Yesterday, when Sony told Japanese investors that the PS4 is "entering the end of its lifecycle" (as translated by The Wall Street Journal's Takashi Mochizuki), we held off on repeating the news until we got clarification on what exactly that meant. Today, Mochizuki reports in WSJ that it means the PS4 has at least three more years of uncontested focus from Sony's console business.
"We will use the next three years to prepare the next step, to crouch down so that we can jump higher in the future," Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Tsuyoshi Kodera told the Journal.
A 2021 release for any new PlayStation, eight years after the 2013 launch, would be slightly behind the six-to-seven-year release schedule separating previous PlayStation releases. But it wouldn't be out of line for a console that is currently outselling all previous PlayStation consoles at this point in their lifecycles. The PS4's lifespan will also likely benefit from the existence of the PS4 Pro, which launched in late 2016 with improved hardware and full cross-compatibility with the 2013 original. It's not currently clear if Sony plans for its next console to be a fresh break with its current hardware line or yet another hardware upgrade for the same essential software platform.
Previous rumors circulated by paywalled site SemiAccurate suggested Sony's next console could launch as soon as this year. Kotaku cited sources from around the industry in calling those claims ridiculous, a position Sony seems to have now confirmed.