News Article

Talking Point: What Will the Next PlayStation Be Called?

Posted by Sammy Barker

Name games

The number four is unlucky in Japan. The figure is pronounced “shi” in the land of the rising sun, which is the same as the word for death. As a result, many hospitals prefer to ignore the digit, skipping the integer when naming room and floor numbers. Furthermore, there are no seats with the numeral on passenger planes of the All Nippon Airways, the nation’s largest airline. The question is: could superstition play a part in the naming of the next PlayStation?

Sticking with traditional title conventions makes sense. We’ve adopted the moniker PlayStation 4 pretty heavily over the past few weeks because it easily evokes a sense of progression. Since the original PlayStation’s inception, we’ve been conditioned into the theory that the highest number at the tail of the brand name represents the most recent iteration. PlayStation 2 was the natural successor to the PSone, and the same was true of the PlayStation 3. However, given the aforementioned trivia, is it possible that Sony could skip on the number four?

It’s already adapted its naming conventions with the PlayStation Vita. Prior to release, many expected the console to be named the PlayStation Portable 2, but clearly the manufacturer wanted a change. It’s unclear what the catalyst for the adjustment was, but it may have come down to the PSP brand’s mitigated commercial appeal in Western territories. While the portable sold extremely well – particularly in its native Japan – there was a stigma that the system was commercial flop in some parts of the world.

That’s speculation on our part, though, and it's more likely that the platform holder wanted to introduce something new. In which case, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that the company may do the same with its next home console. PlayStation Orbis, for example, is one phrase that’s been paraded about a lot over the past twelve months. While the title is more likely a codename, it does have a marketable ring to it. Orbis generally means circle, which complements the Vita well. The latter is, of course, Latin for ‘life’, setting up a brand-wide ‘Circle of Life’ tagline. It certainly sounds like the kind of thing that a marketing team and focus group would concoct.

However, the technology industry seems to be shunning suffixes and numbers in general at the present. Apple has ceased uniquely identifying its iPad range, preferring to refer to its latest line of products as simply ‘iPad’. It’s not impossible to imagine Sony doing the same. Naming its next console ‘PlayStation’ could demonstrate a reboot for the brand, and a return to former glories. And seeing as it’s been almost seven years since the platform holder discontinued the system of the same name, we doubt that there’ll be any confusion in the marketplace.

But while such suggestions are plausible, it’s hard to look past the number four. PS4 rolls off the tongue, and looks right on the page. The name markets itself: it’s the next instalment of a popular product. Japan may have its reservations over the digit, but video games are much more trivial than hospitals and airlines. It seems unlikely that the company would ignore such strong branding at the expense of superstition. After all, no one batted their eyelids at Final Fantasy XIII.

Whether or not Sony will share the final name of its impending console during next week’s PlayStation Meeting press conference remains to be seen, but it’ll be interesting learn what moniker the platform eventually adopts. What do you think that that the next PlayStation should be called? Air your views in the comments section and poll below.

What do you think that the next PlayStation should be called? (35 votes)

PlayStation 4


PlayStation Orbis






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User Comments (28)



Knux said:

PlsyStation 4 because it would make sense to name it that.



antdickens said:

It's really interesting, I wouldn't be surprised if they name it something else in Japan!



ShogunRok said:

I think this is really difficult to call. Like the article mentions, PS4 just works - and we've been calling it that for so long that anything else will seem weird. Whatever Sony decide on, I'm sure it'll sound suitably hip, though.



Savino said:

Any PS# will always sounds nice!! We have it printed in our minds as something techy! Not only the PS, but any combination of two letters and a number sounds smooth and tech!
Ps4, TG8, NC2....



FullbringIchigo said:

well the Japanese do use some english word so maybe it will be PlayStation Four said in english and not as PlayStation Shi although i'm pretty sure they never referred to the PS3 as the PS San

on another note they do also pronounce the number four as yon so they can still call it the PS4 just pronounce it as PSyon



theblackdragon said:

They'll probably just call it the 'playstation four'/'PS4', just like they call it the 'playstation three'/'PS3' now. It makes numerical sense, and since you've mentioned it already, i don't recall anyone flipping out over FFIV or FFIX either, lol. nine is also an unlucky number in Japan.



