Pro. Added to this, it is equipped with 12GB of the latest gen GDDR6 RAM. Moreover, it is also said to come with an SSD to cut down on game loading times.
The console can also support graphics with a resolution upto 8K. At decreased resolutions, it is possible that the machine could play games at a resolution of 4K at 60 frames per second.
Today, PlayStation’s Remote Play option offers the option to play on any device, which is set for an “evolution” according to Sony. PlayStation Now, the on-demand game streaming service run by Sony, could also play a huge role in the hybrid future of the PS5. The crown gem of the PS5 could lie in its purported cloud gaming properties.
An Unlikely Ally
In a recent meeting, Sony showcased the power of the PS5, referred to as ‘next-gen’ in their marketing materials. Showing loading times on the Spiderman game for PS4, Sony showed that the next-gen console showed an almost 10x improvement. The time decreased from 8 seconds on the PS4 Pro to 0.8 seconds on the PS5.
While this is possible with a custom SSD, which sources say runs 19 times faster than a normal one, this hints at cloud gaming hybrid. It is also similar to Google’s Instant Access philosophy, which showed Stadia loading games in about 3 seconds.
To beat the 800 pound gorilla in the game streaming space, Sony partnered with its long-time console market rival, Microsoft. Under this partnership, the two giants will collaborate on a cloud gaming platform.
Sony announced that they were entering into a partnership with Microsoft for use of their Azure cloud platform. Keeping in theme with this, Microsoft have positioned themselves as providing cloud game development service. They recently announced a host of services for game development on Azure.
For cloud gaming, the most important part is how close the datacenter is to the end user in terms of latency. Microsoft has a lead in the cloud market and also features data centers in high population density regions all over the world. This explains the reason for Sony picking their rival.
The partnership shows multiple things. Primarily, it shows Sony and Microsoft recognizing the dominance of Google as a web giant. The sheer reach that Google has across their suite of products is comparable only to Microsoft’s Windows platform.
Moreover, the move also shows Microsoft’s expertise in the cloud market. All the parties have time to iron out all the details, as the cloud market as a whole progresses towards game streaming.
Leviathans Begin Revolution
Google’s Stadia is set to launch later this year, with the worldwide rollout taking place over the next few years. On the other hand, Sony and Microsoft are gearing up to launch their consoles in the second half of next year.
Amazon, another prominent cloud services provider, has also expressed plans of moving into cloud-powered gaming. Microsoft also seems to be coming up with a budget version of the XBox for its next generation of consoles. Reportedly, this will not have a disc drive for physical games and could be powered by Microsoft’s xCloud streaming platform.
The move towards cloud gaming seems to be the future of the gaming market, moving the game from the living room to any screen. The natural evolution of games has reached the cusp of its next step, as seen by industry leaders looking to take on the trend.
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I am an AI enthusiast and love keeping up with the latest events in the space. I love video games and pizza.