Every time a new hardware generation rolls around questions are asked about whether it will be the last, and with streaming technology currently transforming the media landscape it’s being asked if PS5 and the next Xbox will be the last of their kind.
“What I think is: I actually don’t know,” Ryan told CNET when asked if he thinks PS5 will be the last console from Sony. “I’ve been around awhile, and I sat there in 2012 and listened to all sorts of smart people tell me about mobile and that the PlayStation 4 was going to be the most terrible failure ever.
“The logic was actually hard to fault,” he continued. “But we believed in that product then, we believe in this next generation product now. Who knows how it might evolve? Hybrid models between console and some sort of cloud model? Possibly that. I just don’t know. And if I did know, I wouldn’t tell you.”
While Sony may end up releasing a successor to PS5, Ryan went on to say it’d be naïve not to be preparing for a potential console-less future. He pointed to the company’s recently announced strategic partnership with Microsoft, which is expected to result in the PlayStation maker using Microsoft Azure data centres for cloud gaming and content streaming services, noting that the move was in part driven by Google’s plans to launch cloud gaming platform Stadia later this year.
“When you’ve got these big, very large companies coming into your space, I think simply viewing the world in the terms you viewed it in the past 25 years, with the competition you’ve had over the past 25 years, is probably not a very sensible approach to take,” he said.
“We, through our actions and recent announcements, believe that there is a great market for next generation console. But it’s not binary. It’s not like, in three weeks time or three years time, the console world stops, and a console-less world — however that may look — will suddenly take over.
“Any transition will be steady and gradual,” Ryan added. “I’ve built PlayStation businesses all around the world. I can tell you about the infrastructure in some of the parts of the world where we have very, very large businesses, and they will not be conducive to, you know, an entirely streaming model for years and years and years.”
Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida recently said consoles remain a key part of PlayStation’s strategy for the time being but suggested the company won’t be too reliant on dedicated hardware as it’s just a small part of the wider marketplace.