Andrew House, who recently left Sony after a 27-year stint at the company, was also recently asked at the GamesBeat conference about the PlayStation 5.
The Tuesday interview, reported here by Polygon, had House speculating about the current generation of consoles and their successors. While House wouldn’t get into too many details, or say anything that he would know as Sony Interactive Entertainment’s president, he did speculate on where he thought consoles would be going.
House explained that he was “bullish” about the future of consoles, citing concern at the beginning of this generation about consoles being dead. “In 2013, the vast majority of conventional wisdom was saying that consoles were dead,” House remarked. “The whole market was moving to mobile and there was no future for this. I remember saying to myself, to use a very English metaphor, ‘Am I going to be the last governor of Hong Kong, overseeing the end of consoles?’ Fortunately, all those impending doom mongers were all very wrong.”
House didn’t want to talk specifics about a theoretical, and likely inevitable, PlayStation 5. He did believe the PlayStation 4 had a lot longer to go, however, believing that the market could grew larger in other regions likes China and that there is a desire among hardware manufacturers for cycles to be longer. Intergeneration console upgrades, like the PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X, help accomplish that.
In terms of what the PlayStation 5 will bring to the table, House offered his own speculation. While he does think Cloud-based gaming will become a major part of the next generation, consoles will still ship with discs as a primary method of content delivery, simply because not every region would support a digital-only future.
“I don’t have any firm knowledge on this, but my sense is that you will see the disc around in the industry for a while,” he said. “If you’re going to tap into some of these [developing] markets, then allowing for that more traditional physical purchase model as an option is probably no bad thing.
“The evidence I draw on was the original launch of PlayStation. That wasn’t based on 3D graphics alone. The vision was to shift from expensive cartridges to more accessible and cheaper disks. Dropping that barrier allowed developers to take more risks. Streaming could be the next inflection point. But the business model has to be thought through.”
Speculation has been rampant about a PlayStation 4 successor in recent months, but Sony has not indicated whether or not they’re preparing for new hardware.
House is definitely in a position to make an educated guess about where the industry and hardware are going. Cloud-based gaming definitely seems likely, though I don’t expect it will just be streaming. There are too many variables involved for the industry to completely rely on that.