'We believe in generations:' PlayStation argues cross-gen games risk stifling innovation

"In many cases, we can't take everybody with us from previous consoles into [a next-generation experience]. You need new hardware, you need new devices to experience what these developers want you to experience."

“As we’ve said many times, with PlayStation 5 it’s a brand new generation, and we believe in generations. So we want to evolve every part of the experience. ”

- PlayStation global marketing head Eric Lempel talks generational jumps with Geoff Keighley.

PlayStation plans to make a clear jump to the next console generation and offer many games as next-gen exclusives, an approach that’s nearly opposite to how Xbox is handling the transition to the next generation but one that highlights PlayStation’s focus on evolution for the PlayStation 5.

As PlayStation global marketing head Eric Lempel explained to Geoff Keighley during the latest Summer Games Fest video (via IGN), PlayStation sees a clear line between console generations as a necessity, and one that helps drive the development of innovative and unique games for the PlayStation 5.

“In many cases, we can’t take everybody with us from previous consoles into [a next generation experience],” Lempel tells Keighley. “You need new hardware, you need new devices to experience what these developers want you to experience.”

That nod toward PlayStation’s belief in clear generational lines seems like a slightly tongue-in-cheek comment about how Sony’s next system fundamentally differs from Microsoft’s upcoming Xbox Series X and its plan to release first-party titles on both the Xbox One and Xbox Series X generation for at least the next few years.

Particularly for Ratchet & Clank: A Rift Apart developer Insomniac Games, Lempel says that the features and evolutions found in many upcoming PlayStation 5 titles is so tightly tied to the games being developed that it wouldn’t be possible for PlayStation devs to offer those games for both PlayStation 5 and the current generation PlayStation 4.

“When you look at a game like Ratchet, and we’ve talked about a lot of different features today but as you’ve mentioned we haven’t mentioned SSD, that is another thing that will make the whole gaming experience different, it’ll make it better, but it also allows the developers to do new things.”

“It isn’t just about faster loading time. You take a great developer like Insomniac and they found a way to say ‘ok look, here’s a game that could only be made on PlayStation 5, on this generation, using this technology.’ A lot of what you saw on the show, jumping through those different worlds instantly can’t be done in most cases. It needs new hardware, it needs new power,” Lempel tells Keighley. “So that’s something we’re looking forward to. All these things come together. You combine that with 3D audio, with the controller, ray tracing. I mean these are great experiences and these developers know how to harness every piece of those features to really bring you a unique experience. And that really speaks to what next gen is for us.”

When asked if it would be possible to make the same game for PlayStation 5, Lempel elaborates: “It would be a different experience. According to everything Insomniac has told us, this hardware allows them to deliver on this vision. They could not make it [on PlayStation 4]. If they did it would just be different. You would be playing a different type of game and the experience would be different.”

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