With the current generation of consoles in full swing, gamers are having a fantastic time with (primarily) their PlayStation 4s. As people tend to do in this industry, though, everyone is looking toward the future to see what's next. Sony is doing big things right now with PSVR, promising to bring the magic of virtual reality to the home console market like never before. They're also financing an unrivaled number of exclusive titles which include both sequels and original IPs. But what about after that? When PSVR has become a household name and we've moved past games like Uncharted 4 and Horizon Zero Dawn, what do we look forward to?
We're still fairly early in the PS4's lifecycle, but that doesn't mean there aren't abundant rumors about what's coming next. Sony has neither confirmed or denied a PlayStation 5, but if history is anything to go by, it's definitely coming. What it will look like, how much it will cost and when it will be released are all still up in the air, but we can say with some certainty that yes, it will happen eventually.
When thinking about how to answer that question, I'm reminded of my economics 101 class, where I learned a simple principle that my professor assured me was at the center of all economics: incentive. If Sony has the incentive to develop and release a PS5, they absolutely will. As for what their incentive is, just look at any business' incentive: profit. If Sony can profit off of a PS5, they will make one. In order to assure that they will make a profit, they have to believe that there is a market for a PS5. This means that there have to be enough consumers out there who want a PS5, thereby giving Sony a good return on their investment.
So what would convince consumers that they need a newer generation of the PlayStation? What would be our incentive to upgrade? Technology is at the heart of it. As consumers, we want better graphics, faster framerates, and to experience things that we've never experienced before. Most importantly, we don't want to spend an arm and a leg to get these things. This means that a PS5 would have to give us a superior experience at a fair price in order to incentivize us to upgrade.
Technology will have to advance to a certain point. Prices on said technology will have to come down to a reasonable level. We, as consumers, will have to reach the true limits of the PS4 in order to want something bigger and better. And those limits will come. We are at a point in time where technology is advancing faster than ever, and one day the PS4 won't be able to handle what developers can do.
When that day comes, you can expect a PlayStation 5 announcement to come a few days later.