By Neil Merrett
Are you a glass is half empty, or a glass is half full type for person? For the obsessed gamers among you, the Playstation 4 may be at present be a better metaphor for whether you consider yourself an optimist or pessimist.
Gaming media this week faced up to the idea that the PS4 was entering the final phase of its lifecycle ahead of some potentially fantastic, next generation gaming device being released relatively soon.
However, other media, covering the same sources, noted that any possible replacement console, as opposed to slightly souped-up, higher definition variations of the existing PS4, was still three years away. This gives people sufficient saving time before having to start raiding their piggy banks.
Wall Street Journal technology reporter Takashi Mochizuki noted on social media that Playstation head honcho John Kodera has now hinted that planning had begun on preparing for the end of Sony’s current generation console.
PS chief Kodera: PS4 is entering final phase of its life cycle, which would have negative impact to the unit, but recurring revenue via membership services etc should cushion some of that.
— Takashi Mochizuki (@mochi_wsj) May 22, 2018
Polygon reported that the company would be prioritising online services and subscriptions such as its Playstation Network that are tied to the PS4 to offset slowing sales of the console. This was seen as a sign that the company is paving the way for whatever new hardware it will choose to publish games on.
Samit Sarkar noted that Sony had posted steady operating income increases since the PS4 launch in November 2013. This growth is expected to continue in the current financial year, albeit it at a slower rate.
Sarkar said that Sony was looking to ensure a clear direction for the future of its hardware.
He added, “Kodera said in his Investor Relations Day presentation that the PlayStation division’s aim is to ‘mitigate the impact of platform lifecycle compared to the past cycle and stabilize profit structure’. In other words, Sony hopes that it has built up PlayStation software and services to the point that they can outweigh the negative impact of declining hardware sales.”
“That’s in contrast to the PlayStation 3 era, where profits were more closely tied to unit sales. In fact, Kodera’s final slide pointed to something that has become a trend across the video game industry as more of it moves online: focusing on user growth instead of hardware sales.”
Outside of the financial jargon, Kotaku’s Jason Schreier also cited the Wall Street Journal report, but said that rumours of an imminent end to the PS4 may be overplayed, with Kodera confirming to reporters that a future iteration of the Playstation would not be with us until 2021 at the earliest.
Eurogamer took a somewhat more speculative approach to how a hypothetical next generation Playstation may look, noting that technology experts were already seeing potential developments in areas such as upcoming graphics technology. It is expected that some of these developments will be adopted by Sony to try and ensure a more cost effective means of matching high-end PCs for a future generation.
Eurogamer’s David Meikleham and Dan Dawkins cited a previous confirmation from Sony Interactive America that a PS5 announcement would not be happening at next month’s E3 gaming expo.
With large amounts of speculation on just what sort of technological developments we will seen in graphical capability over the PS4, the article asks how the gameplay experience itself may evolve during the next console generation.
“With so many modern-day shooters still stuffed with pea-brained foes, it’d be great if the next PlayStation could utilise what’s likely to be an extremely powerful CPU to substantially improve enemy AI,” the article stated.
“Regardless if gameplay experiences truly evolve in the sort of paradigm-shifting style we’d all like to see or not, you can bet your bottom dollar PS5 is going to have some graphics.”