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Are New Consoles From Sony and Microsoft on the Horizon?

By Motley Fool Staff - Mar 30, 2017 at 3:12PM

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Each brand has already been hinting at upcoming projects with one slated for release later this year.

Since the release of the Playstation 4 and Xbox One in 2013, video gamers are already thinking about the next generation of major consoles.

In this segment from Industry Focus: Consumer Goods, the team discusses when the world may finally see the Sony (SONY -0.11%) Playstation 5 or Microsoft (MSFT 1.07%) Xbox 2, if at all. As it turns out, new technology may completely change the way these companies approach their business models.

A full transcript follows the video.

This video was recorded on March 23, 2017.

Vincent Shen: Moving on to the next big console player, this is Sony. The PlayStation 4 Pro is already available to gamers. While the PlayStation VR introduced a bit of that technology to the platform, I think the Pro ultimately adds some beefier specs, and it also enables some 4K capabilities, right? The next step for Sony that a lot of people are wondering about is based on historical intervals between generations, we touched on this, the PlayStation 5, potentially on store shelves by 2019. I thought it was really interesting, an analyst at Macquarie Research actually believes that the release date might be even sooner, and this has to do with competition from Microsoft, who we will talk about soon.

For Sony, just to give you a little bit of perspective in term of how the PlayStation business folds into their overall company, the Game and Network Services segment, which includes the PlayStation business, $5.3 billion reported most recently. That's about one quarter of total sales. That potential PlayStation 5 -- which is not confirmed, by the way. This is just rumors and speculation. But, if it does come out earlier if, they believe it will be because of Project Scorpio, which is the project name at Microsoft. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Seth McNew: Yeah. We're still waiting to learn more about what Project Scorpio actually is. Is it an Xbox 2? Or a next generation? We already had the Xbox One S. So we'll see what that looks like. But, similar, we're seeing it's going to have the 4K gaming and the VR, certainly, Microsoft and Oculus announcing their partnership. We'll see what the technology looks like that really sets it apart.

Shen: Yeah. The release date is expected potentially later this year in 2017. I didn't realize it was going to be coming up that soon. Poised, of course, for the holiday shopping season, always important for these guys. In the latest quarter, again, for Microsoft, it's a little tougher, because it's such a big business, and obviously, you're thinking about all these other opportunities they have, their classic OS. But, Microsoft reported gaming revenue of about $3.5 billion, total top line of $24 billion for its latest quarter. Again, it's smaller, but it's not a trivial part of the business, either. Ultimately, if you're looking for something in terms of exposure for gaming, I typically think, and I think a lot of investors, typically think of those major names we talked about Activision and Electronic Arts and Take-Two Interactive. But it's definitely an interesting approach that they have. They have flexibility, too.

McNew: Yeah. You wonder if this is similar to companies like Apple with the iPhone, how long can they just keep going to the next console, and are they putting them out because there's new technology to support a new release, or just because they're trying to break into that cycle of having a new one every couple years. So, hopefully, these new ones that come out, there really is some game-changing technology.

Shen: And the thing that's really starting to change is, traditionally, the PlayStation 3 or PlayStation 4 comes out, it might be backwards compatible, but you can't use your PlayStation 2 or 3 to play games released specifically for the 4th generation. Things like that are starting to get warped. You hear some of the management from these companies talk about how that kind of paradigm is changing because of digital downloads. It can change capabilities, and change what a game release means, the idea that you don't leave any of your previous players behind by releasing a title, and it can be played across all these different consoles.

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