s we pass the fifth anniversary of our beloved PlayStation 4, there are many questions to be answered. When will the PlayStation 5 be announced? What will this new, exciting console look like? Which current-gen design trends will the hypothetical PS5 embrace, and which ones will it discard? Most importantly, what are the games going to look like?
Chances are many of these questions will be answered summarily; Sony says the console won’t be released until 2021, but some analysts say we’ll be able to get our hands on it as early as Christmas 2019. Many details surrounding the PS5 are still wild speculation, since the only information we know for sure is that Sony is definitely working on it. Stay tuned for more info about that particular console.
Details about the PS5 might be scant, but that doesn’t stop us making educated guesses about it – and, while we do, we can look even further forward to the PlayStation 6, and what kind of features it might have. With that in mind, we thought it would be fun to jump over a console generation and think about what the future has in store for Sony’s next-but-one home console endeavour.
First up, the release date. Every console generation usually lasts around six to seven years – PS2 in 2000, PS3 in 2007, PS4 in 2013, et cetera – so it’s safe to assume that the PS5 will come out some time around 2019-2020. With that in mind, the PlayStation 6’s release date is likely to be some time around 2026-2027, and since these consoles usually like to take advantage of the Christmas cash boom, we’re probably looking at November 2027 as a tentative release spot for the PS6.
The most important thing many people point to as a reason to buy next-gen consoles is the graphics capability of the new machine. NVIDIA’s new deep learning super-sampling and ray tracing technologies are exciting developments for PC gamers, so if Sony looks into NVIDIA tech for the PS6 then expect to see some form of these new rendering techniques present and correct in the console. Alternately, AMD plans to develop its own answer to this tech, so even if Sony continues their partnership with AMD after the PS4, we can expect advanced graphics technology in the PS6.
Sony has left their hardware’s controller design largely alone since the advent of the DualShock, with the PS2 and PS3’s controllers strongly resembling their PS1 counterparts. The DualShock 4 innovated by adding a touch-sensitive pad, but the number of games to take full advantage of that addition is quite small. With that in mind, it’s not unreasonable to expect the PS5 to either revert to a more conventional controller design or go all-out and create something entirely new; without knowing what the PS5’s controller will look like, it’s hard to predict the PS6’s, but we can say with reasonable certainty that it will be wireless and that it will likely charge with the USB-C standard (which is replacing Micro USB).
We know that Microsoft is building a new Xbox One which won’t use discs, instead relying entirely on downloads from its store. As such, it’s a very safe bet that the PS6, when it eventually arrives, either won’t use discs at all or will use them solely to authenticate the user’s ownership of the game. Hard drive sizes are likely to increase to accommodate this change, too; as the amount of data in games increases, expect the PS6 to come with a 5 or even 10TB drive to accommodate.
Ever since the days of the original Game Boy, it’s been standard practice to iterate on consoles, with Nintendo creating different versions of that console to appease different markets. Sony did this too with the PS4; the newer slimline version replaces the original 2013 model, while the PS4 Pro adds 4K and HDR support as well as being a more powerful machine with better graphics capability.
As such, it’s not unreasonable to expect Sony to do the same with the PlayStation 6. The first model will likely be well-equipped to appease early adopters, but Sony will watch what’s happening in the world of gaming at that time and adapt their console accordingly. PC gaming continues to be a potential thorn in the side of modern consoles, so expect Sony to keep costs down as a response to the often exorbitant asking prices of most modern gaming PCs.
By 2027, it’s likely that VR tech will have reached a level of commercial availability it currently doesn’t enjoy, so this aspect will probably be baked pretty hard into the PS6. Right now, the PlayStation VR is sitting on a cool 3 million units sold, so it’s a popular piece of tech, but there are still many who are hesitant to grab one due to the tech’s unproven status and the motion sickness issue. By the time of the PS6’s release, these issues will likely have been solved, so expect VR to figure heavily in Sony’s business plan.
When all is said and done, it’s impossible to fully predict what the PS6 will look like – after all, the PS5 is still a distant speck on the horizon. There may not even be a PS6, with Sony choosing instead to update the PS5 in a modular way much like PC gamers do. Right now, it’s a safe bet that the hardware will exist, but exactly what form it will take is anyone’s guess.