While PlayStation CEO and president Jim Ryan is optimistic about the future of PS5, he says the innate limitations of "the existing console model" continue to frustrate him.
Speaking to GamesIndustry (opens in new tab) in a recent video interview, Ryan stressed that he would "like to see a world where the games that we make at PlayStation can be enjoyed by many, many tens of millions of people, perhaps hundreds of millions of people." As the lead executive of one of gaming's biggest platforms, Ryan's obviously hoping to see PlayStation do well and reach more people, but the underlying dream here seems to go beyond making console numbers go up.
"Right now, a success with the existing console model, with a really great PlayStation hit we're talking 10 or 20 million people able to play that game," Ryan says. "If you compare that, and we're talking about games stacking up against music, we're talking about games stacking up against movies. Music and movies can be enjoyed by almost limitless audiences.
"I think some of the art that our studios are making is some of the finest entertainment that's been made anywhere in the world," he continues, "and to kind of gate the audience for the wonderful art, the wonderful entertainment these studios are making, to gate the audience for that at 20 or 30 million frustrates me. I'd love to see a world where hundreds of millions of people can enjoy those games."
The reach of PS5 games hasn't been aided by the ongoing supply limitations facing new-gen consoles (as well as basically everything else powered by silicon chips), and gaming has only become more expensive as a hobby. Unless the PS5 somehow greatly outsells the PS2, a console which set records under economical conditions which may never be replicated, it will still run into the "gate" Ryan's described. Success will be measured in the tens of millions at most.
Sony has invested in bringing its games to more platforms through PC ports like the upcoming Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves collection, and it's even acquired port specialist Nixxes Software to help with future efforts in that space, but even that can only add so many potential players. It's unclear when or how the sheer reach and ubiquity that Ryan's described will be attainable for games, but it stands to reason it won't be within "the existing console cycle."