Successor to PlayStation console is definitely coming, says Sony CEO

Sony’s hugely successful console series shows no sign of retiring as chief executive announces successor to PlayStation 4, stressing the importance of next-generation software

PUBLISHED : Friday, 19 October, 2018, 8:01pm
UPDATED : Friday, 19 October, 2018, 8:00pm

Here’s a no-brainer: Sony is working on a next-generation video game console to succeed the hugely successful PlayStation 4.

Sony chief executive Kenichiro Yoshida, in an interview with the Financial Times, said it is working on a successor to the PS4 but stopped short of calling it the PlayStation 5.

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“At this point, what I can say is it’s necessary to have next-generation hardware,” he said.

His commitment to a console coincided with Microsoft’s announcement that it is currently testing Project xCloud, streaming technology for playing Xbox games on phones and tablets. Public testing is expected to begin next year.

For its part, Sony does offer streaming games on the PS4 and PCs with its PlayStation Now subscription service, which was previously available on Samsung Smart TVs, too.

Although Yoshida offered no insight into when Sony could bring a new system to market, Sony Interactive Entertainment chief executive John Kodera hinted at 2021, as reported by tech news site Digital Trends.

“We will use the next three years to prepare the next step, to crouch down so that we can jump higher into the future,” he said in May 2018, noting the PS4 was entering the “final phase of its life cycle.”

It’s unlikely Sony will drop the PlayStation name as it’s been so successful over the past three decades.

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The PlayStation 2 was the bestselling console game system ever, surpassing 155 million units sold.

While the PS4, which has sold more than 80 million since it launched in 2013, has a way to go beat that mark, it is likely to soon surpass sales of the PS3, which sold about 83.8 million, according to GameSpot.

Meanwhile, Gematsu reported in September that production of the company’s portable console the Vita will end in Japan after next year.

Sony Interactive Entertainment’s senior vice-president Hiroyuki Oda said, “We do not have any plans regarding a new handheld device. In Japan, we will manufacture PlayStation Vita until 2019. From there, shipping will end.”

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Oda offered no reason for the decision but statistics suggests that the Vita has struggled to live up to the success of its predecessor, the PlayStation Portable; to date it has sold around 16 million units worldwide compared to PSP’s 80 million, according to research firm VGChart. The rise of smartphone gaming may have also contributed to the handheld’s imminent demise.

Despite commercial successes such as Persona 4 Golden and the remastered editions of Final Fantasy X/ X-2, fewer games have been released for the Vita in recent years. The first two games of Nihon Falcom’s popular The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel series was, for instance, ported to the Vita, but the third instalment was released last year on PlayStation 4 only.

And while the latest enhanced version of World of Final Fantasy – released in 2016 to mark the Final Fantasy franchise’s 30th anniversary – will launch worldwide next month on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC via Stream, Vita will not be getting that update.

The original PlayStation, launched in Japan in 1994 and the US in 1995, sold 102.4 million units.

Additional reporting by Kevin Kwong