Due to the overwhelming success of the PlayStation 4, we can all assume that a PlayStation 5 will one day be released. It's a little bit harder to say, however, just when that release date will be. There are a few factors that go into the decision making process when picking the right time to drop a new console, and by looking at those and using history as a guide, we can at the very least predict when the PS5 will inevitably release.
Time Between Past Consoles
One way to figure out when the PS5 will drop is to look at how long it took previous PlayStation consoles to be released. The PS1 came out in December 1994; the PS2 wasn't released until March 2000 (five years). The PS3 dropped six years later in 2006, while the PS4 came out in November 2013 (seven years). Judging by the trend of 5, 6 and 7 year respective release gaps, we can either assume that the PS5 will drop 8 years after the PS4 (2021), or we could take the average of those numbers (6), predicting that the PS5 release will be in 2019.
Either way, a safe assumption (based on history) is that the PS5 will release sometime between 2019 and 2021.
What Influences Release Gaps?
Of course, Sony wouldn't release a console simply based on the fact that it's been eight years since the last one came out. So what influences that number? There are a few major factors:
Previous console sales
If the PS4 is still selling like hot cakes, why would Sony introduce a new console into the market and compete with itself? On the flip side, if PS4 sales are going down, why wouldn't they want to introduce a new console into the market to boost their revenue? After considering both of those points, though, keep in mind that there's a hard exception to the rule:
When the PS3 was released, the PS2 was still selling exceptionally well. So why make a PS3? Simple: Sony wasn't trying to compete with themselves, they were trying to compete with Microsoft. If the Xbox 360 wasn't developed when it was, Sony probably would have been fine riding the coat tails of the PS2 for just a bit longer. However, there's an exception to this rule, too:
If people are ready for something new and willing to pay for it, Sony will be willing to make it. This of course depends on:
If Sony physically can't make the PlayStation 5 bigger and better than its predecessor, they are sort of stuck. People expect new consoles to be significantly more powerful and full of new/innovative features. If technology isn't yet capable of this, Sony would be more likely to make a PlayStation 4.5. If the tech is there, though, and if all the other boxes on this list are checked, you can expect a PS5 to be rolling out soon.
As we can see, our initial window of 2019-2021 could definitely be influenced by other factors. The best way to predict the release into the future is to keep an eye on the market. If PS4 sales stay strong, expect PS5 in 2021 or later.... if an Xbox Two is slated for release in 2019, expect the PS5 to come out that year as well, etc.