Sony has confirmed the inevitable: there will be a PlayStation 5.
The company’s first official word on the successor to the PlayStation 4 came via an interview with Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida in the Financial Times.
While Yoshida didn’t call it PlayStation 5 – or even a PlayStation – the strength of the brand makes the name almost a certainty.
His actual comments also suggest the platform holder is preparing for the end of the PlayStation 4’s natural lifecycle, although there is no indication of how long before its successor arrives.
“At this point, what I can say is it’s necessary to have a next-generation hardware,” said Yoshida, offering no other details.
Part of this necessity no doubt stems from the fact Xbox has already confirmed it is working on multiple next-generation consoles, as revealed by Phil Spencer during the firm’s E3 2018 showcase.
Yesterday, Microsoft announced game-streaming service Project xCloud, fuelling speculation that streaming will be integral to at least one of the next Xbox devices.
Sony already operates its own streaming service in PlayStation Now, but there’s no indication as to what role this will play in its next generation. It’s unlikely to be the core of a PlayStation 5 offering as this would cut off the prospect of selling the device in markets with poor connectivity. Sony has historically done well in emerging markets with both PS2 and PS3, even years after these devices have been replaced in more developed nations.
The FT reports that sources with knowledge of Sony’s plans claim the new device “might to represent a major departure from the PS4, and that the fundamental architecture was similar.”
Ibbotson Associates Japan analyst Kazunori Ito added: “Sony would likely seek to use this successful PS4 platform as long as possible.”
There’s certainly no immediate need to replace the PS4. The console continues to be one of the best-selling games devices around the world every month, with total sales at well over 80 million since its launch in 2013.
Similarly, the platform holder has several promising exclusives and first-party titles still to come, such as next year’s Days Gone, the follow-up to the acclaimed The Last of Us, and Media Molecule’s ambitious Dreams.
That said, announcements for PlayStation 4 appear to be drying up. Sony cancelled its annual PlayStation Experience showcase, with Sony Worldwide Studios chairman Shawn Layden saying the firm “wouldn’t have enough” to warrant hosting such an event, suggesting a lack of new game announcements until the new hardware is revealed.