Right now we’re probably about 10 months away from the launch of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Scarlett. The two brands are in lockstep, zeroing in on a holiday 2020 launch for Sony and Microsoft respectively.
For PC-only gamers, this may not seem a particularly big deal. History tells us it is a big deal, though. Like it or not, the arrival of a new generation of consoles means a big push forward in terms of system specs. It’s easiest to think of the consoles as the AAA baseline. All multi-platform titles need to work on the weakest dedicated home console and then performance and visuals are scaled from there.
Right now, AAA titles are still coming to the base Xbox One, some six years after it launched. Provided you’re willing to take a resolution hit, most modern games will still run on 5-year-old PC hardware. That 8800 GT you had since before the current-gen consoles came out though? That hasn’t been able to run AAA games for years.
Excluding the Nintendo Switch, which is whole thing unto itself, either the PS5 or the Scarlett is going to become the new baseline for console performance. Details are still sketchy but it looks as if the hardware in both consoles is going to be fairly similar. We’re looking at a 7nm AMD Navi GPU along with an 8C/16T Zen 2 processor and an indeterminate quantity of VRAM. They’re going to be fast, very fast, and all the big games from the likes of EA, Ubisoft, Bethesda, Activision, Square Enix, Capcom, etc, will be geared toward taking advantage of this level of hardware.
It also looks as if they’re going to ship with SSDs as standard, a move which could forever change both how games are developed and what we’re required to install them on. It’s perfectly feasible following these console launches that a game comes along which specially requires it to be installed on an SSD in order to maintain high asset streaming speeds. A ton of you no doubt already have SSDs, but what about a scenario in which all new AAA titles need to be installed on. AAA titles which will ship on 100GB PS5 discs, no less.
All of this should probably at least be on your mind when considering hardware purchases for the next 12 months, even if it’s stuck right at the back. Minimum system specs for games are surely going to bump up significantly, that is unless cross-generation titles are a huge focus.
With that in mind, is the arrival of the next-gen consoles causing you to think twice about a hardware upgrade right now? Are you happy to ride this gen out and wait for new consoles before you upgrade your rig? Let us know your upgrade plans for the coming year blow!