Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO John Kodera hints that the era of the PlayStation 4 might be coming to an end. Kodera revealed at a Sony corporate strategy meeting – via translation – that “[PlayStation 4 is] finally entering the end of the console lifecycle.” Kodera also mentioned that this move “would have negative impact to the unit, but recurring revenue via membership services etc should cushion some of that.” The CEO explained that “the period until March 2021 would be when PlayStation would ‘crouch down once’ to grow further in the future.”
The first part of the quote is easy enough to dissect. The overwhelmingly popular theory at the moment is that Sony will unveil the PlayStation 5 at E3 2019 if Sony doesn’t do so before then. While Kodera isn’t confirming the immediate end of the PlayStation 4, his statement does confirm that Sony has the end of the PS4’s life in sight.
Kodera’s statements regarding recurring revenue and the PlayStation crouching down are a bit more interesting. It seems that Sony is expecting many gamers to continue using PlayStation 4s – and PlayStation Plus memberships – to play certain PS4 games like GTA V. The hope seems to be that such revenue will make the generational transition a bit smoother. As for what he means by PlayStation “crouching down to grow in the future”…well, that’s a bit more puzzling, but it could just be as simple as him restating that there may be a slight dip in overall revenue when the PlayStation 5 is introduced before it catches up to the PlayStation 4’s current level of success.
Others have proposed different theories. The Wall Street Journal believes that Sony won’t actually release the PlayStation 5 until 2021. Another report from Kotaku, which was based on information from industry insiders suggested, that the PlayStation 5 most likely won’t be released until 2020. The long and short of it is that nobody seems certain exactly when Sony intends to release the next PlayStation, but everyone – including Sony – is clearly acknowledging that the PlayStation 4 is entering its final days.
During that same meeting, Kodera noted that the PSVR is growing, but that it’s not growing quite as fast as some in the market thought it might. He also stated that the PS Vue service is facing harder-than-expected competition. They’re seemingly adjusting their expectations for both.
Interestingly, Kodera doubled down on an earlier report regarding Sony investing more in first party developers by saying that PlayStation gamers can expect more exclusives titles for PlayStation platforms.