This week it was reported that Sony would produce a further one million PlayStation 4 consoles through 2022, and the Internet lost its mind. This agenda was partly pushed by an increasingly irritating media, with some of the headlines including Expect More Cross-Gen Games As Sony Orders 1 Million PS4s. There aren’t enough eye-rolling emojis in the world to attribute to that title.
The story has been wielded by zealous fanboys on social media as further evidence of a PlayStation screw-up, helmed by Jim Ryan, public enemy number one and PlayStation president. It’s not been helped by sudden reports coming out of Microsoft that suggest it quietly shot-gunned the Xbox One family late last year. “See, they’re doing it right,” Twitter might lead you to believe.
Here’s the thing: Sony has proudly celebrated the ten year lifecycle of its systems since PlayStation’s inception, so it’s bizarre to be surprised by it now. Furthermore, the production of just one million PS4 consoles represents an enormous drop-off for the device – it’s clear that the console is in its twilight years now, perhaps a little sooner than even we’d expected.
There’s no way Sony is sacrificing key PS5 production chains to make PS4 consoles: this is not an either/or situation. These systems are being made because the Japanese giant still believes there’s demand for a lower-priced PlayStation, presumably in regions like India and the Middle East, where expensive games consoles are less established than they are in Europe and North America.
Unlike the aforementioned headline would lead you to believe, it also says nothing about the state of Sony’s cross-gen strategy in the slightest. Yes, some fans have been disappointed that titles like Horizon Forbidden West – which, for the record, started development five years ago, initially as a PS4 game – are being “held back” by last-gen hardware, but manufacturing an additional one million PS4 consoles will have zero impact on that.
Ultimately, Sony will be hoping to flog a few more units of its wildly popular 2013 console before it phases it out entirely, because it still has subscriptions like PS Plus to sell and an enormous library of games on the PS Store. And that’s fine: many fans are still playing on the PS4, and, like it or not, it will remain a supported system by most publishers for the foreseeable future.
It’s clear that PlayStation would have preferred a faster transition to the PS5 and has been bitten by the pandemic, but you can apply this exact same sentiment to practically all electronics manufacturers at the moment – this isn’t a problem that Sony is facing alone. Under the circumstances, the PS5 has largely kept pace with the PS4, despite being out of stock for over a year now.
So, the generation is going just about as well as PlayStation could reasonably expect under unprecedented global conditions. An extra one million PS4 consoles will not make any difference at all to the PS5, and this isn’t the boneheaded move it’s being painted as. It’s time for the Internet to stop overreacting, take a step back, and use the air between its ears for once.
Are you miffed by Sony’s continued commitment to PS4, or is this par for the course during generation transitions? Do you believe manufacturing an additional one million PS4 consoles is a mistake? Don’t overreact in the comments section below.