Sony’s PS5 is so far away that it’s not even a blip on most people’s radar. However, for those of you eager to know what’s going on with the PlayStation 5, it appears there are some murmurings on the horizon. Interest around Sony’s next PlayStation console has been bubbling since the launch of the PS4 but, with the subsequent announcement and release of the PS4 Pro, interest around the PlayStation 5 has seemingly dropped off.
That hasn’t stopped analysts and experts trying to work out when Sony will pull the trigger on a fifth-generation PlayStation though. Macquarie Capital Securities analyst Damian Thong predicts Sony will launch the PS5 in 2018, speaking to The Wall Street Journal he sees Sony releasing the new device in the second half of the year.
Thong was correct with both the PS4 Slim and PS4 Pro announcements, but it’s worth noting that he didn’t predict the arrival of the original PS4. A PS5 wouldn’t simply be a hardware revision like the previous consoles, where contacts at manufacturing plants would be able to leak information well before release. If a PlayStation 5 was in the works, it’d still be very much in the technical stages now.
PS5’s biggest competition
We do know that a PS5 is coming, that much has been confirmed by Sony’s Shawn Layden in an interview with German site Golem.de. But Layden didn’t put a date on it beyond saying that the PlayStation 5 “is coming” but it’ll “probably be some time” before it’s released.
Serial analyst Michael Pachter of Wedbush Securities – infamous for his generally incorrect predictions – believes that Sony won’t release a PlayStation 5 console until 2019.
“My expectation is that it’s not coming out in 2018,” he said in an interview with GamingBolt. “[It’s] a 2019 or 2020 [release], but probably 2019. Sony is probably timing it better because they are going to bring out a 4K capable device when the 4K TV market reaches 50% in the USA and 35% in the rest of the world.”
Personally, I can’t see either case being true. I may be no analyst, but I’ve been paying attention to the console market for years. Murmurings generally do indicate things happening in the background, but for Sony to release a new device so soon after the PS4 Pro is somewhat suspect.
The original PS4 launched in 2013, three years later the PS4 Pro arrives. 2019 would be the absolute earliest for a new generation of hardware to arrive, but both Microsoft and Sony have continually said they see this generation as the longest one yet – both the PS3 and Xbox 360 sat in the market, with no hardware revisions, for six to seven years before being replaced. This would mean a 2019 release would come at just the right time, and it’s more likely a 2020 launch date would fit the cycle Sony wants to promote for this generation.
Another issue is around 4K technologies. Not enough consumers have adopted 4K for Sony to seriously consider it. Microsoft may be going in all guns blazing with the over-powerful Xbox One X, but the PS4 Pro focuses on enhanced 1080p gameplay with 4K capabilities. A PS5 would not only focus on making 4K the norm, but it’d also have to be ready for what comes next – and Gran Turismo developer Polyphony Digital has claimed its next Gran Turismo game for PS5 is 8K ready, suggesting Sony’s new machine will be capable of outputting as such impossibly high resolutions. Those aren’t 2018 components.
PS5 release date: When can you expect the PlayStation 5?
As Sony hasn’t confirmed anything beyond the PlayStation 5 being in development, and a promise that it’ll “probably be some time” before it comes to market, your guess is as good as mine. It’s unlikely to arrive before 2019 and is most likely to arrive for holiday season 2020.
The PS4 is also enjoying abundant sales. There have now been over 50 million PS4 units sold around the world since launch and the new PS4 Pro is enjoying healthy sales despite its limited audience. To cannibalise sales by releasing a new console soon would be a foolish move and likely piss off the PlayStation fans Sony won back after the mess that was the PS3.
PS5 specs: What will the PlayStation 5 be capable of?
Whatever’s in the PS5, Sony’s new machine will have to be a beast. Not only is it going to beat the PS4 Pro, it’ll also have to usurp Microsoft’s incredible Xbox One X as the most powerful console ever created. This isn’t simply showboating, to become a next-generation console, Sony really has to up the ante with the PlayStation 5.
It’s likely Sony will want to ensure parity with the PS4 and PS4 Pro catalogue of games, but it’ll also need to provide more power than ever before. This means it could well move away from an AMD-based processor and adopt Nvidia’s technology – which the Nintendo Switch has proven works as a console chip replacement. The downside to such a move is the lack of compatibility with the AMD-based PS4 and PS4 Pro.
To best the Xbox One X’s 6 TeraFLOP capabilities, Sony will need to pack in more power than an eight-core 2.3GHz CPU, 12GB GDDR5 RAM, and a GPU with more than 40 compute units at 1172MHz. The Xbox One X is already more than twice, if not three times as powerful as the PS4 – a PS5 has to be even better than that. If this is the bar set by Microsoft in 2017, it’s unlikely Sony could come close to this (at an affordable price) before 2019.
One clue towards just how powerful the PS5 could be comes from Polyphony Digital head, and Gran Turismo creator Kazunori Yamauchi. Speaking to Finder, he claims that GT Sport is over specced to support 8K textures so it’ll run on the PlayStation 5 if such an eventuality comes to pass.
PS5 games: What games can we expect alongside the PlayStation 5?
Who knows what the state of Sony’s game library will be come the arrival of the PS5, but expect all the heavy-hitters from Sony’s catalogue to make their way to the PlayStation 5.
Imagine this, but in 8K – Oooooh…
This means there’s probably going to be a big-budget Naughty Dog game, hopefully not the fifth Uncharted game or a fourth The Last of Us. Perhaps we’ll be waiting years for a spiritual sequel to The Last Guardian from the likes of Fumito Ueda, or maybe Sony will surprise us with an actual, on-time release of a new Gran Turismo game.
It’s unlikely Killzone is coming back anytime soon after Killzone: Shadow Fall had a lukewarm reception, but a Horizon: Zero Dawn sequel would be most welcome. Regardless of what happens, it’s likely Sony will have its big guns ready for PlayStation 5’s launch window, and will surely plan to bolster its catalogue with plenty of PlayStation VR titles too.
PS5 and PlayStation VR: Will PlayStation VR work with the PlayStation 5?
Despite the VR naysayers, PlayStation VR has outstripped all of Sony’s expectations for the hardware. Sony’s still playing catch up on producing hardware to meet demand and its games library is steadily growing at the same time. For Sony to ditch PlayStation VR for the PS5 would be a completely foolish move.
Chances are, though, Sony will replace PlayStation VR with a new piece of hardware come the launch of the PS5. I imagine that, out of not wishing to alienate its users, the original PlayStation VR will be compatible with the PS5 out of the box, but you can opt for a new, more powerful PlayStation 5-exclusive VR headset too.
Sony will not remove VR functionality with the PS5 – going backwards on such a move when the PS4 had enough power to manage it would be utterly foolish. Microsoft hasn’t mentioned the Xbox One X’s VR capabilities since its unveiling as Project Scorpio, but if Microsoft’s console can handle VR, so will Sony’s latest and greatest.