Ken Kutaragi recently made it known that he has design ideas for the PS4. And the PS5. And the PS6. Based on Phil Harrison’s declaration that the PS3 is future proof, the PS4 should hit the market between about 84 thousand years from now and never. But even if you’re one of those cynics who don’t believe everything PR people say, you’ve got to figure the PS4 will launch around 2012. With five years each generation, that gives us the PS6 in 2022, a full 15 years from now.
Maybe Kutaragi has a knack for correctly interpreting Nostradamus, but he is probably just delusional. How could he possibly be planning anything beyond the color of the PS6 casing? Technology advances in fits and starts and is difficult to predict even without any unforeseen break throughs (cars, radio, TV, internet, The Clapper). Imagine the PS1 as designed circa 1981. IBM had just released the first PC so computers were still a little too bleeding edge to design a console around. But the 1981 PlayStation comes with fax gaming capability!
The astounding egotism of planning a PS6 may not be apparent. Any good company has an idea of its next product line. Extrapolating further becomes perilous because the company must then work under the assumption their product was a smash success. In Ken’s mind, the PS5 is designed as the successor to the amazingly popular PS4. This assumption of success is compounded further with every future console designed.
Ken’s mind may well be a microcosm of Sony culture. He is primarily concerned with networking capabilities and creating a machine that will eventually replace your PC, game console, router, receiver, and movie and audio player. The landscape of the games market, what consumers want and the evolution of video games seem to be minor afterthoughts. He doesn’t care what console would fit the gamer of the future. Or rather, he wants to tell the gamer of the future what console will fit him. It is the console Ken has designed.