When the PS4 was released in 2013 it changed the face of console gaming forever. The PS4 ushered in a new generation of gaming, with hardware specs that rivaled many PC’s and applications that took consoles beyond simple gaming machines. Today, the PS4 is the most successful gaming console in history, beating out Microsoft and the Xbox One by a considerable margin.
Despite the massive success of the PS4 and the current generation of console gaming, gamers are already turning their attention to the next console: The PS5. The gaming community at large has been awaiting the announcement of the PS5 for quite some time (Some may have been waiting since the release of the PS4). With Microsoft set to release the Xbox One X, it makes sense that Sony would want to make the necessary upgrades to remain the console of choice.
According to PlayStation’s Shawn Layden, the PlayStation 5 is an absolutely certainty, and will be released within the next couple of years. Layden didn’t confirm a timeline for the release but numerous analysts have estimated that the PS5 will be released anywhere from 2018 to 2019. This is surprising given Sony’s complete silence on the development of a new console.
Regardless of Sony’s radio silence, Layden is not the only one to suggest that a new console is on its way. Analysts like Macquarie Capital Securities’ Damian Thong speculating on the PS5’s release. Thong has a track record of success with his predictions, successfully foreseeing the release of both the PS4 Pro and Slim, and suggests that the PS5 will hit shelves in 2018.
For many, a 2018 release is the best possible outcome, but Thong’s prediction should be treated with skepticism. He successfully predicted the PS4 and the Slim, which were reworks of the PS4, but am entirely new console would be something else completely. A new console is likely to take much more time to release, especially when Sony hasn’t even begun promotion.
Wedbush securities analyst Michael Pachter suggests that the PS5 will be launched at some point in 2019. Pachter’s rationale behind the timeline centers on 4K resolution which is increasingly becoming the next generations HD. Pachter speculates that Sony are waiting until 4K tvs are much more widely used in consumer households.
Pachter suggests that “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”. A 4K compatible console would be an absolute game changer, so it’s hard not to get a little excited, but given the price of 4K TV’s its hard to tell how fast the market will grow.
Does Sony Really Need a New Console?
Despite all the reasons to predict a new release it’s important to recognize that Sony hasn’t said anything about the PlayStation 5 so far. Excited as we may get about a new release, the PS4 isn’t outdated yet. The PS4’s performance is exceptional, and Sony intends to release the PS4 Pro to bolster this in future. As Sony pools money into the PS4 pro upgrades to the standard PS4’s hardware (Adding HDR and 4K), it seems unlikely they need to invest in an entirely new console.
In addition, the PS4 is available with untapped technologies like Virtual Reality, and it seems just as likely that Sony is waiting to see this technology develop in the next few years before creating a console to cater to that market. Experts are free to speculate but this means little without an official announcement. At this stage expert opinions are little more than rumormongering.
It remains to be seen whether subsequent consoles are merely the same product with newer hardware. The era of completely new consoles and the need for backwards compatibility could be behind us. The PS4 is currently the best-selling console of all time, so Sony may decide to stick with that model rather than reinvent an entirely new console.
Ultimately, the PS4’s success raises questions about whether we need a follow up in the form of a PS5 anytime soon. Officially, Sony remains quiet about the prospect of a new console, and whilst we watch with interest to see what the future has in store, it is unlikely that a release is going to be announced anytime soon. We can only hope that the release of the Xbox One X will spring Sony to make an announcement, but we doubt that Microsft's console will attract any mass appeal, so we won’t hold our breath. On the bright side, the PS4 continues to change the gaming world.