The good times are still rolling for Sony’s PlayStation 4 (PS4) as the company displayed its extensive wares at the four-day Tokyo Game Show (TGS), attended by a record nearly 300,000 visitors.
The PS4 was released at the end of 2013 and would normally be expected to be coming to the end of its lifecycle, but it continues to beat expectations and Sony is betting there is more to come with a huge lineup at Asia’s biggest gaming event, which finished Sunday.
“Compared to other consoles, the peak of sales was later, coming in 2016. We have raised the forecast for PS4 consoles by a million to 17 million for the year to March 2019,” Sony Interactive Entertainment spokesperson Natsumi Atarashi told The Hollywood Reporter at TGS. “This is now what we call the harvest period for software and we have around 80 million monthly active users.”
The gaming division delivered more in profits for Sony than the pictures and music divisions combined in the last fiscal year.
As it has done in recent years, Sony announced its lineup of new titles, updates and unseen footage of coming games at a pre-TGS event. In addition to a slew of VR titles, games attracting attention at TGS included Judge Eyes, a narrative-driven investigative game from the creators of the popular Yakuza series, set for a December release in Japan. Meanwhile, a new game in the Samurai Shodown fighting game series is set for launch next year.
On the final evening of TGS, legendary game-maker Hideo Kojima unveiled a new trailer for his much-anticipated PS4 exclusive Death Stranding, which will feature characters based on motion capture and voices from Norman Reedus, Mads Mikkelsen, Lindsay Wagner, Lea Seydoux and Guillermo del Toro.
The day before TGS opened, Sony announced its move into the retro console market, following on the success of Nintendo’s strategy, with its PlayStation Classic, a budget, mini version of the original console.
And on the day the event opened in the halls of the Makuhari Messe in Chiba, near Tokyo, news broke that the PS4 in-house exclusive Marvel’s Spider-Man had broken sales records by shifting 3.3 million copies in its first three days. That kind of successful tie-in leveraging IP across Sony’s divisions is something the conglomerate had struggled to deliver for years.
Sony was also sponsoring the TGS eSports arenas, as the competitive video gaming sector finally begins to expand in Japan.
“Call of Duty, which is created by Activision, but published by Sony in Japan, is a registered pro-title [only licensed pro eSports players can win major prize money in Japan] and we have been promoting eSports tournaments since April,” said Sony’s Atarashi, who pointed out that the final was being held on the last day of TGS with prize money totaling $90,000 (10 million yen).
Sony does appear to be pulling out of the portable console business. Game division vp Hiroyuki Oda announced at TGS that the PS Vita would end production next year, with no next generation console in the works.