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Divisive PS5 Strategy Risks Making Sony Fans Rethink Their Loyalty

Sony is already developing PlayStation 5-exclusive games that won't be playable on PS4. Is this really a consumer-friendly approach?

  • Sony is going all-in on the PlayStation 5, making some titles exclusive to the new console from the moment it launches.
  • This could alienate long-time PlayStation 4 players.
  • Is this really the most consumer-friendly approach?

We don’t know much about the PlayStation 5, but what we do know is seriously impressive. The platform seems to handle Unreal Engine 5 quite well, and its SSD should push console gaming several leaps forward.

But the hardware will still be an expensive upgrade, especially at launch. And in these uncertain times, budget-conscious gamers might want to hold onto their PlayStation 4s a little while longer.

Unfortunately, those players will have to brace for some FOMO. Sony is already developing PS5 exclusives that won’t be playable on PS4.

Sony Is Already All-in on the PlayStation 5

The best PS5 players have to look forward to is confirmation that the top 100 most popular PS4 games should be playable on the new hardware at launch. | Source: FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP

In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan explains that while they’ll support PlayStation 4 players in the future, they’re already going all-in on the next generation of consoles.

Ryan says:

We have always said that we believe in generations. 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.

While Sony isn’t necessarily evil for initiating the delicate process of putting the PS4 out to pasture this early, it’s certainly a marked departure from the consumer-friendly approach Microsoft is taking.

This choice could alienate a significant portion of its customer base, or at least make them question their loyalty.

The Xbox Series X and a Consumer Focus

Sony and Microsoft are taking very different approaches to the new console generation. | Source: Christian Petersen/Getty Images/AFP

After all, every title coming to the Xbox Series X will be playable on the Xbox One family of consoles for the foreseeable future. Or, at the very least, for the first two years of the Series X lifecycle.

That means Game Pass subscribers and other Xbox players can keep playing future games on their current-gen hardware. They won’t have to spend big to remain in the ecosystem.

Microsoft won’t pressure their user base to buy a new console before they’re ready. Xbox gamers can upgrade as they see fit, rather than stress about cobbling together the funds for a (potentially) $500 box to stay relevant.

It’s an unquestionably pro-gamer move, which seems to have been a consistent theme of the Series X development and marketing strategy.

The best PS5 players have to look forward to is confirmation that the top 100 most popular PS4 games should be playable on the new hardware at launch.

So at least those gamers who do upgrade can still catch up on their backlog.

Last modified: September 23, 2020 1:59 PM

Max Moeller

Blockchain and gaming journalist. Feels most at home with a controller and something to learn about. Likes emerging things, music, motion graphics, video editing, photography, and YouTube. Contact Max: moellermax0@gmail.com, reach out on LinkedIn or Youtube.