PS5 release date rumours: When will Sony launch its next console?

Back in May, Sony Interactive CEO John Kodera made a comment that the PS4 was entering the end of its life-cycle. Thoughts naturally pivoted towards a new console, presumably called the PS5.  

Kodera hinted that the PS5 would be released in 2021, contradicting analyst reports that previously suggested the PS5 would be released in late 2019 or 2020. Talking to analysts and investors at Sony’s investor relations day, he explained thatthe period until March 2021 would be when PlayStation […] grows further.”

Sounds like a clue, right? So Sony has confirmed its working on a next-generation PlayStation console, but is keeping its lips sealed on the particulars. Whether the PS5 will arrive in 2021, or as soon as 2019 – if an investigation from T3 is to be believed – remains to be seen. For now, we’ve gathered up the latest reports and rumours. Read on, dear player. Read on.  

PS5: Everything you need to know about the PlayStation 5

PS5 release date: When can you expect the PlayStation 5?

As Sony hasn’t confirmed anything beyond the PlayStation 5 being in development, and a promise that it’ll “probably be some time” before it comes to market, your guess is as good as mine. It’s unlikely to arrive before 2019 and is most likely to arrive for holiday season 2021 – or perhaps 2020.

Financially, there may not be much of a rush. The PS4 is still enjoying abundant sales. There have now been over 50 million PS4 units sold around the world since launch and the new PS4 Pro is enjoying healthy sales despite its limited audience. To cannibalise sales by releasing a new console soon could be a foolish move.

PS5: Is Sony working on a PlayStation 5?

We do know that a PS5 is coming, that much has been confirmed by Sony’s Shawn Layden in an interview with German site Golem.de. But Layden didn’t put a date on it beyond saying that the PlayStation 5 “is coming” but it’ll “probably be some time” before it’s released.

The original PS4 launched in 2013, three years later the PS4 Pro arrives. 2019 would be the absolute earliest for a new generation of hardware to arrive, but both Microsoft and Sony have continually said they see this generation as the longest one yet – both the PS3 and Xbox 360 sat in the market, with no hardware revisions, for six to seven years before being replaced. This would mean a 2019 release would come at just the right time, and it’s more likely a 2020 launch date would fit the cycle Sony wants to promote for this generation.

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Another issue is around 4K technologies. Not enough consumers have adopted 4K for Sony to seriously consider it. Microsoft may be going in all guns blazing with the over-powerful Xbox One X, but the PS4 Pro focuses on enhanced 1080p gameplay with 4K capabilities. A PS5 would not only focus on making 4K the norm, but it’d also have to be ready for what comes next – and Gran Turismo developer Polyphony Digital has claimed its next Gran Turismo game for PS5 is 8K ready, suggesting Sony’s new machine may have to be prepared to deal with impossibly high resolutions. 

PS5 specs: What will the PlayStation 5 be capable of?

Whatever is inside the PS5, Sony’s new machine will have to be a beast. Not only is it going to beat the PS4 Pro, it’ll also have to usurp Microsoft’s Xbox One X as the most powerful console. This isn’t simply showboating, to become a next-generation console, Sony really has to up the ante with the PlayStation 5.

It’s likely Sony will want to ensure parity with the PS4 and PS4 Pro catalogue of games, but it’ll also need to provide more power than ever before. This means it could well move away from an AMD-based processor and adopt Nvidia’s technology – which the Nintendo Switch has proven works as a console chip replacement. The downside to such a move is the lack of compatibility with the AMD-based PS4 and PS4 Pro.

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To best the Xbox One X’s 6 TeraFLOP capabilities, Sony will need to pack in more power than an eight-core 2.3GHz CPU, 12GB GDDR5 RAM, and a GPU with more than 40 compute units at 1172MHz. The Xbox One X is already more than twice, if not three times as powerful as the PS4 – a PS5 has to be even better than that. If this is the bar set by Microsoft in 2017, it’s unlikely Sony could come close to this (at an affordable price) before 2019.

PS5 price: How much will the PlayStation 5 cost?

Trying to pick apart just how much Sony might charge for a console is a tricky one as the Japanese company has a history of doing whatever it pleases.

Going by the smart pricing of the PS4 and PS4 Pro at £350 on launch, I’d like to say Sony should stick to the same model with the PlayStation 5. However, with Microsoft’s Xbox One X coming into the market at an eye-watering £450, Sony may look to see just how successful Microsoft’s latest launch is before revising its pricing structure. If Sony plans to release the PlayStation 5 before Microsoft follows up the One X with a new console, then we could well see Sony slotting its next-generation console at the top of its PlayStation family tree as an ultra-premium device with a price-point to match.

PS5 games: What games can we expect alongside the PlayStation 5?

