Sony confirmed that the PlayStation 5 is on track to launch later this year, while Epic Games has used the console to demonstrate the capabilities of its newest engine.
On Wednesday (13 May), Sony released its results for the fourth fiscal quarter of 2019, highlighting that while there was a decrease in PlayStation 4 hardware sales compared to the same period in the previous year, the company has now sold more than 110m units of the console worldwide.
The company also said that the PlayStation 5 is still on track for its launch later this year, despite the disruption to business caused by ongoing coronavirus restrictions.
“Although factors such as employees working from home and restrictions on international travel have presented some challenges in regards to part of the testing process and the qualification of production lines, development is progressing, with the launch of the console scheduled for the 2020 holiday season,” Sony said.
It added that no “major problems” have arisen yet in the game software development pipeline for Sony’s first-party studios or its partners’ studios.
The next generation of consoles
Xbox boss Phil Spencer recently confirmed that the Xbox Series X – which is expected to rival the PlayStation 5 – is also still set for a holiday 2020 launch. However, he warned that software development could be disrupted between now and then.
Meanwhile, Epic Games revealed the next iteration of its game engine yesterday, with a demo running on the PlayStation 5 console.
The demo shows off the Unreal Engine 5 (UE5), providing viewers with an idea of what next-gen consoles will be capable. Epic’s chief technology officer, Kim Libreri, described it as a “quantum leap” for consumers and developers.
While demos can often be “hyper-optimised”, Libreri told The Verge he is “fairly confident” that developers will be able to achieve visuals of this quality within a full studio title using next-gen consoles and UE5.
Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney added: “The graphics speak for themselves. And Epic has always pushed the bleeding edge of what’s possible.
“Our goal isn’t just to bring more features to developers. The hardest problem in game development right now is building high-quality games takes enormous time and cost. So we want to make developers’ lives easier and more productive.”
The console wars
While Microsoft has revealed more details about the upcoming Xbox Series X, unveiling the console design last December, Sony has said that PlayStation 5 sales will do the talking later this year.
Sony’s chief financial officer, Hiroki Totoki, was asked if the lack of PlayStation 5 promotion meant that the company was failing to keep up with Microsoft’s efforts. According to Bloomberg, Totoki responded: “We consider things strategically, but doing our best. As for pass or fail, I would wait for PS5 sales to make that judgement.”
While Sony has sold more than 110m PlayStation 4 consoles, analysts have estimated that Microsoft has sold around 50m Xbox One consoles.
Neither Sony or Microsoft have disclosed potential price ranges of their planned console releases for later this year. When Microsoft launched the Xbox One, it cost $100 more than the PlayStation 4, but Xbox’s Spencer told The Verge last year that “we will not be out of position on power or price” when it comes to the Xbox Series X.