We know that the PS5 will be backwards compatible with “thousands of PS4 games”, but are there any plans for PS4 versions of the next-generation’s most exciting releases? Don’t count on it, PS4 diehards.
That’s what we’re taking from an interview with Sony Interactive Entertainment president and CEO Jim Ryan, who said that the company wants to offer things “that can really only be enjoyed on PS5.”
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“We have always said that we believe in generations,” Ryan told Gamesindustry.biz. “We believe that when you go to all the trouble of creating a next-gen console, that it should include features and benefits that the previous generation does not include. And that, in our view, people should make games that can make the most of those features.
“We do believe in generations, and whether it's the DualSense controller, whether it's the 3D audio, whether it's the multiple ways that the SSD can be used... we are thinking that it is time to give the PlayStation community something new, something different, that can really only be enjoyed on PS5,” Ryan continued.
From a business point of view, it’s hard to argue that this is a sensible approach. After all, who’s going to drop hundreds of dollars on a new console just to play the same games they can already try on their older machine? Anybody who upgraded to a PS4 in 2013 just to play a slightly shinier version of Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag will likely feel quite strongly on this point.
Still, this is the opposite approach to that of Microsoft, with the company pledging that there won’t be any first-party Xbox Series X-exclusive titles for the first couple of years of the console’s life.
But Ryan is keen to point out that this doesn’t mean that the hundred-million strong PS4 player base has been forgotten. “We have always felt that we had a responsibility to serve that community for several years after the launch of PS5 and that it represented a huge business opportunity for us,” he continued, adding that said community has shown “amazing stickiness” to the brand.
It’s a balancing act, in other words: trying to nudge players towards the new and shiny without making them feel forgotten for sticking with current hardware. Perhaps Sony will be relying on third parties to continue making PS4 software in the years ahead. And given that EA churned out its last PS2 FIFA game in 2014, 14 years after the console made its debut, that sounds like a reasonable bet to make.