Sony is hosting its Investor Relations Day 2019, and CEO Jim Ryan held a presentation on the future of PlayStation including some really interesting elements.
The most important elements of the PlayStation business are its IP, the brand, and its community, which “have never been in better shape.”
Sony’s IP “has never been stronger and has never performed better,” its brand “has never been more relevant and more loved,” and its community “has never been bigger, or more engaged.”
According to Ryan’s personal opinion, “no competitor, existing or potential” can match Sony in these areas.
We get to take a look at a graph of sales of major games on PS4 compared with their predecessors. God of War, Uncharted 4: a Thief’s End, and The Last of Us Remastered all passed 10 million shipments. MLB The Show 19 has the highest paying user spend of any sports title in the US PlayStation Store.
Ryan also mentioned that PlayStation intends to continue its growth trajectory either organically or through acquisitions.
Over 90% of the PS4 consoles that have connected before to the PSN have done so at least once over the last 12 months. In average, players used their PS4 for over 21 hours a week during the past fiscal year.
Speaking of the past fiscal year, consumer spend (without including the price of the console) through the PS4 ecosystem is estimated at over 20 billion dollars. The average spend per customer through the lifetime of the console is $700.
Speaking of the next-gen console, Ryan mentioned that he has seen nothing so transformational at such an early stage.
We also learn that Sony Interactive Entertainment “believes in generations” and with the next-gen console the company aims to “harness the power of new technology to offer completely transformative and immersive gaming experiences.”
They will leverage backward compatibility to transition the community to the next generation faster and more seamlessly than ever before.
The generational approach also provides stability of environment to content creators.
Ryan mentioned that launch plans will be disclosed at the appropriate time. He pledged commitment to getting them right and admitted that Sony succeeded in that with PS1, PS2, and PS4, but failed with PS3.
PS4 is said to remain the engine of engagement of profitability for the “next three years or so,” and will provide early adopters critical for the success of the next-gen console. We also get the confirmation that Ghost of Tsushima, The Last of Us Part II, and Death Stranding are still coming to PS4.
PS4 remote play has 5.6 million active users and 71 million hours of gameplay in the fiscal year 2018.
PlayStation Now covers over 70% of the PS4 installed base. It includes 15 data centers, 37 network POPs, and is offered in 19 countries with 780 games from 170 publishers.
Ryan explained that he “makes no apology” for the fact that the rollout of the service has been steady and not rushed, as Sony aims to evolve it to offer a proper PlayStation experience.
In the mid-term Sony plans to support beyond 1080p resolution, to improve the quality of content, to maximize opportunities outside consoles, leverage its existing capacity, and improve marketing support.
The existing investment could support 5 million users (currently, the service counts 700,000 users). Further investment to increase such capacity is “not ruled out.”
In the longer term, Sony plans to expand the mainstream business model to Blu-Ray, plus digital download, plus streaming. There is no intention at Sony to force the digital model on anyone. Hardware is important, and this will continue with the next-generation.
Streaming is intended as an enhancing factor, but not the only way to enjoy games.
The partnership with Microsoft aims to achieve scale and Sony plans to leverage existing and new partnerships to achieve growth faster than ever before.
For the future, Sony aims to “focus on the 99,” which means focusing its efforts on the 99 million consoles the company has already sold and not on the million it still has to sell. Do keep in mind that this is a figure of speech, and doesn’t intend that Sony has sold 99 million PS4 units.
That being said, the house of PlayStation intends to have a more stringent approach to the management of its cost base.
Lastly, we see the tease of collaborations with other Sony brands like Sony Music to provide original music for first-party games and VR content featuring Sony Music artists. As a matter of fact, a “leading upcoming first-party game” will feature a soundtrack by a Sony music artist.
A collaboration with Sony Pictures confirms the creation of PlayStation Productions and tease the joint use of contents IP. As an example, a VR experience based on Breaking Bad is being developed.
If you’d like to read more, you can also check out what Sony’s CEO Kenichiro Yoshida said about the next-gen PlayStation and more earlier today.