When console generations change, there’s a period where the old guard and new blood both receive similar support. Sony’s PlayStation 4 currently occupies this zone, but while still doing well, the console has an expiration date.
Sony has marked this date, at least as far as software goes, as around 2025. That’s a pretty long lifespan, by any metric. It’s also Sony’s “longest ever tail” for hardware. But all good things must come to an end, and it looks like 2025 is the year.
PlayStation 4 remains powerful
In a recent presentation, Sony points out just how well the last-generation console is still doing. The PlayStation 4 accounts for the bulk of in-store game sales. It’s also increasingly being used for digital sales over physical discs. 80% of games sold for the console in 2021 were digital.
The console is a driver for free-to-play games, which collect a fair amount of revenue for Sony. PlayStation Plus subscribers also appear to be hanging onto the console. But that’s not going to be enough.
Sony has plans afoot for various platforms. The company hopes, by 2025, to split available game properties between 50% first- and 50% third-party games. The focus platforms for first-party releases will be the PC, PlayStation 5, and mobile. Over the next few years, first-party Sony games will phase out PS4 releases. God of War Ragnarok will launch for the PlayStation 4 and 5. Newer exclusives, like Marvel’s Wolverine and Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, will only launch for the PlayStation 5.
This doesn’t mean that the PlayStation 4’s goose is cooked, of course. It just means that first-party game support will conclude over the next couple of years. You’ll know when the platform is dead when the annual sportsball releases stop being made for it. Football games, for some reason, are almost always the last to go.