Next-gen PlayStation to offer backward compatibility and streaming

Sony executives have shared their vision for the future of PlayStation. During the Investor Relations Day, they talked about backward compatibility and how streaming will not replace downloads and disc drives.

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Immersive and seamless

President and CEO Kenichiro Yoshida stated that the nex-gen experience will be immersive and seamless.

The immersive part refers to Sony’s plans to increase the console’s computational power and improve the graphics rendering speed through a customized broadband SSD. We’ve already seen the load time comparison on PS4 and its successor for Marvel’s Spider-Man. The next-gen hardware showed 10x shorter load time.

When discussing the other keyword, “seamless,” Yoshida cited Remote Play system. It uses consoles as servers to enable streaming PS4 games on  PC and Xperia, and, more recently, on iOS. The plan is to also deploy it on Android devices. Collaboration with Microsoft on cloud gaming deserved a special mention.

Transition to next-gen

In another presentation, Sony Interactive Entertainment President & CEO Jim Ryan elaborated on the strategy for transition to next-gen.

“The key to a platform’s success is initial momentum. Our critical success factor for next-gen will be our ability to transition our community from PS4 to next-gen faster than we’ve ever done before, before then broadening out to new audiences.”

Jim Ryan, Sony Interactive Entertainment President & CEO

According to Ryan, backwards compatibility with PS4 will be the decisive factor facilitating the transition.

Commenting on the industry-wide buzz around cloud gaming, he suggested that the company opted for a more evolutionary approach. Rather than immediately breaking up with local processing power of consoles in favor of streaming, SIE “believes in generations” and “stability of environment for content creators.” Ryan added: “Streaming will be one of the ways that gamers play games. It will not be the only way.”

Despite the increasing proportion of digital sales, the disc drive is not going anywhere. Gamers will have freedom to choose between retail and digital.

As of May 2019, PS4 has sold 96.8M units globally. Sony expects this number to hit 100M milestone by the end of 2019.

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