UPDATE: 06-30-2017:  While a 2018 release date for the PlayStation 5 has been predicted in some quarters, it seems increasingly likely that this notion is a red herring. In an interview with German site Golem.de, Sony’s Shawn Layden has given a very strong indication that the PlayStation 5 is unlikely to appear in the near future.

Layden stated that it would “probably be some time” before the PlayStation 5 hits the stores, obviously indicating that the suggestion of a 2018 launch is significantly wide of the mark. In addition, Layden also provided strong support for existing PlayStation 4 owners, addressing the suggestion that Sony could begin to release PlayStation 4 Pro dedicated titles.

PlayStation 5: What To Expect?
Unsplash / Pixabay

“That will never happen! With the Playstation 4 Pro we have for the first time implemented this kind of innovation within the life cycle of a console. The Pro is really only to offer advantages such as 4K resolutions and HMD for players who can and want to use that. Add to this a more stable image rate and larger hard disk space. But [PS4 owners have] no real disadvantages. Each of our games will continue to run on the classic PS4 and possibly slightly better on the Pro,” Layden commented.

This indicates a commitment to the existing PlayStation 4 generation which will probably hold off the release of the PlayStation 5 for quite some time. Indeed, we may not see the next Sony console generation in the current decade, with a late 2020 release window more likely.

New spec rumors

Elsewhere, it has been rumored that Sony will make significant changes to the internal components of its console when the PlayStation 5 emerges. Segment Next suggest that the accelerated processing unit included in recent PlayStation releases will instead be replaced by a discrete graphics processing unit (GPU).

This will ensure significant improvements in graphical performance for the PlayStation 5, although the console will also consume significantly more power than the PlayStation 4 generation. Shuhei Yoshida has already stated that the PlayStation 5 will be particularly developer-driven, as the Japanese corporation intends to keep its advantage over the Microsoft Xbox brand.

“It’s really up to the game creators. If they still feel that we need more machine power — ‘We want to realize this and that and that, but we cannot do [it] with PS4’ — if that’s the case, there’s a good reason to have PS5, so that developers can create their vision. So, we’ll see,” Yoshida commented.

8K PlayStation 5?

The implications regarding the graphical capabilities of this forthcoming console have led some commentators to suggest that the PlayStation 5 may feature 8K resolution technology. This looked completely implausible when the possible release date of the PS5 was mooted as 2018. But by the time that the PlayStation 5 emerges in 2020 or even 2021, 4K resolution should be firmly established as a mainstream technology, and 8K could instead be seen as the next generation offering.

Sony would certainly be in a position to embrace 8K technology if the release of the PlayStation 5 is four years away, and it could be that the next console release from the Japanese company indeed delivers 8K gaming. At the very least, we should see a PlayStation 5 console that provides 4K gaming at 60 frames per second.

Other features

It is also believed that Sony will ensure that the PlayStation 5 is backwards compatible from day one, while it is widely anticipated that the corporation will also provide wirelessly charging for controllers even while they are being used. Perhaps the PlayStation 5 could also be significantly mobile.

Improved virtual reality functionality has also been anticipated in some quarters, after the PlayStation VR headset made a more than decent debut in the PlayStation 4 generation. Tech Radar reports that enhanced virtual reality capabilities will be delivered by a new wireless VR headset when the PlayStation 5 generation emerges.

Price tag

Finally, an affordable price tag will be essential for the PlayStation 5 if the console is to reach a mass-market audience. This should see the console launch at around the $500 price point that Microsoft has already set for the forthcoming Xbox Project Scorpio. Nonetheless, it seems that there is a lots of water to pass under the bridge before we see the PlayStation 5 confirmed by Sony.

UPDATE: 06-03-2017:  The PlayStation 5 from Sony will be hotly anticipated, yet no professional gambler would stake money on when it will arrive. There is no doubt that the console marketplace is becoming ever more complex, with the tried and tested formula of the past no longer prominent in the present. The days of a console having a comfortable shelf life of ten years are over, and all major manufacturers are almost being forced to think on their feet in order to respond to this reality.

Sony PlayStation 5
Image Source: PlayStation 5.com

PlayStation 3 defunct

Nonetheless, news from Japan suggests that the release of the PlayStation 5 may be sooner than many anticipated. The company has recently announced the cancellation of the production of the PlayStation 3 in Japan. This was somewhat expected, after all the PlayStation 3 was released back in 2006 and is now largely obsolete as a machine for new consumers. But this could be big news for the PS5.

Analysts are already suggesting that the cancellation of the PlayStation 3 makes space for the release of the next-generation PlayStation 5. This may be wishful thinking, but at any given time Sony usually has two separate console generations on the go. While gamers can purchase both the PlayStation 4 and a PlayStation 4 Pro, these do not represent two separate generations, and thus the Japanese corporation may be readying the PlayStation 5 behind the scenes.

Scorpio competition

While the PlayStation 4 has performed pretty well in the marketplace for Sony, the climate of the console niche is about to be significantly altered by the release of the Xbox Project Scorpio. This next-generation console from Microsoft will immediately become the most powerful machine available, based on the specs that the company has already released into the public domain.

Although this does not mean that the device will become an automatic success, it does pose problems for Sony. One of the major reasons that the PlayStation 4 has outperformed the Microsoft Xbox One is that it was a more powerful games machine from day one, despite Microsoft’s protestations to the contrary.

Thus, Sony will not be keen on the idea of Microsoft possessing the most powerful machine on the market, and in many ways the PlayStation 5 is a natural reaction to the Scorpio. However, the Japanese manufacturer must also be careful about alienating its existing user base, particularly as the PlayStation 4 Pro was only released recently, accompanied by boasts from Sony that it was very much a gaming powerhouse.

PlayStation 5 uncertainty

Additionally, comments made by the Sony hierarchy indicate that the existence of the PlayStation 5 is far from certain. In a recent interview with Tech Radar, President Shuhei Yoshida stated that the release

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