Who knows what the state of Sony’s game library will come the arrival of the PS5, but expect all the heavy-hitters from Sony’s catalogue to make their way to the PlayStation 5.

Imagine this, but in 8K

This means there’s probably going to be a big-budget Naughty Dog game, hopefully not the fifth Uncharted game or a fourth The Last of Us. Perhaps we’ll be waiting years for a spiritual sequel to The Last Guardian from the likes of Fumito Ueda, or maybe Sony will surprise us with an actual, on-time release of a new Gran Turismo game.

It’s unlikely Killzone is coming back anytime soon after Killzone: Shadow Fall had a lukewarm reception, but a Horizon: Zero Dawn sequel would be most welcome. Regardless of what happens, it’s likely Sony will have its big guns ready for PlayStation 5’s launch window, and will surely plan to bolster its catalogue with plenty of PlayStation VR titles too.

PS5 and PlayStation VR: Will PlayStation VR work with the PlayStation 5?

Despite the VR naysayers, PlayStation VR has outstripped all of Sony’s expectations for the hardware. Sony’s still playing catch up on producing hardware to meet demand and its games library is steadily growing at the same time. For Sony to ditch PlayStation VR for the PS5 would be a completely foolish move.

Chances are, though, Sony will replace PlayStation VR with a new piece of hardware come the launch of the PS5. I imagine that, out of not wishing to alienate its users, the original PlayStation VR will be compatible with the PS5 out of the box, but you can opt for a new, more powerful PlayStation 5-exclusive VR headset too.

Sony will not remove VR functionality with the PS5 – going backwards on such a move when the PS4 had enough power to manage it would be utterly foolish. Microsoft hasn’t mentioned the Xbox One X’s VR capabilities since its unveiling as Project Scorpio, but if Microsoft’s console can handle VR, so will Sony’s latest and greatest.

PS5: Will the PS5 be a handheld hybrid like the Nintendo Switch?

It looks like Sony could be looking to Nintendo for inspiration on what, exactly, the PS5 will actually be.

Inspired by Nintendo’s stratospheric success with the Nintendo Switch – which is now the fastest-selling console in US history – Sony is paying attention to what Nintendo is doing. Speaking with the English version of Japan’s Nikkei paper, Sony’s head of corporate planning Kazuhiko Takeda revealed the company “can’t ignore” the Nintendo Switch.

Sony is definitely in a strong position at the moment, with the PS4 and PS4 Pro sitting at the top of the pile for consoles and the rest of Sony’s business seemingly going well. But to keep that growth going, it needs to look for new avenues and the success of the Switch shows that people definitely want high-quality portable play.

So what does this mean for the PS5? At the moment, not an awful lot. I can’t see Sony venturing back into the handheld market after both its PSP and PS Vita failed to gain much traction outside of Japan. Interestingly, though, in the same interview Takeda explained that Sony plans to “get more customers paying continuously for content” offering up “paid subscription services” as an avenue to explore further.

This statement could point to a future where the PS5 is primarily supplied with content via Sony’s PlayStaion Now service subscriptions, rather than simply giving players costly games with one-time purchases.

PS5: Have studios already started work on games for the PS5?

Word on a PS5 release date is likely still out of reach, but with new information alluded to by game studios at this year’s GDC, development for the next-generation console may already be underway.

Earlier this month, industry insider, Marcus Sellars, posted that PS5 dev kits had been sent out to third-party game studios at the start of 2018. Those details were corroborated to us by a number of developers at GDC 2018, so we’re pretty certain that studios now have their hands on a PS5 prototype. 

The more exciting news alluded to at GDC, however, is that game studios may already be working on titles for the next generation of game development. One of these studios being Square Enix, who recently announced that it has launched a brand-new game studio, named Luminous Productions. As part of a year roundup with 4gamer (via Siliconera), Square Enix’s Hajime Tabata, who is helming the studio, said that his team will “earnestly begin development in anticipation of the next generation.”

Then there’s Epic Games, who unveiled at GDC new capture technology to render the most life-like characters we’ve ever seen. Kim Libreri, Epic’s CTO, told GamesIndustry.biz that we’ll “see hardware that can support these kinds of capabilities pretty shortly.”

That allusion to hardware support “pretty shortly”, in combination with Tabata’s own comments, sounds like many studios are gearing up to ready games for the next generation of tech on the PS5.

 From what we can tell, it’s looking like Sony wants to release a next generation console before Microsoft makes its move. Many are expecting to hear word of the PS5 this year, with it potentially being unveiled in late 2019 or early 2020.

Do take this all with a pinch of salt, as none of it has been confirmed by game studios or Sony itself. We’re just listening to whispers through the grapevine, but they are indeed promising.

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