Sony says PS4 has ‘critical role’ in coming years

Current-gen console will remain company’s ‘engine of profitability’

As the arrival of PlayStation 5 draws closer, Sony has outlined the critical role PS4 still has to play in the years to come.

At the end of the company’s financial year on March 31, 2019 Sony had shipped 96.8 million PS4 units, with 94.2 million sold through to consumers.

During an investor relations event on Tuesday, slides presented by Sony Interactive Entertainment president and CEO Jim Ryan revealed that annual consumer spending through the PS4 ecosystem was estimated at over $20 billion (£15.75 billion) for the first time in the company’s most recent fiscal year.

Sony said PS4 will continue to be PlayStation’s “engine of engagement and profitability for the next three years” and “provide the fertile early adopter gamer base critical for next gen success”.

It said the strength of key franchises has increased between the PS3 and PS4 generations based on sales and review scores. Individual titles in the God of War, Uncharted and The Last of Us series have all shipped or sold more than ten million units on PS4, something not achieved during the PS3 era.

Sony also reiterated that The Last of Us 2, Death Stranding and Ghost of Tsushima are still set for release on the current-gen console.

PlayStation Plus subscribers stood at 36.4 million at the close of Sony’s last fiscal year, while PlayStation Network had over 94 million monthly active users.

During its investor relations day, Sony also showed a video comparing load times in PS4 title Marvel’s Spider-Man, running on both PS4 Pro and its next-generation PlayStation hardware.

As described in the first PlayStation 5 details article, the next-generation PlayStation demonstrates dramatically reduced load 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.

PS5 architect Mark Cerny has claimed the console’s SSD will be “a true game changer”. The PS5 release date isn’t expected to fall before April 2020.