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PlayStation boss says PS4 is reaching the final phase of its life cycle

PlayStation 4 Pro review
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Rumors and speculation about Sony’s next console have swirled for years. And although the PlayStation 5 is not expected in the near future, Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO John Kodera acknowledged the inevitably of the PS4’s end at Investor Relations Day 2018 in Tokyo. According to the Wall Street Journal’s Takashi Mochizuki, the PS4 is nearing its final stretch before the finish line.

PS chief Kodera: PS4 is entering final phase of its life cycle, which would have negative impact to the unit, but recurring revenue via membership services etc should cushion some of that.

— Takashi Mochizuki (@mochi_wsj) May 22, 2018

The “negative impact to the the unit” statement is a bit ambiguous, but this could suggest that PS4 consoles could price drops below the manufacturing cost as its lifecycle winds down. As of now, PS4 slim 1TB units go for $300, and the more powerful PS4 Pro typically sells for $400, often bundled with a game. Those figures are fairly high for a console that will see its five-year anniversary this November. Kodera’s belief also seems to reflect the fact that PS4 sales will likely stagnate as the console ages and consumers hold off for the next console generation.

While no one knows when exactly Sony will move on to the PlayStation 5, Kodera had this to say about future growth:

SIE head Kodera told analysts and investors that the period until March 2021 would be when PlayStation to "crouch down once" to grow further in the future.

hmmmmmm.

— Takashi Mochizuki (@mochi_wsj) May 22, 2018

Many analysts and reports have pegged the PS5 for a launch date ranging from 2019-2021. Kodera’s “March 2021” window suggests that the PS5’s launch could be closer to the end of that range.

As for what to expect from Sony going forward, Kodera made sure to note Sony’s dedication to first-party titles. In addition to turning existing titles into ongoing franchises, he mentioned “refreshing” known franchises.

With the recent launch of God of War, we saw firsthand how successful Sony can be retooling tried and true intellectual properties. Sony currently has a number of exclusive titles slated for upcoming release on PS4, including The Last of Us Part II, Death Stranding, Detroit: Become Human, Ghost of Tsushima, and Days Gone. Kodera’s remarks make it seem as if Sony still has more unannounced exclusives planned before the PS4’s life cycle ends.

Most of Kodera’s statements to investors were positive, but he acknowledged that two PlayStation ventures aren’t going as smoothly as expected. PlayStation VR is seeing growth, though it’s lagging behind company expectations. And PlayStation Vue, Sony’s PS4 streaming service, is having a tough time against its numerous competitors.

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