Sony president Kenichiro Yoshida has raised interest in what the ‘PlayStation 5’ will look like after comments made in an interview with the Financial Times in which he stated “I can say it’s necessary to have next-generation hardware”. PlayStation fans will be intrigued as to what the latest technology in the world of gaming will mean, with Yoshida confirming that Sony is working on a successor to the current PlayStation 4 games console.
However, it is not a certainty that the company’s next console will even keep the PlayStation brand or be considered a significant enough leap to be assigned a new brand. The interview focused on the challenge the console gaming market now faces from the rise of the smartphone gaming sector and how console technology makers will have to adapt to maintain their audience in the face of format competition.
The mobile gaming market is now worth a global $70 billion and is still growing quickly. This year mobile gaming is forecast to account for over 50% of the total gaming sector’s value, with its contribution estimated at 51% by gaming market research and data company Newzoo. Console gaming revenues for 2018 are expected to total $34.6 billion.
How the console market adapts itself to the current flow of gaming trends will be crucial to whether Sony, and rival Microsoft through its Xbox, succeed in maintaining their established sector position. Next generation consoles are likely to focus on cross-platform. There are rumours Sony is preparing to launch a tablet device that connects to multiple devices and leverages the latest technology in the world of online streaming. Microsoft also announced earlier this week plans to launch of public trials next year of its Project xCloud. It will pair an Xbox Wireless Controller with devices such as smartphones and tablets with much of the processing power used to run more sophisticated games outsourced to the cloud and streamed to less powerful devices.
It is also expected that Sony’s next console will focus on the burgeoning eSports market. However, there may well be a PlayStation 5 which represents an evolution of the current PlayStation 4 technology before any future move towards cloud-based gaming. The latter will require the speed of a 5G mobile internet connection to work unless a device is connected to a stable, high speed WiFi internet connection. This would limit sales outside of the first territories to introduce widespread 5G infrastructure.
One piece of evidence that Sony is adapting its position to new trends, rather than attempting to dominate the gaming sector as it has done in the past, is the decision to open up Fortnite Battle Royale, the hugely popular shoot-em-up strategy game. Gamers playing Fortnite on a PlayStation 4 console will now be able to play online with gamers playing it on other platforms. The move marks a new flexibility towards the emerging cross-platform reality developing in the gaming sector.