We waited an agonising seven years for Sony to upgrade its PS3 to the PS4, but will we have to wait as long for the PS5? Here we reveal all there is to know about the Sony PlayStation 5 UK release date and specs. Also see: PS4 vs Xbox One.
Very little is known about the PlayStation 5, which isn't surprising given that its launch is likely years rather than months away, but in this article we'll discuss the rumours and speculation surrounding the PS5 and see what details we can glean.
Sony PlayStation 5: Will there be a PS5?
With the upcoming release of PlayStation Now - expected to hit the US this summer and the UK in 2015 - many have speculated that physical consoles are a thing of the past. PlayStation Now is a cloud-based gaming service that lets you play PS3 games on the PS4, PS Vita and Bravia TVs, while support for non-Sony and -PlayStation devices will come later. It's a bit like Netflix, but for games rather than films.
Yet we still think there will be a PS5. Not only does the PS4 bring in a huge amount of profit, Sony boss Shuhei Yoshida has been quoted as saying the future of the PlayStation is up to developers.
"If they still feel that we need more machine power - 'we want to realise this and that and that, but we cannot do it with the PS4' - there's a good reason to have the PS5 so developers can create their vision," said Yoshida.
The PS4 is immensely powerful but, unlike the thousands of gaming PCs with which it competes, Sony's console doesn't benefit from the possibility of regular processor and graphics updates. One day we will reach the stage where the PS4 is notably inferior to PCs, and then game developers will demand more power. Also see: PS4 vs Xbox One vs gaming PCs and Best gaming PCs 2014.
Plus, with PlayStation Now Sony will be able to keep customers happy by allowing them to continue using their PS4 games on a new PS5.
Sony PlayStation 5: Potential PS5 UK release date
It's been 20 years since the first PlayStation was released, and there were seven years between the launches of the PS3 and PS4. That was the longest stretch, with the PS2 appearing five years three months after the PS1, and the PS3 six years eight months after the PS2. It's fairly safe to say Sony doesn't follow a strict pattern with its console releases.
Games consoles are naturally long-lifecycle products, with customers investing considerable expense in both the platform and its proprietary titles. However, Sony is reportedly working on shorter timeframes between its PlayStation launches - at least that's the impression given by AMD, which manufactured the hardware powering the PS4.
CFO Devinder Kumar, speaking at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Technology Conference, said AMD had made a real impact with the release of the PS4 in 2013. Around 2016, he added, AMD would again be a very different company. Although he may not have been referring specifically to a new console release from Sony, such devices are extremely profitable to AMD and it is always thinking about what's coming next.
"Three years before you introduce a product a decision is made to use a particular company. In this case it was AMD. Then you co-develop the product with funding dollars, mostly coming from our customers. When you introduce the product there are no R&D, sales and marketing expenses - however many dollars you generate fall to the bottom line, and that’s what excites us," said Kumar.
Earlier this year Sony's software product development head Scott Rhode told MTV: "Very soon we'll start thinking about what we'll do next. That's the culture at Sony. We always have to do something that's bigger and better than what's already been done."
Sony UK boss Fergal Gara added that "It's probably a sign of the times and how much has changed in seven years, but I think the willingness and the appetite to pick up new technology fast has probably changed quite a bit." For the next few years, though, he said Sony will be putting its weight behind the PS4.
So, rather than waiting another seven years for the PS5, which would peg its launch in 2020, the fast-paced development of technology could mean the PS5 rears its head much sooner - but could it really be as soon as 2016? We suspect that even if Sony is able to shorten the time between its PlayStation releases, we'll still be waiting until at least 2018 before the PS5 becomes a realistic option.
Of course, we'll update this article as soon as more concrete details on the PS5 release date are available.
Sony PlayStation 5: PS5 design
Concept images of the PS5 have already popped up on the web, including those used to illustrate this article (courtesy of David Hansson). We suspect it will retain the black box, blue light theme, but will be sleeker and more stylish than before. And if PlayStation Now is able to let it do away with discs, it could even be more compact too.
Sony PlayStation 5: PS5 specs
As you might expect, very little is known about the PS5's hardware. Going by AMD's enthusiasm over the PS4, we can only assume it will remain onboard the Sony ship for the PS5.
Something else that might become a 'thing' with the PS5 is virtual reality. Project Morpheus, a prototype virtual-reality system that works with PS4, suggests Sony is looking in this direction for future consoles. Such technology should allow for truly immersive gameplay, allowing you to really feel as though you are in the game.
And PlayStation TV - expected to launch 14 November - may also be important to the PS5's development. Could we see this wireless streaming functionality built into the PS5?
It's possible that PlayStation Now will allow Sony to remove the optical drive, although some sort of provision for offline gaming - perhaps a flash storage drive - would be necessary. Not everyone in the UK has constant - if any - access to super-fast broadband.
Again, we'll update this article as more details become available.
Sony PlayStation 5: PS5 UK price
Without knowing exactly what's on offer, it's impossible to accurately predict how much the PS5 will cost. With the PS2 costing £300, the PS3 £425 and the PS4 £349, we can only assume Sony will stick around the £400 mark. After all, it has other consoles and gaming PCs with which to compete.
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