“We want to give the players clarity, we want to give them certainty,” said Ryan. “We want to future-proof them so they know the console they buy will be relevant in several years. This is a huge capital outlay and we want to make sure people know they are buying a true next generation console. “
This is in stark contrast to the Xbox, S, and X series of consoles, which offer more nuanced differences (4K resolution vs 1440p as an example), with an even greater price difference of $ 299 and $ 499 respectively. While the Xbox Series S will be the cheapest next-generation gaming console, Microsoft has taken some heat for a confusing branding strategy.
Ryan further states that the price of the PlayStation 5 machines was decided “quite early this year”
For now, Ryan said Sony will have more PlayStation 5 units ready for sale than PlayStation 4 had in 2013. Approximately 2.1 million PlayStation 4 units sold worldwide two weeks after its launch in 2013, with a million in the first day alone.
“For quite some time, in the first part of covid, that picture was far from clear,” Ryan said. “As things about the offer were not clear, would there be a market? Would anyone be allowed out? Would there be any shops open? This has been a year like no other. But all of this only strengthened our determination and the path we set at the beginning of the year was absolutely the right one. “
Ryan said he has heard a lot of discussion about PlayStation’s more antiquated approach to the gaming business, betting on its suite of proprietary developer studios to deliver exclusive titles on a generational basis.
“We’re not saying it’s perfect, but it’s our approach. We like it,” Ryan said. “We just like to be a little more nuanced.”
No one can dispute the success of this approach. The PlayStation 4, with over 112 million consoles sold in seven years, has had a bumper year with exclusive titles like “The Last of Us Part II”, “Ghost of Tsushima” and “Final Fantasy VII: Remake”, which pick up three of the top five places for best-selling titles in 2020 so far.
“We quietly but very steadily invested in those studios,” Ryan said. “We now have, I humbly present, four or five of the best studios in the world.”
While it wasn’t mentioned in Sony’s official announcement, some game developers later confirmed that PS5 exclusives like “Horizon: Forbidden West” and “Spider-Man: Miles Morales” aren’t exclusive at all. Both are releasing PS4 versions, which may irritate some Sony fans who have taken Sony’s commitment to “next generation” development to heart. The belief is that game development across generations stifles creativity and hinders the technological ambitions of the game, as it has to satisfy an audience with less powerful machines.
“Nobody should be disappointed,” Ryan said. “The PS5 versions of these games were built from the ground up to take advantage of the PS5 feature set and we have an upgrade path for PS4 users to get the PS5 versions for free. It’s about people who have a choice. I am really very happy with the situation. “
Ryan also said that of the thousands of games tested for PS4 backward compatibility, “99 percent” can be played on the next console. Sony has also announced a new service called PS Plus Collection, which will offer 18 first-party PS4 titles for download to subscribers to the PlayStation online service. It’s a fantastic giveaway for anyone playing their PlayStation online and a good entry point for anyone unfamiliar with Sony properties like “The Last of Us”.
Ryan said he expects up to four years for the PlayStation 4’s expected lifespan, which makes sense considering the console’s large installation base. The PlayStation 2 lasted for around 13 years, and the developers continued to support it several years after the PlayStation 3 approached its middle age.
“The PS4 community will continue to be incredibly important to us for three to four years,” said Ryan. “Many will move to PS5, hopefully if we do our job well, but tens of millions will still be busy with PS4.”
Sony has also expressed a growing interest in porting games to PC, as we saw earlier this year with the “Death Stranding” and “Horizon: Zero Dawn” releases. Sony has also pushed its brands and characters to movies and TV shows, with a Tom Holland vehicle “Uncharted” and the HBO show “The Last of Us” in the works.
“The vision is that while we highly respect PlayStation’s primacy as the primary resting place for the great gaming intellectual property we have, we think it’s time to explore IP extension,” said Ryan. “We believe both of these steps are perfectly logical and rational things for us to do. We should make IP work a little more as an acquisition tool for the PlayStation community. “