The PlayStation 4 is still going strong, not least thanks to being reinvigorated by the launch of the Slim and Pro variants, along with PlayStation VR expanding the gaming potential of the system. Still, the games industry doesn’t tend to sit still for long, and we’re confident that deep in Sony’s HQ there are engineers quietly working on the PlayStation 5.
Whatever the PS5 ends up being, we can be pretty certain it’s still a good few years away, but why should that stop us rampantly speculating on what the next-gen console might feature? Obviously we’d expect some ramped up specs, but what other features could the PS5 include? Will it be portable like the Nintendo Switch, or feature built in virtual reality? We don’t know anything for sure yet, but we break down the possibilities as best we can right here.
Will there be a PlayStation 5?
With the growth of streaming services like PlayStation Now, many have speculated that physical consoles are a thing of the past. PlayStation Now is a cloud-based gaming service that lets you play PS3 (and soon PS4) games on the PS4 and PC, with all of the actual processing done on Sony’s servers – only the visuals and user input are sent back-and-forth.
Yet we still think there will be a PS5. Not only does the PS4 bring in a huge amount of profit, Sony boss Shuhei Yoshida has been quoted as saying the future of the PlayStation is up to developers.
“If they still feel that we need more machine power – ‘we want to realise this and that and that, but we cannot do it with the PS4’ – there’s a good reason to have the PS5 so developers can create their vision,” said Yoshida.
The PS4 is a powerful console, but unlike gaming PCs it doesn’t benefit from the possibility of regular processor and graphics updates. High-end gaming PCs have outperformed the PS4 for years, and even with the PS4 Pro the gap will only grow until one day we reach the stage where the PS4 is notably inferior to PCs, and then game developers will demand more power.
Plus, with PlayStation Now Sony will be able to keep customers happy by allowing them to continue using their PS4 games on a new PS5 without the worry of building in traditional backwards compatibility.
When is the PS5 release date?
As you’ll read below, we were fairly certain that the PS5 release date was still some time away. However, in a report by the WSJ, Macquarie Capital Securities analyst Damian Thong who correctly predicted the PS4 Slim and PS4 Pro launch dates has said Sony will launch the PlayStation 5 in 2018.
Sony President and CEO Shawn Layden in June 2017 told German site Golem.de that it would “probably be some time” before the reveal of the PS5.
This follows an earlier comment in early 2016 from Sony’s software product development head Scott Rhode, who told MTV: “Very soon we’ll start thinking about what we’ll do next. That’s the culture at Sony. We always have to do something that’s bigger and better than what’s already been done.”
Sony UK boss Fergal Gara added that “It’s probably a sign of the times and how much has changed in seven years, but I think the willingness and the appetite to pick up new technology fast has probably changed quite a bit.” For the next few years, though, he said Sony will be putting its weight behind the PS4. Read next: Best PS4 games
The gaps between PlayStation releases have been getting longer and longer, so fans could indeed have a while to wait for the PS5. There were five years and three months between the original PlayStation and the PS2, then a further six years and eight months before the PS3. The PS4 came almost exactly seven years later, in November 2013, so we should probably expect to wait at least that long for the PS5 – suggesting the earliest likely release would be November 2020.
Games consoles are naturally long-lifecycle products, with customers investing considerable expense in both the platform and its proprietary titles. However, Sony is reportedly working on shorter timeframes between its PlayStation launches.
That’s the thinking of Macquarie Capital Securities analyst Damian Thong, who told the WSJ he thinks we could see a PS5 announcement as early as 2018! He came through with his release date predictions for the PS4 Pro and Slim, so we’ll keep our fingers crossed he is third-time lucky.
Of course, we’ll update this article as soon as more concrete details on the PS5 release date are available.
Also see: Best games consoles
How much will it cost?
Without knowing exactly what’s on offer, it’s impossible to accurately predict how much the PS5 will cost. With the PS2 costing £300, the PS3 £425 and the PS4 £349, we can only assume Sony will stick around the £400 mark. After all, it has other consoles and gaming PCs with which to compete.
What design can we expect?
Concept images of the PS5 have already popped up on the web, including those used to illustrate this article (courtesy of David Hansson). We suspect it will retain the black box, blue light theme, but will be sleeker and more stylish than before.
Streaming service PlayStation Now and digital downloads could be enough to let it do away with discs, so it could even be more compact too.
Read next: How to play PS4 games on PC
What will the PS5 specs be?
As you might expect, very little is known about the PS5’s hardware. Going by AMD’s enthusiasm over the PS4, we can only assume it will remain onboard the Sony ship for the PS5.
As mentioned above, one possible change would be to see the PS5 drop the optical drive, in favour of a focus on digital downloads and the PlayStation Now streaming…