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Gaming: PS4 sales steady as PS5 buzz ramps up; Mario movie update

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Feb 1, 2019

The PlayStation 4 may be tapering off as a sales powerhouse, but Sony’s latest numbers show the five-year-old console still performing at a pace that evokes memories of its history-making PlayStation 2 predecessor.

Via Variety, Sony revealed its most recent figures for the PS4’s lifetime sales this week, and the tally actually shows the new kid on the block slightly outselling the era-defining PS2, if the two systems’ life cycles are compared equally.

After five years and one quarter on the market, the PS2 had sold 90 million units worldwide on its way to setting the still-unbroken record as the biggest-selling video game platform — regardless of format — in history. By contrast, the PS4 is outperforming the PS2, having sold a total of 91.6 million units since its November 2013 debut.

Sony has long maintained it doesn’t expect the PS4 ever to catch up with the PS2’s overall sales success, mainly because the market lifespans of gaming consoles have gotten shorter and shorter with each generation. But even if the PS4 does run out of steam well before it’s spent 13 years in the wild (a feat the PS2 managed before Sony finally halted production in 2013), it’s still placed Sony at the head of the hardware pack as development turns the corner toward the next console generation.

As if on cue, it’s perhaps not surprising that the buzz surrounding the PS5 (or whatever we’ll call it) appears to be growing louder and more frequent. Via IGN, Sony Interactive Entertainment recently published a patent that demonstrates the company is interested in technology that could clear the path for future PlayStation hardware to emulate its console forebears, meaning the possibility — if not the likelihood — of backward compatibility is real.

“The patent details a process that could run software from legacy devices perfectly on a new device,” IGN reports. “It notes that components like a CPU may be faster in new devices, but the architecture might not match closely enough with previous hardware CPUs in order to play the older software. So, to trick the legacy software to work with new hardware, it mimics legacy devices.”

Beyond a limited handful of early-release PS3 consoles that were compatible with PS2 game discs, backward compatibility has been one of the few sore spots for PlayStation fans over the past two gaming generations. Debuting a new console that could run nearly every game in Sony’s long and storied library certainly would go a long way toward smoothing over that bone of contention with fans, while doubtlessly winning plenty of new ones in the process.


Nintendo, meanwhile, has some moves of its own — though this time out, it’s eyeing another leap for its famous mustachioed mascot onto the big screen.

Via Game Informer, Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa recently updated investors on the progress of its upcoming Super Mario Bros. movie — the first run at winning over moviegoers since 1993’s much-maligned, spectacularly mediocre Super Mario Bros. starring John Leguizamo and Bob Hoskins.

Furukawa said the new version is on track for a 2022 release, and assured that the company is aware of how tough the theater business has been for video game franchises, regardless of their overall popularity, to crack.

The Nintendo boss also reportedly allayed fears that the new Super Mario Bros. film might succumb to the quality issues of its 1990s forebear, noting that iconic Nintendo creator Shigeru Miyamoto remains personally involved in the project as the film’s producer, “to make sure it is under the watchful eye of Nintendo,” according to the report.

Hey, we’ve already waited more than a quarter century for another Mario movie, so what’s three more years at this point? Here’s your second chance at making movie magic, Nintendo — so power up and reach for those stars.

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