Sony’s official video comparing performance of PS4 Pro vs next-gen PlayStation pic.twitter.com/2eUROxKFLq
— Takashi Mochizuki (@mochi_wsj) May 21, 2019
Last month, Sony showed Wired a demo highlighting how the PS4’s successor would utilize SSD storage to heavily improve load times over the PS4. Now we can all see a similar demo for ourselves, thanks to video captured at a recent investor presentation.
The video above, taken by the Wall Street Journal’s Takashi Mochizuki, shows a scene from Insomniac’s Spider-Man loading in 0.83 seconds on Sony’s “next generation” console, compared to 8.1 seconds on the PS4 Pro. That’s a smaller improvement than the one cited by Wired (which reported a change from “15 seconds” to “0.8 seconds, to be exact”) but it’s still a difference that can add up over the course of hours spent with a game.
Sony’s demo also showed how the upcoming console’s SSD can help improve game situations where content is streamed continuously from the hard drive rather than loaded in large chunks. In a fly-through on Spider-Man‘s version of New York City, a PS4 Pro had to pause every few seconds when the apparent flight speed got too fast. On the next PlayStation, the data streams without any apparent loading pauses even at the increased speed.
Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida said via interpreter that the new Spider-Man demo was generated in just two weeks. “We believe this improvement clearly demonstrates why it makes sense to have a next-generation console, since the experience will greatly exceed what is possible on the current PS4 hardware, including PS4 Pro,” he said.
Sony Interactive Entertainment president and CEO Jim Ryan added that such an improvement being shown “more than a year ahead of any next-gen launch” was an unprecedented achievement in his year’s shepherding new PlayStation hardware to market. “I have never seen anything this transformational at this early stage,” he said.
Getting away from PS4
In ensuring a steady corporate and player transition from the PS4 to a completely new platform, Ryan stressed that “backwards compatibility will be absolutely key” to establishing initial momentum and transitioning from the PS4 “faster and more seamlessly than ever before.” That said, Ryan also added that he expects the PS4 to continue to be “the engine of Sony’s profitability” for “three years or so” as that transition takes place.
Financially, that transition may be buoyed by what Ryan says is the 62% of Sony’s gaming revenue that now comes via PSN (including 36.4 million PlayStation Plus and 700,000 PlayStation Now subscriptions). Ryan also highlighted some strong usage stats for the 96.8 million PlayStation 4 owners out there, who averaged 21 hours on the console per week in the last fiscal year. And PS4 owners who bought the system in its first year on shelves have spent an average of $1,600 on the platform, not including the initial hardware purchase, Ryan said.
While Ryan wasn’t ready to share key details on launch date, price point, game library, or “user experience” for the next PlayStation, he did say the company was “completely focused” on getting those details right this time around. “When we do—with PS1, PS2, PS4—we succeed. We got them wrong with PS3 and we failed.”
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