The PS5 will launch in 2020 hints Sony CEO John Kodera

Chris Stead 23 May 2018 NEWS

John Kodera PS5

The PS4 might by flying, but Sony CEO John Kodera already has his eyes on the future and on the launch of the PlayStation 5 in 2020.

Today, Sony Interactive Entertainment hosted an investors meeting in Japan from which a number of interesting pieces of news emerged. CEO John Kodera took the stage to run through all the important facts and figures. This included confirmation that the PS4 has sold 79 million units; a heck of a result. However, there was more to learn than just what was in the presentation.

Japanese journalist Takashi Mochizuki was at the investors meeting and live-tweeted out a number of quotes from John Kodera. These revealing comments suggest that Sony intends to phase out the PS4 by 2021, ushering in the era of the PS5 in late 2020. According to Mochizuki, Sony CEO John Kodera said:

“[The] PS4 is entering final phase of its life cycle, which would have negative impact to the unit, but recurring revenue via membership services should cushion some of that. PSVR [is] growing, but industry's growth is below market expectations. Beefing up first-party titles wouldn't just mean more new IPs. Strategy includes franchising successful IPs and refreshing existing IPs.” - Sony CEO John Kodera

Mochizuki went on to say, “SIE head Kodera told analysts and investors that the period until March 2021 would be when PlayStation to [sic] ‘crouch down once’ to grow further in the future.”

PlayStation 5 Tweet 1

The two key pieces of information here are Sony publicly declaring the PS4 as being in the final phase of its life cycle, then the cryptic piece of information about “crouching down” in March 2021 ahead of future growth.

Sony’s fiscal year ends in March, and it’s not uncommon for video games companies to earmark a fiscal year as a launch window for products. This terminology is especially used in investor – rather than consumer – conferences. It’s also expected that the end of a fiscal year involving a new console launch would not be a particularly profitable one.

There can be many reasons for this; notably the marketing of the console, the production and shipping of the hardware itself, the funding of launch-exclusive IP and the fact that in order to remain competitive, new machines are frequently sold at a loss.

PlayStation 5 Tweet 2

When will the PS5 come out?

Let's join the dots:

  1. Sony has stated that the PS4 is in the final part of its life cycle.
  2. Sony has seemingly warned investors that the fiscal year ending March 2021 will be low on dividends ahead of future growth.
  3. November is the established release window for new PlayStation consoles. The PS2, PS3 and PS4 all launched in November.

While purely speculation, when we combine these factors together, it suggests that Sony has earmarked a November 2020 release window for the PlayStation 5. This would also fall at the time of the PS4’s seventh anniversary, the exact lifetime given to the PS3 before it was superseded.

This is not the first time the PS5 has been mentioned by Sony. In an interview we conducted with Kazunori Yamauchi of Polyphony Digital, he revealed that Gran Turismo Sport’s assets were produced at 8K resolution to futureproof it for Sony’s next console. We also broke the news that Sony had filed a patent to add blockchain-based DRM to its hardware in the future. Meanwhile, Sony Santa Monica has told us it already has plans to take God of War 5 back to the Norse world.

One thing is certainly clear though; Sony has no plans to let up on the PS4. And with two and half years still left before this suggested 2020 date, the console isn’t stepping aside for the PS5 without a fight.

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