The current generation of consoles has been full of twists and turns, there’s no doubt about that. From the controversial launch of the Xbox One to the unheard-of mid-generation release of beefed-up consoles meant to take on 4K gaming, the train just didn’t seem to slow down.
Usually, a single generation of consoles sticks for about 6-7 years. The PlayStation 3 launched in 2006 and was superseded by the PlayStation 4 in 2013. If Sony continues to keep their usual pace, then the PlayStation 5 might be just around the corner!
PlayStation 5 Release Date
A popular estimate among fans and industry analysts alike is that we will see PlayStation 5 released in 2020, but it is not impossible that the launch might actually take place as early as 2019. However, there are two key factors which lean in the favor of a later release date:
- The PlayStation 4 is still going strong. Looking at the sales figures, Sony’s console is outselling the main competitor (Xbox One) by over 50% this time around, even though the two tech giants were pretty much tied on the console front during the previous generation.
- There are some big exclusive on the way to the PlayStation 4. Even though the PS4 is almost five years old, several big titles are in the works, most of which are bound to release in 2019: Death Stranding, The Last of Us Part 2, Days Gone, along with several others.
If you’re particularly interested in Death Stranding, we have an article for it right here, where we keep you updated with rumors, trailers and, of course, the release date.
And seeing as the PlayStation 4 Pro appears more than capable of handling 4K gaming for now (even though it has to resort to upscaling to match that resolution), there is no need for Sony to rush another 4K-capable console just yet – especially considering how well the PS4 is doing and how many exclusives it has on the way.
So, with all that said, the PS5 launch will most likely take place sometime in 2020, but 2019 remains a possibility nonetheless. Note that the PS5 is also referred to as PlayStation 4.5.
PlayStation 5 Specifications
Seeing as Sony still hasn’t officially announced anything regarding the PlayStation 5, we can only speculate as to what the upcoming console’s hardware specs will look like.
Now, Sony has collaborated closely with AMD when it comes to the PlayStation 4, incorporating both an AMD processor and an AMD graphics card into the console. There is no reason for this to change, especially considering how great AMD’s Ryzen CPUs are and how the company is entirely capable of making a true 4K-ready GPU, not even considering the upcoming (and highly promising) Navi architecture.
In the memory department, we can expect faster RAM, as well as greater overall capacity, most likely 12-16GB of GDDR6 memory. It is unlikely that we will see HBM2 implemented this time around, mainly due to how expensive it is.
As for storage, it is safe to say that a 1TB hard drive would be a bare minimum, considering that the Pro didn’t even offer a 500GB option whereas the previous two versions of the PS4 did. Furthermore, storage will most definitely remain HDD-based, seeing as SSDs are still rather pricey and their superior performance offers limited benefits for a console.
In the end, it’s all about value, so while the PlayStation 5 might not look that impressive on paper when it rolls about, we’re sure that the software optimization will be on point, just as it was in the past.
PlayStation 5 Performance
Considering the current state of both the gaming and the TV industries, the PlayStation 5 should definitely be able to handle native 4K. However, this still won’t be an easy goal to achieve.
Cost-effectiveness is absolutely vital in a console, which is why 30 FPS is usually the target performance. True enough, the PlayStation 4 Pro can run many games in a near-4K resolution at 30 frames per second, but it is far from the perfect 4K gaming machine.
Needless to say, releasing a console that doesn’t fully support 4K gaming at a time when 4K TVs will inevitably dominate the market would be counter-intuitive, to say the least. But considering how much performance they have managed to squeeze out of the PS4 Pro, we can be sure that Sony will manage to offer a satisfying 4K experience, even if it isn’t native 4K with the more demanding titles.
PlayStation 5 Backwards Compatibility
There is no way to put it mildly: Sony’s stand on backwards compatibility has been downright infuriating.
Let’s have a quick look back: the original PlayStation 3 supported most PlayStation 2 games, but Sony eventually removed this feature from the later versions under the excuse that “people don’t buy PS2 games as much as they buy PS3 games”.
When the PlayStation 4 rolled around, it didn’t come across as too big of a surprise that there was no backwards compatibility in sight. Once again, the company essentially claimed that they knew better than their consumers by declaring that backwards compatibility is something that is “much requested, but not actually used much”.
So, will Sony’s opinion on the matter change with the PS5? We simply don’t know. However, what we do know is that Microsoft is offering advanced backwards compatibility on the Xbox One, something that they definitely won’t change in the next Xbox. This could potentially spell trouble for Sony, as such a feature could easily become a major selling point if the next Microsoft console fares better at launch than its predecessor did.
For now, Sony only offers users the ability to play PlayStation 3 games on a PlayStation 4 via their PlayStation Now game streaming service. This is a subscription-based service that costs $20 per month, $45 per three months, and $100 per year. Obviously, the main issue here that most users have with this approach is that they are required to pay extra in order to play games that they had already bought. Furthermore, the fact that PS now requires a stable internet connection in order to work doesn’t help the matter.
So, will Sony’s stance change in this regard? We sure hope it will, but they hardly have any incentive to do so unless Microsoft offers some stronger competition.
Will the PlayStation 5 Have a Disc Drive?
There is no denying that discs are becoming obsolete. After all, online stores are more convenient and generally tend to offer better deals on games than traditional stores do. Because of this, there have been talks of the possibility that the next generation of consoles may actually get rid of the disc drive entirely.
Needless to say, Blu-Ray disc drives are not cheap, and neither are Blu-Ray discs themselves. Therefore, Sony just might scrap the drive completely in favor of a cloud-oriented, disc-free future. True, there are still those who would not like to see this functionality gone from their console, but as Apple got rid of the headphone jack, so will Sony and Microsoft have to let go of aging technologies and turn to the future.
In the end, the declining popularity of physical copies, along with the ever-increasing Internet speeds and the slow rise of game streaming services, all hint at the possibility that the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One may have been the final generation of consoles to incorporate disc drives.
But of course, there have been no official statements as of yet, and who knows – maybe Sony will keep the Blu-Ray drive just to avoid giving Microsoft a weakness to exploit. All in all, it remains to be seen.
The Final Word
And there you have it, everything that we know about the upcoming Sony PlayStation 5 so far. Granted, we have very little to go on for now, so most of this is just educated speculation. However, we will keep this article updated as new info comes out, so don’t forget to check back every once in a while!