Are Consoles Heading to the Path of PC?

Consoles are meant to be convenient. The hardware are specifically made to play every game without the worry of what kind of GPU to run it with, how much RAM you’ll need, or anything that you can think about for its system requirements. With the recent news and what’s circulating with Microsoft’s Xbox Lead’s, Phil Spencer, plans of having the Xbox One system to be upgradable, everyone did have mixed feedback. I personally think that if consoles were to be upgradable then the age of consoles would come to an end.

With technology innovating really fast, the option of having consoles to be upgradable is within their grasps. Sony Interactive Entertainment, previously known as Sony Computer Entertainment, was rumored to be working on an upgraded Playstation 4 system to run on 4K resolution, and in preparation for the Playstation VR hardware. It’s not a bad idea to have these options, at least players would have the choice to go for a better and upgraded PS4 to fully utilize their experience on high-definition; especially that 4K is slowly realizing its potential and people are amazed with its visual quality than the normal full HD 1080p.

But what I’m quite curious about is how Sony can give their consumers the ability to “upgrade” from their old PS4s if they want that extra power. I did my research and there was no statement from Sony on how PS4 owners can upgrade their current PS4 to PS4K. This gives a lot of speculations for the consumers and to those who are following the said rumor. Will the PS4 be upgraded by sending it back to the service center to have its “hardware” replaced? Or would you sell your console to buy the upgraded PS4? If there are two separate consoles with different hardware, then it means that the developers would be working on how the game would run on an old PS4 and another for the new PS4.5/4K. Sony might just have the developers give an option to players to run it on 4K resolution – which I believe would be the most sensible feature to be added on future games or old ones that might need updates/patches for the 4K option to be available. Maybe I’m overthinking it, but this is a possibility since there are no options to change the game’s graphical/resolution settings on consoles.

Knowing how PC works since I build my PC from scratch, upgrades are done through changing specific components like the GPU, CPU, RAM, and motherboard (it can only apply if your CPU is not compatible) which are the essential parts needed for a gaming rig. It’s very flexible, you get to have a lot of options to build your gaming rig which is very much dependent on your budget. For example, you might be able to get a slightly better i5 processor and then you get a monstrous GTX-Titan for your GPU, which might result to a bit of bottleneck… but putting that aside since this is about Playstation 4.5/4K, with the diversity of the PC platform, it gives a lot of possibilities for the developers to select which hardware can their games really run smoothly on. Unlike PC, consoles are very specific on its hardware, all of it are manufactured with the same hardware for the consumers, and it’s easy to develop games on that platform for the developers’ side – eliminating the possibility of incompatibility from one specific hardware.

Both Microsoft and Sony are still deciding whether or not they need to go down this path since there are still no confirmation from either of the industry giants about this. But having the PS4 and Xbox One on their way to upgradability, this can already be a sign that the traditional 7-9 year lifespan of a console can be extended to more than 9 years which makes it to be more like what PC has already been doing ever since. For my stand, both giants should stick to the 7-9 year cycle since this lessens more complex things that the developer and consumer will think about. It’s all about convenience, that’s why it’s a console. It should be able to run any games without any problems or worry of upgrading the unit. Instead of this upgrade, Sony should just integrate this feature on their next-generation console – the Playstation 5.

The views and opinions expressed by the author do not necessarily state or reflect those of the publication and its staff.