One of the more interesting storylines in gaming this year has been the rumors and reports about Sony and Microsoft potentially planning to launch new hardware before the existing cycle is over. Not everyone has been pleased with the idea, but now gaming veteran Lorne Lanning has come out in support of it.
Lanning said on the latest Game Informer Show [YouTube link] (via NeoGAF) that, back in February 2015 at the DICE event, he asked PlayStation president Shuhei Yoshida at a private dinner to give him some details on what the PlayStation 5 might look like. Yoshida's response surprised Lanning.
"I said, 'What does the PlayStation 5 look like?' And he said, 'You mean if...' And I was like, 'Whoa. Are you willing to say that on stage?' And he said, 'Yeah, it's an if.'"
This topic didn't end up being discussed in the Lanning/Yoshida presentation at DICE 2015, however. You can watch the full presentation here on YouTube.
If Sony is indeed working on something like a PS4.5, it's an idea that Lanning would support, it seems.
"It was a really interesting thing; he didn't give me a clear answer, but he's hinting at, 'We need to be more agile, none of us know what the future really looks like so how do we adapt to it faster?'" Lanning said. "To me, that's the way he was sort of thinking about it, which I think is the right way think about it."
Gaming consoles are quite different from smartphones, which are typically upgraded on a yearly basis or so. Consoles, on the other hand, usually remain viable for 5-7 years. This longstanding cycle could change, however, if the reports about upgraded PlayStation and Xbox consoles prove accurate.
"The idea that you're going to release a piece of technology that's going to last for seven years into the future is becoming I think less and less viable even though the generations of platforms are lasting longer," Lanning said. "So it seems like it's in conflict."
Sony may not be alone in releasing new hardware, as a recent report claimed Microsoft was experimenting with a "variety" of new Xbox device prototypes. Xbox boss Phil Spencer has also said Microsoft will eventually "come out with new hardware capability during a generation." The executive never said it would be this generation, and has made it clear that you won't be opening up your Xbox One with a screwdriver to install new parts.
Additionally, more recently, Spencer said Xbox fans should not expect an Xbox One and a half.
Not everyone is thrilled with the idea of mid-cycle hardware upgrades, however. BioWare co-founder Greg Zeschuk recently said such a thing would be a "gigantic pain in the ass" for developers and consumers alike.