Will The PS5 And The Xbox Series X KILL Our Current Consoles?

As the editor of Gfinity's new gaming tech website, Stealth Optional, I've spent the last couple of weeks fully engrossed in the latest news about the Xbox Series X and the PlayStation 5 - from explaining what a teraflop is to pondering how games like GTA 6 could benefit from up-to-date SSD storage.

Working on this website has got me well and truly hyped for these upcoming consoles.

But there's a niggling thought in the back of my mind - what does this new hardware mean for our current consoles?

With the Xbox Series X and the PS5 due to release before the end of the year, it's only natural to wonder what this new tech will mean for the PS4 and Xbox One consoles.

Will they simply be discarded, like when Buzz Lightyear shows up in Toy Story and Woody suddenly gets ditched?

In a dream world, Sony and Microsoft would find a way to keep the PS4 and the Xbox One relevant even after their next-gen successors have arrived on the market.

This could be achieved by continuing to release games for these outdated platforms. Or perhaps there could be a snazzier way to do it. Let's consider the possibilities of what the future could hold for our current consoles.

Best Case Scenario

Sony and Microsoft are both promising a degree of backwards compatibility on their new consoles and Microsoft is even hyping up a 'smart delivery' service that will allow you transfer games like Cyberpunk 2077 from your Xbox One onto your Xbox Series X at no extra cost whilst keeping all your progress.

But, after that initial upgrade, could there be a way to continue playing games across the two generations?

Could there be a 'smart loading' system that allows you play Cyberpunk 2077 on your Xbox Series X when your living room is free, or pick up your progress on Xbox One if you need to play in a different room of the house?

Of course, the graphics would be better on the Xbox Series X, but switching between consoles could be ultra-convenient for people that live in a busy household.


Also, services like Microsoft's xCloud and Sony's PS Now have already introduced the concept of streaming games without the need for a download - you don't even need to be on a particularly powerful device to stream high-end games, as we've learnt through the experience of playing Red Ded Redemption 2 on an ancient laptop through Google Stadia streaming.

With this in mind, could there be a way of using the PS4 and the Xbox One to stream games from their next-gen equivalents?

Again, being able to stream games from your PS5 onto your PS4 could allow you to access next-gen titles in more than one location.

It may be a pipedream, but this would be a great way to save the PS4 and the Xbox One from a sorry end.

Read More: PS5 Pre-Order Guide UK: Expected Price, Release Date, Games Cost, Controller Price, Headset And More


Worst Case Scenario

After years of considering my PS4 to be one of the key devices in my life, the idea of seeing it become a lifeless husk is a bit of a sad one.

As the worst-case scenario for current-gen consoles, let's imagine a world where Sony and Microsoft immediately cease producing games for their old consoles as soon as the new ones come out.

Worse still, with 'smart delivery' allowing you to port your progress on certain games from the Xbox One straight onto the Xbox Series X, it's not too hard to imagine a world where your Xbox One becomes pretty useless as a gaming device as soon as you've set up your Xbox Series X.

Of course, you could still use it to play your older games and stream TV on apps like Netflix, but that might be the limit to its value going forward in this dark timeline where there's no further Xbox One support from Microsoft.

In this version of the future, once people have shifted over to next-gen, it's easy to imagine a lot of PS4 and Xbox One consoles either gathering dust or being packed up and sold to CeX.

If you can't play new games on them, the desire to keep using these older consoles could seriously diminish.

Read More: Xbox Series X Pre-Order Guide UK: Estimated Price, Release Date, Games Cost, Controller Price, Headset And More


What Will Actually Happen?

The reality of the situation may lie somewhere between those two extremes: Microsoft and Sony probably won't immediately cease supporting the Xbox One and the PS4, but they probably won't go to great lengths to keep these old-hat consoles relevant either.

The idea of streaming next-gen games from your PS5 onto your PS4 might just be a dream that we won't see fulfilled, but the prediction of our current consoles immediately being binned is surely a bit OTT in the other direction.

What we will probably see is something of a crossover period, as is traditional, where Microsoft and Sony keep releasing games that will work on both the current-gen and next-gen systems.

You'll probably get some extra features on the next-gen versions and there might be a few exclusives that don't come to the older consoles, but these tech giants will want to keep all their customers happy - even those that don't jump onto the next-gen hardware immediately.

As the gaming industry transitions into this new era, the team at Stealth Optional will be on-hand to make sense of it all. Whether or not we end up binning our current consoles by the end of the year, we'll be sure to keep you updated on all the developments at the cutting-edge end of the gaming world.

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