Sony has always tried to push into new and emerging markets and technology, trying to keep pace with the pace of development. For their console efforts and the PlayStation brand, this has often meant faster iteration on existing and new hardware. PS4 Pro released in November 2016, with a massive sales boom that has led to a shortage of consoles, as they didn’t expect them to sell as quickly. By 2018, Sony suggested that 25% of all console sales were PS4 Pros. And it certainly feels like Sony wants a repeat of this trend with the PS5.
“It is way ahead of our expectations,” SIE’s President Jim Ryan said last year. “As with PSVR, and I suppose in forecasting these things we haven’t done a very good job, the product is in desperately short supply. So that’s one-in-five under severe constraint.”
The PS4 Pro, and to a lesser degree the PSVR, both fell within this niche. The last console generation developed at a much faster rate, and has a shorter lifespan between new versions, and even the next generation. So to keep up with developments in tech, the overall trend has sped up quite a bit for gaming consoles. “In the past, the cycle for a new platform was 7 to 10 years, but in view of the very rapid development and evolution of technology, it’s really a six to seven-year platform cycle,” said Ito.
The Xbox 360 was released on November 22, 2005, in the United States and Canada; December 2, 2005, in Europe and December 10, 2005, in Japan. PlayStation 3 was first released in Japan on November 11, 2006. The PS4 was released on November 15, 2013, in the United States and Canada, followed by further releases on November 29, 2013. The Xbox One was released on November 22, 2013, in North America. That ~8 year timespan for the previous generation has likely now shrunk by around 1 year on average. The Xbox Scarlett and PS5 are due to launch in 2020. And even if you don’t count the Xbox One S and X models, as well as the PS4 Pro, there’s still a shortening happening.
And now Sony is suggesting that they will continue the trend of iterative consoles with the PS5. Masayasu Ito, Sony Interactive Entertainment’s Executive VP of Hardware Engineering and Operation, has confirmed in statements to Game Informer. He painted the PS4 Pro was a “test case” of a “thinking” at Sony that mid-generation refreshes would become the norm soon.
And judging by their reaction and the sales figures, it looks like Sony was pretty on the spot. The PlayStation brand has been going strong for 25 years, and it won’t be slowing down in 2020. With the allegedly more powerful console and a storm of hype, the PS5 could very well become the go-to console in the next generation. Don’t feel despair if you want to stick with PS4 though, as Sony will continue support for some time.
Source: Game Informer