Microsoft’s strategy has been a unique one. It seems to be blurring the line between console generations and even consoles and PC. It’s making Xbox an ecosystem rather than a platform. And it’s said that Xbox Series X games will also be compatible with Xbox One and PC via its whole “Play Anywhere” initiative. Sony, however, has doubled down on dedicated generational hardware that allows software to advance with the baseline of the technology. With that confirmation, Sony Interactive Entertainment President and CEO Jim Ryan says the company wants to give players games “that can really only be enjoyed on thePS5.”
The quote came via an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, where Ryan says that next-gen consoles “should include features and benefits that the previous generation does not include.” Microsoft’s strategy is inherently limiting as it tries to include the Xbox One within its family of console moving forward, which presents a “lowest common denominator” that games must meet. If it’s also possible on this generation of console, then what’s the point of next-gen except faster load times and prettier images?
“We have always said that we believe in generations,” Ryan said. “We believe that when you go to all the trouble of creating a next-gen console, that it should include features and benefits that the previous generation does not include. And that, in our view, people should make games that can make the most of those features.
“We do believe in generations, and whether it’s the DualSense controller, whether it’s the 3D audio, whether it’s the multiple ways that the SSD can be used… we are thinking that it is time to give the PlayStation community something new, something different, that can really only be enjoyed on PS5.”
This seems to be a direct response to the Inside Xbox showcase, which failed to show anything truly compelling and “next-gen,” rather offering a vast majority of games that are cross-gen experiences.
But while Sony will create experiences exclusively for the PS5, Ryan acknowledges that the massive install base of the PS4 shouldn’t be entirely left behind. “We have always felt that we had a responsibility to serve that [PS4] community for several years after the launch of PS5 and that it represented a huge business opportunity for us,” Ryan said. “The numbers are quite straightforward. If you say in broad-brush figures that we have a community of 100 million PS4 owners right now, and in the first couple of years… I don’t know, somewhere between 15 and 25 million might migrate to PS5, that still leaves a huge number of people with PS4s.”
But don’t worry, even if you do move up to the PS5, all PS4 games submitted for certification after July will be required to also work on the PS5. In a way, Sony’s policies are opposite Microsoft’s. There will be unique experiences only available on PS5 hardware, but by upgrading, you aren’t leaving behind games still being made for the PS4, which makes a compelling argument to move to the next-gen PlayStation console.
Sony has committed to a June 4th date for the PS5 reveal event, or at least a PS5 games showcase to demonstrate what’s possible on the PlayStation 5 console. With these comments in mind, expect Sony to focus on specific aspects and features only possible via new hardware.