Will the PlayStation 5 be Sony Interactive Entertainment's last gaming console? Maybe. Maybe not. PlayStation boss Jim Ryan actually doesn't know. With the introduction of streaming, the future of traditional gaming consoles is once again up in the air and under threat in a way it hasn't been since the days when doomsayers shouted to the heavens about mobile gaming. That said, if console gaming survived the mobile market explosion, surely it will survive streaming, right? I think so, but apparently PlayStation isn't as sure.
Speaking to CNET, Ryan was asked whether he thinks the PS5 is Sony's last traditional console, and as mentioned above, he doesn't know. However, he did note that not too long ago everyone was saying console gaming was dying going into the PS4, and well, look how that turned out. The PS4 is likely going to end up as the second best-selling console ever, behind only the PS2. Console gaming is in a great place, and showing no signs that's in trouble. Yet, here comes Google with Stadia and Microsoft with its own streaming initiative, and now once again the future of console gaming is a bit foggy.
“I actually don’t know,” said Ryan when asked if the PS5 will be Sony's last major console. “I’ve been around a while, and I sat there in 2012 and listened to all sorts of smart people tell me about mobile and that the PlayStation 4 was going to be the most terrible failure ever.
“The logic was actually hard to fault. But we believed in that product then, we believe in this next generation product now. Who knows how it might evolve? Hybrid models between console and some sort of cloud model? Possibly that. I just don’t know. And if I did know, I wouldn’t tell you.”
As you can see, PlayStation is simply focused on the PS5, and isn't thinking too far ahead of it. There's a good chance consoles will be around for a very long time, but will they look different in the future? Almost certainly. Streaming isn't going anywhere. It's already transformed other entertainment industries, and it's probably going to do the same to the video game industry. But, the same was said about mobile gaming, which certainly has had an impact on console gaming and the larger industry around it, but here are we are about to get another generation of traditional consoles.