While both the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One are still relatively young consoles, multiple news outlets reported rumors of their successors arriving on store shelves in a much shorter time frame than expected. Generally, consoles can expect to be replaced in about seven years, with an overall lifetime of about ten years. However, a number of factors indicate that gamers can expect the new generation of consoles even earlier, potentially as soon as 2018.
The latest indication of an earlier release date than previously expected was the announcement from AMD that they are already hard at work on technology that will introduce the capability for 4K gaming, a huge boost in performance for both consoles. Technically, both the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 have a framework that would allow them to provide 4K gaming, but the simple reality of the situation is that neither has the processing power to deliver it. The only way for Microsoft or Sony to provide a 4K experience to consumers would be to develop a new system, which means the arms race has most likely already started.
This announcement had another interesting possibility – if the new 4K chipsets are built on an architecture that is similar to existing the consoles’ technology, then backwards compatibility may be an option from their launch. Both the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 received criticism for their lack of support of backwards compatibility and have only recently began to remedy that situation.
This isn’t the only clue that gamers have picked up on that indicates that new systems are in the works. Gamers have observed job listings posted by Sony that imply that whoever is hired will be working on the PlayStation 5. One posting in particular stated that Sony was looking to hire a senior game programmer who would lead the research and development process of a new console.