Not long ago, PlayStation CEO John Kodera made headlines by suggesting that the PlayStation 4 was entering its final days.
The news came as a shock to some. Sure, Sony didn’t say that they were ending the PlayStation 4 era right away – the system still has a couple of years left as their flagship console at the very least – and yes, we’re getting to the time that most consoles are retired, but there is something special about the PlayStation 4 that made it feel almost invulnerable to such trends. The PlayStation 4 has pulled ahead of its competition in terms of sales. In fact, it’s entirely possible that the PlayStation 4 will become the 4th console ever to hit the 100 million sales mark. The PlayStation 4 has been a remarkable success. What could the PlayStation 5 ever do to top it?
Simply put, it will do the exact same thing that made the PlayStation 4 a success; focus on the games.
When Sony took the stage at E3 2013 and said that they were going to be all about the games, there were many who thought they were pandering to the crowds in attendance and at home. After all, Microsoft had just blown their own console reveal with a confusing message that portrayed the Xbox One as a multimedia system that so happened to play games. By contrast, Sony’s message was simple. The PlayStation 4 is cheaper, about as powerful, and will have the best games.
In retrospect, it seems that Sony knew something that the rest of us did not. At a time when console exclusives are seemingly falling victim to the rising costs of game development, Sony came forward with a plan to base their console’s future around the quality of its exclusive game library. Yet, they seemed to have taken the pulse of the industry and realized that Microsoft and Nintendo weren’t really in a position to court too many of the exclusives that were going to be out there. Microsoft never had a strong relationship with Japanese developers and Nintendo was still trying to keep the Wii U alive at that time. Sony apparently realized that had a unique opportunity on their hands.
Well…perhaps unique isn’t the word. After all, Sony is seemingly still in a position to ensure that the PlayStation 5 is also all about the games. While Microsoft and Nintendo have, or figure to, greatly improve their position in their market since the PlayStation 4 was introduced, they are both companies who have struggled to attract third-party exclusives in the same way that Sony has. Meanwhile, Sony has used the PlayStation 4 to show that exclusive games can still outsell all but the most popular of multi-platform titles (God of War has performed particularly well in that respect).
Maybe that’s why we’re hearing so many reports about Sony doubling their efforts to court more first-party developers. John Kodera told investors that they intend to expand the company’s first-party game pipeline and that they should prepare for rising costs associated with that expansion. We don’t know exactly when Sony will announce the PlayStation 5, but when they do, expect the message to be the same:
“It’s all about the games.”