The internet is abuzz again, as it often is. This time, it’s about a remark Shuhei Yoshida, Sony Worldwide Studios President, made off-hand to Oddworld Inhabitant’s Lorne Lanning. Lanning, in turn, told Game Informer , and now everyone’s talking as though this could be a fact. There might not be a PlayStation 5, and the PlayStation 4 could be Sony’s last console.
The exact quote from Lanning is as follows. He claims that, at a dinner during DICE, he asked Yoshida, “What does the PlayStation 5 look like?” Yoshida replied, “You mean if…” Lanning pressed for more, saying, “And I was like, ‘Whoa. Are you willing to say that on stage?” And again, Yoshida supposedly said, “Yeah, it’s an if.” People are hearing this anecdote and behaving as though it’s some sort of hidden truth we should all immediately trust and believe. But honestly, it sounds more like Yoshida is playing the corporate game.
Of course Sony isn’t going to want to talk about a possible PlayStation 5 now. The PlayStation 4 is only going to be turning three this November. Sony announced it in 2013, when the PlayStation 3 was seven years old. The PlayStation 3 was announced at E3 2005, when the PlayStation 2 was five years old. The PlayStation 2 was announced in 1999, when the PlayStation was five years old. Do you see a trend?
Sony wants to make as much money off its consoles and have them commercially viable for as long as possible. What happens when someone knows a new console is being considered, perhaps on the verge of being announced? Do you keep buying the old console? No. You start thinking about your decision, holding back, and perhaps even waiting until that new system is released. Even now, I’m sure people are hesitating on getting a PlayStation 4 with the rumor of a slightly more powerful PlayStation 4.5 on the horizon.
Consider that PlayStation 4.5! It’s an incremental release. Sony is going to want to move as many of those upgraded versions of the PlayStation 4 as possible. Do you think anyone would consider double dipping if they had any sort of confirmation that a PlayStation 5 could be here within the next two-to-four years? Of course not. And if they already had a PlayStation 4, they’d make do until that next major release.
Shuhei Yoshida may have made that comment to Lorne Lanning. I’m sure he did, even if it is best to be skeptical of second-hand information. That doesn’t mean we should trust it as being some sort of premonition of what’s to come. Rather, it’s an offhand remark from a smart businessman to someone he knows would probably share the conversation with more people (and certainly, Lanning did). Yoshida was being shrewd and diplomatic. Smart money says, within the next 10 years a PlayStation 5 will be on the market.