PlayStation 5 will face ‘exponentially more’ competition, says ex-boss

Jack Tretton thinks firm must raise its game

PlayStation is “well-positioned” going into the next console cycle but has no room to rest on its laurels, according to the former head of Sony Computer Entertainment America.

Sony is the runaway leader this console generation with PS4 approaching 100 million sales, but Jack Tretton, who led SCEA from November 2006 to March 2014 and now runs a venture capital fund for independent developers, thinks PS5 will have a much tougher battle on its hands.

“The leader of the prior generation is always in a good position going into the new generation,” he told VentureBeat. “From what I’ve read about the specs of PlayStation 5, it sounds impressive. Their business model obviously worked well for them the last time around, and it doesn’t look like they’re going to deviate from that.

“They’ll be well-positioned,” he added. “But I do think they’ll face exponentially more competition than they did the last time around.”

Tretton said Google’s plans to enter the market with game streaming platform Stadia will provide healthy competition that “raises the bar as far as what a console publisher needs to do to have a leadership position”, something he believes is good for platform holders and consumers alike.

Microsoft should give Sony “a better run for their money” and “Nintendo is more relevant this time around”, Tretton said.

“But they’ve learned some valuable lessons in this generation,” he added of his former employer. “It should be great for everyone in the business, whether you’re a developer or a gamer. It’s going to keep everyone on their toes.”

In April Sony announced the first official PS5 hardware details, with lead system architect Mark Cerny revealing that the system will be disc-based, include an internal SSD and support 8K graphics.

He also said PS5 will be backwards compatible with PS4 games and support the current PlayStation VR headset. The PS5 release date isn’t expected to fall before April 2020.