AG_Awesome said:

Call it ps 5 then and the suffix can be "who needs 4?"

Superstitious weirdos... Lmao



Squiggle55 said:

I'm a much bigger fan of simply using the next number. I'm still bothered that Nintendo didn't just use Wii 2.



rjejr said:

I always thought Sony didn't use PSP 2 b/c the PSPgo was such a big hit they couldn't top it
Seriously though, b/c the PSPgo didn't use a cartridge if they had called the Vita the PSP2 people might have assumed it also was DL only. I still thought the Vita would be DL only for awhile before it came out.

PS4 just works. Though I don't care anymore what they call it, it's all too confusing anyway with a new SKU every few months. I have a big fat PS3 w/ only 2 USB ports from just before the "Slim" came out. Now they have the slimmer slim. And there was BC and not BC and 20, 40, 60, 80, 160, 320, 500 and 12GB systems. Maybe they should just call it Playstation like Apple's iPad. Though I think everybody still refers to it as iPad 3 and the newly modified iPad 4. Or was it iPad 4 and newer 4, I've never owned 1 myself.



odd69 said:

yah anything other than ps4 would'nt be right. or haha maybe playstationU.



InsertNameHere said:

PS4 is what everyone will call it, regardless of what Sony decides. So, PS4 all the way and back.



hamispink said:

I read that people in japan generally pronounce Playstation systems in the English pronunciation.

edit: I give up on trying to link (darn html) A Playstation Lifestyle article stated that it would be pronounced "pee-esu-foaa" by most people.



charlesnarles said:

86% says a lot. And yeah, they'll prolly just call it whatever sounds like "four"/"fore" in Japanese, like how Metal is just "Metaru." We'll find out soon anyhow



SleepingNinjer said:

One, two, three, death! Watch out Jeopardy...

PS4 just sounds right. Love Nintendo, but leave the failed attempts to reinvent itself to them.



darkhairwarrior said:

PlayStation Next?
They should call the new Xbox, Xbox Next... That'd make sense. Where do I submit my ideas?



OmegaSpear said:

When the japanese count do they say 'one, two, three, hamburger!, five, six....'?
Anyway Playstation 4 is the best choice because the average consumer will automatically know that it is the next playstation.



ThreadShadow said:

I think they will go with plain old "PlayStation". It's the trend now to drop numbers if possible, right? I think the next xBox will be just, "Xbox", too. Trying to bring the focus onto the actual brand name rather then the number that comes after it.



eliotgballade said:

If I was mr sony -san ,i'd pick your suggestion "PL4YSTATION". it covers all bases as there's a four in there , but you only see it and not say it, so any unlucky Japanese connotations are avioded without eliminating the offending number.excellent! (wished I had thought of that one).
next xbox? "neXt-BOX" (obviously).
another great TP by the way.



Gamer83 said:

I think PS4 works best but wouldn't be surprised at all if it's just called Playstation.



FullbringIchigo said:

@OmegaSpear no they say Ichi, ni, san, yon, go, roku, nana, hatchi,kyu and ju for 1 to 10

but 4 can also be pronounced as "shi" which is also how the Japanese word for death is said (see watching anime does have it uses ^_^ )



Paranoimia said:

They could take a leaf out of Apple's book and just call it "New PlayStation" - but that would be incredibly lame.

How about... PlayStation AssKicker.

Or they could go a bit left-field and call it the PlayStation Vis Vires - apparently, 'Vis Vires' is latin for force, power, strength, might, influence, so combined with the Vita you'd have 'PlayStation Life Force'.

Yeah... maybe not! XD

Unlikely to be Orbis if that was its codename, and possibly unlikely to be '4' given the reported Japanese superstitions. I don't really care what it's called, or what it looks like, or what the controller is like (as long as it doesn't have lopsided sticks) - I'll be buying one anyway. Only three things will ever stop me buying a new PlayStation... homelessness, serious disability, or death.



BlueProxy said:

The MEID Portal - (Miraculous Entertainment Infused Discombobulator)

Seriously though, I think it will be something based on connectivity, or entertainment, since that's what they'll be pushing this cycle. Which could be anything weird. Would make sense to add a 4 in there, so new playstation consumers will clearly know it's the most current version.

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