Will the PlayStation 4 be the last console built by Sony? If a PlayStation 5 ever surfaces it may simply be an updated controller and a low-powered PS5 hardware shell intended to gain access to the digital distribution system built into the PlayStation Now cloud network. So what does this say about Sony previously mocking the Microsoft's initial stance on the Xbox One online only controversy?
In a related report by The Inquisitr, rumors claim that a Titanfall PS4 port was turned down by Sony. But they need not fret since their PS4 sales numbers are way ahead of Microsoft, and it's claimed by some that a PlayStation 4 price drop indicates a failure by the Xbox One. While many gamers expected this scenario to play out this way due to the hardware differences and the number of launch countries, some analysts are struggling for an answer and claim either the $100 price difference, or that the NSA is using the Xbox One Kinect for spying, is scaring off some gamers.
When video game console manufacturers sell a system like the PlayStation 4 it's sold as a loss leader, meaning that they generate little to no profits and recoup the losses on video games sales over time. Now in this case both the Xbox One and PS4 are barely loss leaders, and are not nearly as good a bargain compared to the last generation, so they're not losing nearly as much money. But in the long run both companies want to fully focus on digital distribution as the only method for selling video games.
The reason is profit: digital distribution benefits from a lack of piracy and video game publishers and developers typically see very little of used game sales, which benefits companies like GameStop only for the most part. The problem is that the internet infrastructure is not quite there nor does Sony believe gamers are ready for such a switch. This became obvious due to the public's backlash against the initial Xbox One online only policy, which was quickly changed when Sony capitalized on Microsoft's PR nightmare.
Sony Worldwide Studios President Shuhei Yoshida has made it clear that in the long run they'll be agreeing with Microsoft's original plans for the Xbox One. The cloud gaming service PlayStation Now is intended to allow Sony to "shift to [being] service-oriented." In essence, the upcoming launch of PlayStation Now, which is based upon the online only streaming technology purchased with Gaikai, is testing the waters for an eventual change to the PlayStation 5 becoming an online only digital distribution platform that simply receives video and sound from a cloud server.
At the same time, Yoshida is keeping Sony's options open and admits the PlayStation 5 may in fact include faster hardware:
"It's really up to the game creators. If they still feel that we need more machine power — 'We want to realize this and that and that, but we cannot do [it] with PS4′ — if that's the case, there's a good reason to have PS5, so that developers can create their vision. So, we'll see."Of course, they'll also be monitoring the pulse of the gamers community when considering the future of a PlayStation 5. If the product won't sell they won't go online only. There's also the issue of bandwidth concerns. If cloud gaming sucks down megabits with 1080p, you can just imagine that competitors could capitalize on a PlayStation 5 4K resolution problem, similar to how the Xbox One 1080p issue is mocked today.