The PlayStation 5 might be more affordable than we first thought, a Sony exec teased during a conference call recently, although the company has not mentioned actual price points for the next-gen console. But PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan spokes extensively about Sony’s strategy for the next console and implied that upgrading to the PS5 come next holiday season should be a no-brainer. That’s because Sony is apparently pulling out all the stops to make it happen.
In an interview with Games Industry, Ryan explained that Sony is preparing for a major launch next year, and the company wants to transition its PS4 customers to the next version as soon and as fast as possible.
While the PS5’s availability dates have not been announced, plenty of people have been analyzing the upgrade. Is it worth getting the new console on launch day? Will it be expensive? Will there be enough stock available? Is it going to be backward compatible? What about new games? Ryan might not have answered all these questions just yet, but reading between the lines it sure sounds like the company has a massive PS5 launch in mind — emphasis ours:
These are gamers who are networked and sticky and engaged and passionate about PlayStation to an extent that we’ve not seen in previous generations. As we move towards the next-generation in 2020, one of our tasks — probably our main task — is to take that community and transition it from PlayStation 4 to PlayStation 5, and at a scale and pace that we’ve never delivered on before.
This comment alone seems to suggest that Sony aims to sell as many PS5 units as possible come launch day. That means it’ll likely manufacture as many consoles as possible until late 2020 — a rumor did say the console will launch in early December next year so Sony can stock up on AMD 7nm chips.
In addition to supply, the PS5 also needs to be affordable for Sony to pull off that “scale and pace,” otherwise gamers would likely stick with the older model they already own until the price drops.
Also, gamers who do upgrade from the PS4 to the next-gen version will likely want to keep the games they already own and play them on the new machine. Ryan’s comment doesn’t specifically address the backward compatibility matter, one that’s yet to be fully explained by Sony. But there’s no way Sony could secure a massive transition to PS5 without this feature onboard.
Finally, to achieve the massive PS5 adoption that Sony wants, the company will need to launch the console in as many markets as fast as possible, and Ryan’s comments indicate that Sony is working on a more cohesive strategy for launching the new console globally, while also catering to the various needs of different regions of the world:
When we look at this transition and the ambition to do things at a scale and pace that we haven’t seen, we have to look at ourselves and make certain changes. Some of which are in the ways we work, and some in the way we organize.[…]
If we are to be successful, we really have to leverage the opportunities that globalization brings. I am going to give you some examples. One is around the productization of PlayStation 5, the definition of the feature set, of the development and the implementation of those features. That process, this time around, has been massively more streamlined compared to anything we’ve done in the past. The product planners are now having one conversation instead of three different regional conversations, where they needed to reconcile positions that were often conflicting or contradictory, with an endless process of iteration and consensus. That’s not happening anymore. We have one conversation, and we get on and do stuff.
One other exciting comment Ryan made concerns games that are currently being developed for the PS5:
One thing that makes me particularly optimistic that what we’re hearing from developers and publishers, is the ease in which they are able to get code running on PlayStation 5 is way beyond any experience they’ve had on any other PlayStation platform.
We’ve already heard various accounts from developers about what to expect from the PS5, and this further reinforces the idea that PS5 games will indeed deliver exciting gaming experiences.
Ryan’s full interview is available at this link.