The new console comes amid questions about whether consoles really represent the future of gaming. Microsoft, for instance, suggested at the same time that its new release could live in the cloud, getting rid of the wedge of computer that has occupied people’s living rooms.
Speaking an interview with the Financial Times, Sony president Kenichiro Yoshida would only say “At this point, what I can say is it’s necessary to have a next-generation hardware”.
He did not give detail on the release date or any particular information about the new console. And he notably declined to refer to it as a PlayStation 5, suggesting that it could undergo some more profound alteration and come out with a new name entirely.
Gaming companies including Sony have long been rumoured to be working on a streaming system that would replace traditional consoles. It has been suggested that Sony is working on its own tablet, for instance, where the real work of running the game would be done on the company’s servers in the cloud and players would simply control and watch remotely.
That was the vision laid out by Microsoft when it unveiled its new xCloud project, which will see the consoles available in the internet. With that, people will be able to play full Xbox games just on their iPhone screen, using vast computing power but without relying on the hardware inside the phone.
Sony has repeatedly suggested that a new console is coming, though has always stayed away from details and its name. Last year, for instance, PlayStation boss Shawn Layden said that a new console was coming though wouldn’t arrive anytime soon.
The company has also suggested that the PlayStation 4 is in the “final phase” of its life. That does not necessarily mean it is being retired, but seemed to suggest that Sony believes it to be mature and that games are getting more advance.
At the same time, CEO John Kodera said the company would use “the next three years to prepare the next step, to crouch down so that we can jump higher in the future”. Many took that as a suggestion that new hardware would not arrive until 2021 at the very earliest.