Mid-Gen console upgrades became a thing with the PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X, which delivered 4K support to console gamers albeit with some limitations (PS4 Pro games, for instance, often used checkerboard rendering or just rendered games at 1440p before upscaling).
For the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S|X generation, though, the feasibility of Mid-Gen upgrades seemed less obvious. As pointed out a couple of years ago by former Xbox executive Albert Penello, there's no need to keep up with higher-resolution displays this time around.
It may simply be less necessary as well. 4K was becoming a mainstream resolution for PC and TVs, and the base consoles were designed around driving 1080p (or less) output. When you have a set that requires 4x the performance *just* to drive 4x the pixels, then you eat up all the performance just driving resolution. I think it's unlikely we'll see 8K TV's go mainstream in the same way we saw 4K go mainstream - we're more likely to see improvements in NITS (to drive better HDR) or better framerates to support greater than 60fps on TVs. CPUs and GPUs in the next-gen should easily support higher frame rates and wider colors. So the mid-gen upgrades are not only less financially and technically viable but also likely less necessary to keep up with display technologies.
However, earlier this year, renowned display manufacturer TCL Technology openly discussed Mid-Gen upgrades coming in 2023 or 2024. At the time, it was taken mostly as a market guess, though it's hard to imagine they weren't speaking with some level of insight into the future.
Today, rumors on Mid-Gen upgrades come back in full force thanks to Tez2, the renowned GTA leaker who first revealed that Rockstar Games had canceled its planned Red Dead Redemption and Grand Theft Auto IV remasters due to poor reception of GTA: The Trilogy - The Definitive Edition. That rumor was then corroborated by Kotaku as well.
A few hours ago, Tez2 wrote the following post on GTAForums:
Most AAA studios should have received the dev kits of mid-life upgrades or should receive them by the start of new year.
He later confirmed this is based on actual information rather than a guess. If that's the case, then the Mid-Gen upgrades of PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S|X could release in late 2023. This would track with the previous generation, as PlayStation 4 Pro launched three years after PlayStation 4, while the Xbox One X launched a year later.
It's way too early to be talking in-depth about the specifications, but an easy prediction is that both Sony and Microsoft would use a custom-made GPU based on the RDNA 3 architecture that's set to launch before the end of the year on PC. AMD is set to unveil RDNA 3 to the world on November 3rd. So far, these have been confirmed as its main features and improvements:
- 5nm Process Node
- Advanced Chiplet Packaging
- Rearchitected Compute Unit
- Optimized Graphics Pipeline
- Next-Gen AMD Infinity Cache
- Enhanced Ray Tracing Capabilities
- Refined Adaptive Power Management
- >50% Perf/Watt vs RDNA 2
Stay tuned for more news, rumors, and leaks on Mid-Gen upgrades as they become available.