Sony CEO says consoles ‘very important for the time being’

But executive also calls consoles a “niche” market within the games industry

Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida has 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.

“The most important way in which consoles create value is by providing users with an immersive gaming experience,” he said during a presentation at a recent Sony investor relations day.

“Providing that experience is one of the key aspects Sony has worked to ensure over successive generations of the PlayStation console.

“We are just as dedicated to delivering that immersive experience on the next generation console we are currently developing,” Yoshida added.

“We plan to do that by further improving the computational power of the console, measured in TFLOPS (Tera Floating-point Operations Per Second), and by dramatically increasing the graphics rendering speed through the employment of a customized ultra-fast, broadband SSD.”

Yoshida showed attendees a video comparing load times in PS4 title Marvel’s Spider-Man, running on both PS4 Pro and its next-gen PlayStation hardware.

As described in the first PlayStation 5 details article, the next-gen PlayStation has dramatically reduced loading times compared to PS4 Pro, with the camera able to fast travel near-instantaneously and speed through the game’s city without pausing for asset loading.

“The extraordinary improvement in rendering speed I just showed will continue to immerse users in games in the future, and we believe this improvement clearly demonstrates why it makes sense to have a next generation console, since the experience will greatly exceed what is possible on the current generation PS4 hardware, including PS4 Pro,” he said.

During a Q&A session following his presentation, Yoshida was asked to consider the future of the games industry and his outlook for the importance of Sony’s console business in the years to come.

“As we speak, we provide as I said today, immersive business and this user experience is something we would like to continue to place an importance on,” he said through a translator. “[The] console market, if you look at the game industry as a whole, is not a major market but rather it’s a niche market if you will. But for core gamers, [the] immersive experience is something we would like to value.

“In this respect, for the time being, the console [as] something that brings about computing functionality to users is very important, but on the other hand, technology will progress and so as I said today, the Remote Play and PlayStation Now, the streaming services will be worked on in parallel, that is what we are doing at this moment.”

Last week, Sony and Microsoft announced a strategic partnership that’s expected to result in the PlayStation maker using Microsoft Azure data centres for cloud gaming and content streaming services.