A Wall Street Journal interview with unnamed Sony officials has revealed some juicy information on the upcoming PlayStation 5. Sony will be targeting dedicated, hardcore players for its next-gen console’s launch.
Sony chief executive Kenichiro Yoshida detailed that the PlayStation 5 would be a “niche product.” Hoping to appeal to hardcore gamers: 8K resolution support, Ultra HD visuals, 120Hz gameplay and investment into AAA exclusives are all considered a priority. Sony is also looking to strengthen its relationships with third-party publishers. This is likely to obtain timed exclusive titles and DLC for big-budget releases.
This approach is similar to both Sony’s own PS4 marketing as well as the Xbox One X. It isn’t particularly surprising that Sony has gone down this route. Nintendo and the mobile market hold a majority share of the casual gaming audience so appealing to hardcore gamers should be easier. Hardcore gamers are all more likely to adopt PlayStation 5’s earlier in its lifespan than casual gamers.
Sony is still convinced that Microsoft is its main competitor although there are long-term concerns that this could change. The arrival of streaming platforms such as Google Stadia could become a problem once internet technology is more accessible. It’s unknown how invested Sony is into creating their own similar streaming service.
In order to encourage consumers to purchase the PlayStation 5 early, Sony has already confirmed it will support backward compatibility. Whilst PS4 backward compatibility is confirmed, nothing beyond that is certain for now. It seems doubtful the PS3 and its predecessors will be supported.
The PlayStation 5 is expected to launch towards the back-end of next year. Project Scarlett, Xbox’s code name for their next-gen console, was announced at E3 for a “Holiday 2020,” release. It would be surprising if Sony didn’t try to either undercut or match this release date. Releasing after would be a financial risk as those who opted into Project Scarlett early are unlikely to also purchase a PlayStation 5.