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Home / Technology / What Sony PlayStation 4 "end-of-life" means for PSVR and PSVR 2

What Sony PlayStation 4 "end-of-life" means for PSVR and PSVR 2

When Sony boss John Tsuyoshi Kodera told investors this week that the PlayStation 4 is entering the "final phase of its life cycle," there were two ways to analyze the news. You could not believe it – it's a mistake, an overstatement or likely to change – or suppose that Sony was dead serious and already planned for the PlayStation 5. Sony later made it clear that Kodera was referring to a three-year transition from PS4 to PS5, but the damage was done: both the developers and the consumers will spend the next three years not thinking about what's here, but what next is coming.

Kodera's statement has a big impact on the next version of PSVR. Technically, Sony could bring out a completely new headset for the PS4 tomorrow and continue to support it for the PS5. By historical standards, that would be unusual. Each new generation of consoles typically makes changes to everything ̵

1; I / O ports, internals, and so on – so the PS5 may have different ports and system architectures from the PS4. Would Sony now spend the time and money to create a PS4 version of PSVR 2, knowing that it needs to update the PS5 accessory again?

There's a Reason to Believe that the Answer is "Yes"

Years Recently, Sony commissioned Mark Cerny to develop the PS4 architecture, and after the platform's huge success with developers and customers, reports suggest it hints that he does a similar role for the PS5. Unlike his predecessor, Ken Kutaragi, who treated every new PlayStation generation as a fresh start, Cerny seemed to lay the foundation for Sony creating soft generations. If Sony keeps the PS5 architecture essentially like the PS4 pros, but with new generations of CPU and GPU upgrades, software and accessory compatibility could be preserved.

Above: Mark Cerny led the architectural design for the PS4 The same goes for PS5.

In the past, Sony PlayStations has generally offered the ability to provide backward compatibility via additional chips or emulations – the PS4 was an exception. However, by building directly on the PS4 platform's I / O and software, a PSVR 2 headset can work on both generations of hardware – just like PSVR for PS4 and PS4 Pro – and build a base of users sooner rather than later , 19659002] While a completely new PS5 platform is not hard to imagine, that seems to me to be deeply wrong for Sony. Kodera's comments on the supposed demise of the PS4 hit just as God of War was named the strongest first-time retailer in a PlayStation exclusive in history. That's exactly what happened because Sony has a gigantic PS4 user base distributed across entry-level and pro-level consoles that would take years to fit a completely new successor platform.

There's only one reason why a Sony leader would discuss the topic The death of a thriving platform at the moment: to let investors know that Sony is going to ramp up PS5 hardware R & D spending in the near future, while PS4 hardware efforts are reduced. Unfortunately, this openness is likely to hurt PS4 sales somewhat and deter developers from spending their time on PS4 games. The result will be that some upcoming titles will be retrieved from an established platform of 80 million users in favor of a future platform that may reach only 10 million first-time adopters in the first year. The hunt for PS5 instead of PS4 customers will certainly hurt the ultimate sale of such games.

Industrial research firm SuperData does not care about PS4 hardware or software sales, at least for now. "Sales of PS4 should remain strong until the release of PS5," said Joost van Dreunen. "It's the top dog on the console market, and we see a strong release slate in the console market for the foreseeable future: the recently released God of War (which sold 5MM units in the first month)), take- Two's upcoming Red Dead Redemption 2, and the new Spider-Man game are also likely to drive hardware sales, especially in combination with discounts for budget-conscious consumers not yet at the end of the series for the PS4. "

My biggest concern is that Sony is at the crossroads with PSVR and does not quite know how important the next step is – for both the consumer and the VR industry a total of. The company said the overall VR market is not growing as expected, while PSVR is selling well. Therefore, the company will be extra careful in its next steps with VR. However, Sony is not responsible for the price, development or marketing errors of the rest of the VR market. It must focus on making its own products attractive.

Above: The PSVR sits next to a much more expensive HTC Vive.

Source: Jeffrey Grubb / GamesBeat

It seems obvious to me The relative success of the PSVR results from its affordability and compatibility with an increasingly popular platform. In a time when HTC is focusing on super-expensive headsets and some VR developers are focusing on games and accessories for location-based VR centers, Sony is on a mass market that offers the best price. It sells $ 200- $ 300 VR bundles for a better experience than the standalone Oculus Go or Lenovo Mirage Solo at similar prices, assuming you already own a PlayStation 4 console. Many people do.

However, SuperData does not see the current PSVR as a clear hit. "With just over 2 million units sold, the PSVR is not the hoped-for success," said van Dreunen, "despite the largest console we install, chasing a losing hand would be unwise and, more importantly, a recent one Sony announced that it would concentrate more on digitally distributed content, and under the new leadership of CEO Kenichiro Yoshida, Sony acquired a further 60% stake in EMI Music Publishing this week, revealing its plans to focus on online games and subscription revenue It's not immediately apparent how a PSVR 2 would fit in with this strategy. "

Instead of stagnating or withdrawing from its present position, I believe that daring Sony will bring in even greater share of the growth VR market. This is exactly the time to release an even better, stronger PSVR 2 at a mainstream price, as it will actually push the market, rather than a decent $ 200 Oculus Go, or basically an unaffordable $ 700 Vive Pro. To wait three or more years to make PSVR 2 debut only for the PS5, when people have to spend several hundred dollars on a new console, would be a deeply crazy move. When the PSVR 1 is like the first-generation iPod, it's just waiting for the right improvements and prizes to stand out like a rocket.

I admit to being a bit selfish here. I can not wait long to see what Sony and its developers are doing with VR screens, controllers, and next-generation games. If they move fast enough with PSVR 2, PSVR fans are unlikely to switch to a competing option.

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