Oddworld developer Lorne Lanning reveals the details of a private conversation he had with Sony president Shuhei Yoshida, hinting that a PlayStation 5 might not happen.
Ever since the advent of gaming, consoles have come in cycles. Separated by distinct generations, gamers have been able to see home consoles evolve over the years, and expect to see new hardware every 5 to 10 years or so to kick off the next generation. However, comments by PlayStation president Shuhei Yoshida seem to indicate that the eighth generation could be the end of home console market as we know it today, as he said a PlayStation 5 isn’t a matter of “when” – it’s a matter of “if.”
Yoshida reportedly made these comments while at a private dinner with Oddworld creator Lorne Lanning. According to Lanning (who shared the story on the Game Informer Show podcast), Yoshida made this statement when pressed for information on the PlayStation 5. Lanning hoped that Yoshida would repeat himself during the DICE 2016 presentation that the two gave together, but it never came up.
Yoshida’s comments could be an indication that the era of traditional gaming generations and hardware cycles are coming to an end. The alternative, it seems, would be instead of releasing a PlayStation 5, that Sony would continuously release a slightly upgraded version of its latest hardware, not unlike how smartphones are released. If so, it makes the prospect of the rumored PlayStation 4.5 console seem a lot more likely.
To that end, it’s looking like other console manufacturers are going down the same route as Sony. Even though Head of Xbox Phil Spencer has denied the existence of an Xbox One and a half, there have been reports of Microsoft testing new Xbox prototypes with parts that can be upgraded like a PC. If these rumors turn out to be true, then the line between PC and console gaming would be almost completely erased.
Having said that, this seems like an unnecessary gamble. While analysts continue to predict the demise of console gaming, home gaming consoles continue to prove to be popular with consumers. In fact, the PlayStation 4 is expected to reach almost 70 million units sold by 2019, which would put it on track to becoming one of the highest-selling video game consoles of all time. Sticking to the traditional home console release model is working out for both Sony and Microsoft right now, so it would be strange to divert from that model in the midst of so much success.
Ultimately, time will tell if we ever see a PlayStation 5 or not. The PlayStation 4 is dominating sales charts, and while a slightly upgraded version of the system could rake in some extra cash, releasing one every couple of years is unprecedented in the industry and is not a proven sales model for console gaming hardware. Perhaps we’ll get a better idea about Sony’s future intentions in the console gaming market at this year’s E3 event, so stay tuned.