One day, the PlayStation 4's time will end. It’s bound to happen! But earlier this week, Bloomberg claimed that Sony had planned to discontinue the PS4 at the end of 2021. Sony has once again denied this claim. So, when will the console’s lifespan draw to a close?
To make our best, most educated guess, let’s look back at the lifespan of previous PlayStations. But first, here is Sony’s most recent denial of Bloomberg’s claim that the PS4 was slated to go out of production last year.
“It is not true that plans to end PS4 production were withdrawn due to PS5 shortages,” a Sony spokesperson recently told Japanese site Net Lab. “There were no plans to end PS4 production at the end of last year (2021). The PS4 is one of SIE’s best-selling consoles, and as with previous hardware, when transitioning to the next generation, new and old hardware are manufactured and sold, side by side.”
This is true! But how true? Well...
- The PlayStation 1 first launched in December 1994, and production ended in March 2006. The console and its games, however, continued to be available even after the last PlayStation 1 rolled off the assembly line. In total, the original PlayStation had a 12-year console life.
- The PlayStation 2 launched in March 2000. This means, that the PS1 was manufactured for six years after the PS2's debut. PlayStation 2 shipments ended in Japan in 2012, and global shipments ceased the following year. In total, the PlayStation 2 had a lifespan that was over 12 years long.
There definitely is a pattern here, but...
- The PlayStation 3 went on sale in November 2006, which was six years after the PlayStation 2 launched. Console shipments ended in the US in October 2016 and in Japan the following March. In total, the PlayStation 3's lifespan was a little over ten years.
- The PS4 first launched in November 2013, which means the PS3 was available for three-and-a-half years into the new console’s life. Shipments for the PlayStation 4 Pro ended in Japan in January 2021. At the time, Sony said it was shifting its focus to producing the PS5, but would continue pouring its energy into the PS4 platform business. The Jet Black 500 GB PlayStation 4 continues to be manufactured and sold. In total, the console’s lifespan has been over eight years.
- The PS5 launched in November 2020, and therefore, the PS4 has made it through over a year of its predecessor’s lifespan.
If we take a safe guess, then the PlayStation 4 can hopefully look forward to another two-and-a-half years of manufacturing and shipping. But, of course, it could be even longer, depending on how sales are.
Considering how well the PS4 has done, how many games the console has, and how hard obtaining a PS5 still is, it would be surprising if Sony axed the PlayStation 4 anytime soon. It’s certainly possible, but nixing the console would establish an even shorter run for Sony’s game machines.
Past is prologue—except when it ain’t.