The PlayStation 4 has been selling incredibly well. In fact, Sony is selling about twice as many PS4 models as Microsoft is selling XBOX models – although that could change this fall with the XBOX One X. Still, Sony is enjoying being the number one console this generation. That’s why so many people are perplexed when rumors of a 2018 Sony PlayStation 5 launch date keep popping up. So, what do we believe? Let’s step back and take a look at the situation.
The PS4 will be coming up on its fourth birthday this fall. If the Sony PlayStation 5 launch date were to fall sometime in fall of 2018, that would put 5 years in between generations. That might be a little short for a console generation. For example, the PS3 was launched in 2006 which made it 7 years before we got the PS4. Some analysts believe that technology is moving so fast that 5 years might be the new norm for a console generation. However, it’s not like we’re stuck with the same PS4 model that came out in 2013. Since that launch there has been a PS4 Slim and a PS4 Pro. The PS4 Pro was actually a nice incremental upgrade mid-generation without having to go to an entirely new model. With the new features and improved performance of the PS4 Pro, Sony likely bought themselves a few more years before a Sony PlayStation 5 launch date has to be announced.
To be fair, for every analyst saying that a new PlayStation model is coming in 2018, there is another analyst who believes that the Sony PlayStation 5 launch date wouldn’t come until 2019 at the earliest. This makes a lot more sense. After all, the PS4 Pro is still fairly new and many people still don’t have the proper television setup to make full use of the features included in that model. Launching a PS5 within a year would likely be too soon and the features wouldn’t get used by a lot of gamers who still feel well-served by the PS4.
There are also a few major titles coming down the pipeline for the PS4 including The Last of Us 2. Highly anticipated titles like these will help to extend the life of the PS4 and continue to sell more consoles to consumers. Why mess with a good thing? Sony has had the edge in sales for this entire console generation since day 1. Microsoft has revealed their answer to the PS4 Pro which is the XBOX One X, coming this fall. Of course, Sony has already been catering to the 4K gaming market with their powerful PS4 Pro for a year come this November. Sony is in a good spot right now and there doesn’t seem to be a need to push the envelope with an early PS5 release.
With Nintendo just launching the Switch this year, they are likely committed to that console for several years. The XBOX One X is coming this fall meaning Microsoft is committed to that console for at least two years, I imagine. There is no rush for a Sony PlayStation 5 launch date. Sony will likely still get to market first with the PlayStation 5 even if they wait until 2019 or 2020. This also allows them to consider any new tech that may be in the R&D stage right now but still a long way away from mass production. For example, with how fast VR has been developing over the last few years, we can only imagine what is in store over the next 2.5 years. It would almost benefit Sony to be patient with the PlayStation 5. They are winning the console wars for this generation so they have the luxury to rest while sitting in the lead. They can play this smart and maximize revenue by pushing the PS4 Pro as well as new games like The Last of Us 2. Let Microsoft and Nintendo sweat out this console generation and get ready for the Sony PlayStation 5 launch date that allows for the best combination of features, pricing, and timing. Winning two console generations in a row would be a huge win for Sony and time is on their side.
Here’s hoping that, in the unlikely event Sony does launch the PlayStation 5 in 2018, the console is backwards compatible. If companies are going to be making console generations shorter and shorter they need to offer that capability in future models lest they begin to lose frustrated customers who invest $300+ in a console, then $60 in each game, only to be told every few years that the stuff they have is no longer being supported with new content. In my opinion, a 6 or 7 year window between console releases is ideal. However, if backwards compatibility is offered, I could see why a Sony PlayStation 5 launch date in 2018 might makes sense. The only question is; how many gamers will take the plunge?