Sony’s Playstation 4 is entering year-five of its release the public and as of now maintains an unwavering stranglehold on the console gaming market. With sales more than double that of its closest competition – Microsoft’s Xbox One – Sony and Playstation 4 have shown no signs of slowing down…or so it would seem. 2017 was a stellar year for the Playstation 4, but it was also the year its holidays sales showed signs of slowing for the first time since launch. While one would argue that the slight dip in numbers can be attributed to the runway success that is the Nintendo Switch (and to a lesser extent the release of the Xbox One X), is it time for Sony to start thinking about the next iteration of the Playstation? Or should the gaming powerhouse play the long game and respond what its competitors are up to?
In the fall of 2017, Microsoft launched the Xbox One X – touting it as the most powerful console ever made. As true as that statement may be, Sony and the PS4 don’t appear to be too impacted – if at all – by a more powerful console on the market aside from a slight dip in sales during the 2017 holiday season. On the Big N’s side of things, the Nintendo Switch has officially outsold its predecessor’s lifetime sales and continues to sell like gangbusters, even tripling PS4’s sales numbers in its first year in Japan. While there is cause for a growing concern in Sony’s camp, one can argue that the PS4 has more than enough fuel in its tank to come out ahead of its competition.
Sony recently confirmed that Days Gone – a title which was thought to be released this year – would be pushed back to 2019, making Sony’s 2018-2019 release calendar a little more clear. 2018 is already shaping up to the another landmark year Playstation gamers with releases like Dissidia: Final Fantasy NT and the critically acclaimed Shadow of the Colossus remake leading the the 1st-Party charge. Sony’s library was further bolstered in the early months of the year with a number of 3rd-Party titles such as Dragon Ball FighterZ and Monster Hunter World attributing most of their sales on Sony’s platform. But that is just the beginning. April will bring God of War, May will deliver Detroit: Become Human, and if my spider-sense is accurate, Insomniac’s highly anticipated Spider-Man will be out before the year’s end as well. And let’s not forget about Dreams, a title which looks to take the best parts of LittleBigPlanet and truly allow the player to let their creativity run wild. Those heavy-hitters signify the strength of the Playstation brand and will to push more and more PS4 consoles into people’s homes.
While Nintendo is no stranger to the 1st-Party game, its main shots have already been fired with Super Mario Odyssey and Breath of the Wild launching in the Switch’s first year. Although, the recent announcement of Super Smash Brothers coming to Switch in 2018 will certainly help sway the pendulum a bit in Nintendo’s favor, especially if the game ends up being more than a port of the Wii U/3DS version. That just leaves Microsoft. While it may have a beast of a console, it doesn’t have much to offer in terms of a diverse library. Yes, the the higher resolution patches and the growing number to its backwards-compatible library are a good thing for its existing users, but Xbox One has yet to unveil a system-seller title. Sea of Thieves and State of Decay 2 seem to be getting a lot of buzz but Crackdown 3, however, appears to be nothing more than a fart in the wind. One has to wonder what Microsoft is hiding up its sleeve. 2018 may be a lock for Ps4’s continued success but 2019 may just be a the most critical year for Sony since the launch of Playstation 4.
By the time we raise a glass of champagne to 2019, the 6th year of the PS4’s stellar life will be upon us. With Days Gone slipping into 2019, will its release also be accompanied by the likes of Last of Us Part II and Death Stranding? My hunch tells me no, as TLoU II and Days Gone may be too similar and may inadvertently cannibalize each other.., honestly, Days Gone wouldn’t stand a chance. The Last of Us II is likely to be a 2020 title and Death Stranding? I wouldn’t count on seeing that game released prior to 2020 either. It is possible that TLoU II and Death Stranding are the swan songs of the PS4 generation in the same way that TLoU was the swan song of the PS3 generation. The argument can be made that a 2019 reveal and 2020 release of the PS5 is possible, but I think a 2020 reveal at E3 and March 2021 release might be the better decision. The Nintendo Switch releasing in March was able to stave off the supply and demand issues they have had in the past when releasing in November. Playstation hasn’t had those problems before, but it is an interesting strategy to take nonetheless.
What do you think? Do you think the PS5 will be announced sooner? Do you think Sony needs to get ahead of things or do you think they can still afford to wait until the PS4 install base dries up? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.