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Growth, Games and the Whys of PS5 Pro

Two things have come out of an understandably muted Game Developers Conference. The first is that the keyword is growth, and executives everywhere are trying to find it. The second is that this year’s PS5 Pro hasn’t done enough to sell itself.


Granted, it hasn’t been officially announced yet. But behind closed doors, developers are wondering exactly what it brings to the table. It’s a hard question to answer. From a consumer perspective, the answer is “more”. But more what? It’s certainly not going to lead to growth.

There are already games that are struggling on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. Final Fantasy 7: Rebirth looks amazing, but only at 30fps. There is room, I suppose, for a console that takes 1440p 30fps (or whatever) and turns it into 1440p 60fps. What’s that worth? That’ll depend on the buyer.

What I’ll say is that according to that Metro article, only 15 per cent of the PS4 console base were pros. And that was a device that you pretty much had to own if you had a 4KTV and wanted to make the most of it. That leap will not be built into the PS5 Pro.

At least Sony are doing something. Everybody else is focussed on growth instead.

Growth is a dirty word, and rightly so. The “growth at all costs” has bled our planet dry and nothing is likely to change on that front.

But just because it sucks doesn’t mean it can just be disregarded. Investors want to see a return on their investments. Take their investments out of the industry and suddenly a lot of the money that funds games disappears. So you have to ensure growth. If the games are expensive to make or they bomb, then you cut costs. That means redundancies.

Growth For Gaming

It’s an old problem, but one that’s come more sharply into focus due to the increasing costs of development. There are only so many console gamers in the world. Most of them don’t buy that many games. Thanks to the rise of Fortnite and the like, maybe they can last the entire generation without paying anything above the console itself.

It is that situation which publishers have to figure out. Amidst abysmal Xbox hardware sales in Europe and a generation that seems to have peaked before it even really begun, there aren’t going to be any easy answers. How do you find a new audience?

If you’re Microsoft, maybe you release your games on rival platforms. Maybe you increase your focus on PC and cut costs every way you can, like Sony. Nintendo’s current strategy of keeping costs and development time low makes perfect sense until you realise their next device will be more powerful. They’ll have to figure this stuff out too sooner rather than later.

And third parties are eyeing the mobile scene, and trying to figure out exactly which projects are worth investing in. This’ll lead to less variety in the console space.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – the industry is at a crossroads. Many gamers aren’t going to like the way things end up going.


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blank Mat Growcott has been a long-time member of the gaming press. He's written two books and a web series, and doesn't have nearly enough time to play the games he writes about.

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Twitter: @matgrowcott