In terms of console lifespans, we’re in a rather interesting place. The PlayStation 4 turned three this past November. The PlayStation 4 Pro launched last September. The Wii U is dead. The Switch has just arrived. The Xbox One also just turned three and will be getting a Project Scorpio hardware revision in 2017. A lot is happening. You’d think we’d be entering a phase where there would be a year or two of peace and stability, but people have to go and get other people stirred up.
What’s going on this time? Glad you asked. Damian Thong, a Macquarie Research Analyst, made a prediction about Sony’s future. He believes Sony will release a PlayStation 5 before 2018. More specifically, he thinks it will arrive in the second half of the year. People are lending credence to this since he predicted the PlayStation 4 Slim and PlayStation 4 Pro models. While this is a possibility, there are many reasons why the timing doesn’t seem right.
Looking back at Sony’s history is a good start. The PlayStation 4 launched in November 2013, seven years after the PlayStation 3. The PlayStation 3 launched in November 2006, six years after the PlayStation 2. The PlayStation 2 launched in October 2000, five years after the PlayStation. If a PlayStation 5 were to come out around November 2018, that would be a five year gap. PlayStation console lifespans have only increased since the original system, getting larger each year. If we look at the system’s history, a 2019 or 2020 release is far more plausible.
More importantly, there is the PlayStation 4 Pro to consider. This is the first time Sony has had a console generation where it released a hardware revision. This isn’t like the PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, or PlayStation 4 Slim models. This is an actual better version of the existing system. It’s an incremental upgrade that isn’t even a year old. If this PlayStation 5 did launch in 2018, it would be around the PlayStation 4 Pro’s second birthday. That would mean people would have spent $400 on a system they’d need to replace after only two years. It would cause too much ill will for Sony. I mean sure, companies pull the rug out from under early adopters of new technologies all the time. But this would be too much.
There’s also the matter of the games. The PlayStation 4 Pro doesn’t really have a huge number of games with exclusive features and capabilities. The library of titles that take advantage of its 4K possibilities is growing every day. Sony still has a lot to work with and prove with the incremental upgrade. It has to show people that there was a good reason for picking up that model. More time and effort needs to be invested there before moving on to the next big system.
The ninth generation of consoles is on the horizon. The Switch is part of it. You can’t stop progress. I think it’s just a little to early to be saying the PlayStation 5 will possibly launch in 2018. There’s still too much to do with the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 Pro. If Sony rushes things in an age where a system can cost $300 to $400, it is going to develop a lot of ill will. People won’t be happy if they learn a console they bought only two years ago is suddenly on the verge of becoming obsolete.
Image Credit: David Hansson | PS5PlayStation5.com