Today saw Sony officially unveil the PlayStation 5. Microsoft revealed the Xbox Series X last December. And while we already have quite enough to argue about between design choices and technical specs, there are still a few important things we don’t know about this upcoming pair of game consoles.
The biggest mystery surrounding the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X is their release dates. Sony and Microsoft have both teased “holiday 2020” for months, with little indication of when we’ll actually be able to get our hands on the things. Looking back at previous consoles, the PlayStation 4 was first shown in February 2013 before launching in November of the same year, while the Xbox One was revealed in May 2013 ahead of a similar November debut. It may feel like the dates are being dragged out, but I’d say we’re ahead of schedule if we’re expecting the new consoles before 2021.
Speaking of release dates, just how much are these dang things going to cost us? Consensus is “a lot,” but an exact figure would be nice so we can start finding a buyer for our first-born children. Pricing for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One emerged six months before they graced our home entertainment systems, so we’re right around the time we should be hearing similar info about the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. But really, Sony and Microsoft probably know that folks are going to buy these gaudy electronics no matter what. Why rush the expected sticker shock?
Games these days are huge, especially when you start adding updates and expansions to the equation, so the storage space available in these next-generation consoles is super important. We know that the solid state drives in the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X—825 GB and 1 TB respectively—will allow them to read info at lightning speeds compared to current platforms, but as buying games digitally becomes more and more popular, we can’t help but wonder how many will actually fit on these things. There will obviously be a leap forward in terms of graphics and overall fidelity, and that means more data. How soon will we need to start thinking about memory expansion?
The most important unanswered question is arguably what games will be available at launch. What good is a shiny, new video game console if all it can do is play YouTube videos and maybe a Playroom-esque demo? While we know that both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X will feature some sort of backward compatibility, most of us aren’t going to want to spend hundreds of dollars to play Skyrim and Grand Theft Auto V again. We’re unfortunately far removed from the days of getting incredible games like Super Mario World and Sonic Adventure at launch, but having at least some idea of what will be available the day these consoles release would be nice.
We’re in exciting times. New console launches are always fun, even if the days leading up to them will be filled with misleading marketing and frustrating half-answers. There’s still a lot we don’t know about the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, important details that will definitely inform our purchases moving forward. Let’s hope these questions get answers sooner rather than later.