If Macquarie Capital Securities analyst Damian Thong is to be believed, the PlayStation 5 (PS5), Sony Interactive Entertainment’s next-generation games console, is coming in the second half of 2018. He predicted this back in 2016; his forecast has recently been reiterated by Wall Street Journal reporter Takashi Mochizuki.
So why give credence to this forecast? Because Thong correctly predicted the PlayStation 4 Pro and Slim.
However, this prediction isn’t exactly prophetic as Sony has always produced a slim version of its consoles since the release of its original PlayStation. A more powerful “Pro” version can also be reasonably anticipated, especially since the regular PS4 isn’t powerful enough for PlayStation VR.
But we won’t stop there. Here are a few more reasons why we shouldn’t believe such speculation:
The PS4 is well ahead of the competition
Consider this: if Sony were to launch the PlayStation 5 next year, they’re essentially ditching their huge install base and advantage, and essentially starting the next console generation from scratch.
One could argue that the PS5 is Sony’s way to compete with Nintendo’s surging Switch console/handheld hybrid and Microsoft’s more powerful Project Scorpio – particularly with the latter, which is expected to run rings around the PS4 Pro in terms of power.
But let’s not forget that:
- Nintendo isn’t a direct competitor at this point; it doesn’t follow the “regular” console generation, and is aiming at a different market.
- More importantly, the PS4 has a much larger library of critically acclaimed exclusives.
In 2017 alone (and we’re not even halfway through the year), we’re already looking at the following released titles:
- Horizon: Zero Dawn
- Nier: Automata
- Gravity Rush 2
- Yakuza 0
- Persona 5
Selling completely new console hardware in 2018 means all of Sony’s excellent exclusives will soon be outdated, especially since Sony isn’t really big on backwards compatibility – unless it involved selling remastered versions or paying for a streaming service. And clearly, the 53.4-million PS4 install base won’t be pleased with that.
The PlayStation 4 isn’t even five years old
Why does a console’s age matter in discussions of next-generation hardware? Because the shortest time that Sony took to release a new console is 4 years and 6 months (from the PS1 to the PS2). During the past two console generations, however, Sony took their time:
- The PS3 came out 6 years and 8 months after the PS2.
- The PS4 came out 7 years after the PS3.
The PS4 Pro and Slim is just a few months old
Furthermore, Sony released the PS4 Pro and Slim just last year (September 2016 and November 2016 respectively). The electronics giant most assuredly spent a considerable amount of resources (e.g. R&D, marketing) on both products – which are selling pretty well combined – only to release a new console generation just a year after? It doesn’t make sense business-wise.
Make no mistake: the arrival of the PS5 is inevitable. We just think the rumored 2018 release date is debatable.