The PlayStation 4 has been around for quite some time, and during its tenure, it has amassed a sizeable library of games that have made it one of the most successful consoles in the world. However, as with any console that has been around for a couple of years, many are starting to wonder when we may see the console’s successor – the PS5. A recent rumor posted by Marcus Sellars – a leaker with a proven track record of reliable information – suggests that PS5 dev kits have already been sent out to a number of studios, which means we may see the release of the new console within the next two years.
PS5 dev kits went out early this year to third party developers.
— Marcus Sellars (@Marcus_Sellars) March 6, 2018
A 2020 release date backs up some previous analyst reports that suspected we wouldn’t see the release of the PS5 for at least a couple of years. Although the PS4 is getting on in age, it’s still very much popular with new titles releasing quite regularly. By giving the console another couple of years to wind down – especially with the recent release of the PS4 Pro – Sony may make the release of another expensive console a more palatable buy for the majority of their user base.
Considering that Marcus Sellars has recently predicted the release of Diablo III on the Switch and the news of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, it’s looking like it may be reasonable to trust his information. He had also predicted today’s Nintendo Direct, and is suggesting that Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 may also be announced today. While it’s impossible to know whether PS5 dev kits are actually being sent without some sort of official statement from Sony (which we definitely wouldn’t receive ahead of an official announcement), this rumor seems to have a little more credence considering the person who leaked it.
The distribution of PS5 dev kits doesn’t necessarily give us any information as to a release date, but considering the normal game development cycle it’s not likely we’ll see the new console until 2020. If we were to see a release much sooner, the PS5 may suffer from the same problems that the PS4 did – a lack of content upon release. While it’s not realistic to expect a console to have a completely comprehensive lineup of games upon release, it might be easier for Sony to convince people to buy if there was a major release – or even an exclusive – upon the release of the PS5. The dev kits give developers the opportunity to create something big, and if Sony is to follow in Nintendo’s footsteps with the release of something as popular as Legend Of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, they could see some major sales moving on day one.
With the dev kits reportedly being released, the question comes up once again of what exactly we might be able to expect with the release of the PS5. A recent patent filing from Sony suggests that we might be seeing backward compatibility in the console for the first time. One misstep with the PS4 that gave the Xbox One a small advantage was the lack of the ability for gamers to play their favorite PS3 titles on the brand new console. By releasing the PS5 with backward compatibility and keeping the huge PlayStation Store online with a plethora of PS4 titles, the issue mentioned above of a lack of content may be mitigated by allowing users to play their current games on a brand new system. In its current iteration, the only way to play previous PlayStation games on the PS4 is through remasters or re-releases, and the games that have been re-released for the current generation have generally performed quite well. While Sony executives have gone on the record previously and stated that there was not enough demand for such a feature, the sales recently have certainly demonstrated otherwise. When we do see the PS5, it would be a smart decision to include this sort of functionality in order to better compete with the Xbox One – a console that didn’t perform as well as the PS4 worldwide but sold extremely well in the United States.
The possible delay for the PS5 into 2020 will likely be in order to give developers enough time for a robust lineup upon release, but there’s certainly a possibility we could see it sooner. With how well the PS4 sold overall, Sony may not be too concerned about a slightly slower start. As one of the most popular manufacturers, they should not have any issues moving units as the lineup gets bigger in the months following release.