May 29, 2018
There's no denying that the PlayStation 4 has been the most popular console of this gaming generation, but the end may be coming soon for Sony's gaming juggernaut. Sony has released a new report that shares some information about the direction PlayStation 4 sales have gone in the last year, indicating that the console may be in its sunset years.
PlayStation 4's Sunset Era
Sony managed to move around 19 million PlayStation 4 consoles within its fiscal 2017 year, which is a decline from the 20 million consoles sold during 2016. Alongside the news, Sony predicted that the console market is saturated and the company will only see 16 million in sales for the 2018 fiscal year.
Sony has sold around 73.6 million PlayStation 4 consoles since it launched back in 2013, but this is the first time the company has predicted it will sell fewer consoles for the current fiscal year compared to the previous. Sony also reported a growth in PlayStation Plus subscribers in its annual report, with 7.8 million new PS+ subscribers using the service compared to last year.
In fact, despite the dismal prediction of lower sales for the console, Sony's gaming division saw a 17.8% increase in revenue thanks to more game sales. Sony's gaming division was the most profitable division of the company thanks to the PlayStation 4's success.
All About The Games
With the PlayStation 4 clearly in its sunset years, it is likely that Sony will continue to focus on providing fantastic gaming experiences to its audience. God of War debuted earlier this year to massive critical acclaim, and the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) is slated for next month in Los Angeles where the company will reveal more of its gaming strategy for the rest of 2018.
Sony's big E3 press conference will take place on Monday, June 11 at 6 pm PST and will focus on several upcoming PlayStation 4 games. A Sony representative recently confirmed that gamers will get a peek at Hideo Kojima's new title Death Stranding, the new Spider-Man game from Insomniac Games, Naughty Dog's upcoming sequel The Last of Us: Part 2, and the newly unveiled Ghost of Tsushima from Sucker Punch Studios. Sony's exec also stated that the forthcoming E3 conference would highlight games from their third-party partners, but declined to mention exclusive names.
Sony fans will be able to watch the event live on the PlayStation website, Twitch, Facebook, and YouTube.
What's Next For Sony?
When speaking to investors about the decline of the PlayStation 4, John Kodera said he doesn't expect console sales to be a significant source of income for the company in the future. Kodera specifically avoided discussing the PlayStation 5, and according to rumors among developers who are still making games with a target release date of 2019 or later, there has been very little chatter about PS5 dev kits.
Even John Kodera himself suggested that the company will be waiting out the end of the PlayStation 4 lifecycle through March 2021, which is the end of a three-year roadmap outlined to investors in the most recent financial meeting. Still, it seems as if the best days are behind the PlayStation 4 and current console owners have a lot to look forward to in the games department before Sony introduces its next console.
With so little information about the PlayStation 5 available, it's hard to ascertain whether Sony will stick with its VR-enabled console plans or if it will hope to compete with Nintendo in the handheld hybrid market.
Will Microsoft Follow Suit?
Microsoft just enjoyed the successful launch of the Xbox One X in November of last year, but the company has been firmly in second place behind Sony's PlayStation 4 since the Xbox One generation launched in 2013.
The Xbox One X is geared toward hardcore gamers who want a full 4K experience while playing and considering the late launch date, it's unlikely that Microsoft will be following Sony too closely when it comes to debuting their next console. Given Sony's three-year road-map for finishing out the lifetime of the PlayStation 4, it seems likely that Microsoft will hope to ride a similar wave with Xbox One X.
There are even some rumors that the next Xbox console will be more of a computer than a traditional under-the-tv console, as Microsoft's focus over the last generation has been on bringing parity between the Xbox One experience and those who still enjoy gaming on Windows 10 devices.
What About Nintendo?
Since the days of the GameCube, Nintendo has enjoyed a relative bubble among the gaming community thanks to its exclusive software support. While the Wii U was not a success, the follow-up Nintendo Switch console has been flying off shelves and is receiving more support than ever. It is unlikely that Nintendo will replace the Nintendo Switch soon, but given the launch problems with some of the consoles, we could see a hardware revision before 2020.