Sony Says the PS5 is “Entering the Latter Stage of its Life Cycle”

Is a ‘PS5 Pro’ closer than we think?

Gaming
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It feels like we’ve only just been able to easily get our hands onto a PlayStation 5 at retail after years of inventory issues (read: chip shortages and resellers), but according to Sony the console is in its final years. In a recent report by Bloomberg, Naomi Matsuoka, a senior vice president at the Japanese gaming giant, is quoted as saying the PS5 is entering “the latter stage of its life cycle”, inspiring memes and a mix of surprise and general confusion amongst its fans online. But what does this really mean for gamers? And didn’t it just come out?!

Released in November 2020, the PS5 turns four this year and for most of its lifecycle has generally sold out faster than it has been restocked. Still, Sony has sold over 54 million consoles so far – over double the combined sales of its rival Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and Series S consoles – and the PS5 is on track to outsell the PS4. Though, whilst impressive, the figures falls short of its own predictions: Sony had hoped to sell 25 million consoles this financial year (ending March 2024), but its holiday 2023 sales came up shorter than expected and the company has cut its forecast to 21 million units, causing its share price to fall in recent weeks.

In late 2023 Sony introduced the PS5 Slim, a digital only model that came with an optional (and detachable) disc drive. This hardware refresh mirrored the three year timeframe it took for it to introduce revisions to its previous console, the PlayStation 4, marking the “latter stage” of that console’s lifecycle. However, although Sony introduced the PS4 Slim and PS4 Pro in 2016, it was another five years before the company discontinued them, as it continued to produce PS4 models for over a year after the PS5 launched. It’s unclear if this is a route Sony will take with the PS5 and its successor, but it’s a good reference point to illustrate that the “the latter stage” doesn’t necessarily equate to “the end”. So, while Matsuoka’s statement on the PS5 life cycle may sound surprising (perhaps exacerbated by the warping of time we’ve all experienced through the pandemic), things are actually tracking as normal.

Like any tech company, Sony is always working years ahead of what it puts out into the market. The company’s comments may therefore allude to a wholly new and more powerful PS5 being on the way (the PS5 Slim from late 2023, though new, retains the fundamental makeup of the launch model with minor tweaks). The PS5 Pro has been rumored for some time now and Sony’s statement may be a subtle hint at what to expect from the company in the near future.

If anything should concern gamers, though, it should be a statement made by Sony big-boss Hiroki Totoki. On a recent earnings call, Totoki claimed “we do not plan to release any new major existing franchise titles next fiscal year.” PlayStation fans have been yearning for more first-party exclusives after a relatively quite couple of year filled with remasters, but this statement by the Sony chairman seems to indicate we won’t be seeing any new AAA titles or follow-ups to fan favorites like Ghosts of Tsushima anytime soon. Given Totoki’s specified the “fiscal year” as his timeline, it can also be taken to suggest that the recently announced Death Stranding 2 (from gaming legend Hideo Kojima) won’t be released before April 2025.

Watch this space, we’ll keep you up to speed on how things develop.

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