Sony's president Kenichiro Yoshida, has confirmed that his company is developing a new video games console. Kenichiro Yoshida told the Financial Times that "it's necessary to have a next-generation hardware". However, he declined to say whether the successor would be branded the PlayStation 5, the newspaper added.
The announcement comes at a time when Sony and other tech firms have been experimenting with streaming games from remote servers as an alternative. The Japanese company allows titles on its cloud-based PlayStation Now service to be played via PCs, and at one time also provided access to some TVs and Blu-ray players.
Microsoft has just announced Project xCloud, which will allow Xbox One games to be played on smartphones and tablets. The processing is carried out on servers operated by the firm's Azure cloud computing division. It has said public trials were scheduled to start next year. Meanwhile, Google unveiled Project Stream last week. The "technical test" allows select gamers to play the latest Assassin's Creed game via the search firm's Chrome web browser.
All the internet-based solutions face latency issues, meaning there is a longer lag between pressing a gamepad button and getting a response than there would be if the relevant computing tasks were carried out in the same room as the player. This delay tends to increase the further away the player is based from the data centre doing the grunt work.
That is a particular problem for fighting and shooting titles, where success or defeat can be determined by how many milliseconds it takes a player to react. One industry watcher said this and other issues meant there was likely to be at least one more generation of hardware that ran games locally.
"There are concerns from a technical standpoint that not everyone would be able to get a flawless experience," said Daniel Dawkins, global editor-in-chief of the news site Gamesradar+. Ownership of the [physical machines] also helps inspire loyalty and a sense of community. A lot of people would hate the idea of giving up the boxes."
Another expert added that launching new hardware was a proven way to attract lapsed gamers back to the activity. "A lot of us love a gadget," said games journalist Ellie Gibson. "Sometimes you just want a shiny new toy."