PS5 Release Date: PS4 Pro and Xbox One X not dead yet says expert. So Is next-gen delayed?
As everyone well knows, the PS5 release date is getting closer and closer and while there might not be an official date to speak of just yet, we know for certain that somewhere it's being worked on by the Sony team.
More recently, it was suggested that this release date could actually move forward as a result of several high profile job changes – including Andrew House and more recently the departure of Kaz Hirai president and CEO of Sony Corporation for six years – coupled with a dip in hardware sales.
"Shipments of the PlayStation 4 were down, from 9.7 million units a year ago to 9 million, resulting in a slight downward trend in hardware revenue," remarked Gamesindustry.biz last month.
Whilst leading tech website ArsTechnica.com had also suggested in a follow-up opinion piece that the PS4 "may have peaked". The report said:
"It seems likely that Sony's annual shipments for the PS4 will never climb higher than that number based on historical analysis … With the end of 2017, the PS4 has reached the end of its fourth full year on the market, and the console seems set to begin its long decline in annual sales."
Going one step further, the site then suggested that this 'PS4 shipment peak' could now start "the long countdown to the PlayStation 5" in years to come.
However, this week, one of the industries leading games publishers and creators of arguably the biggest game of the console generation, gave existing hardware a much needed boost.
PS5 Concept images, specs and features
Sony PlayStation bosses have confirmed a PS5 is coming – could it look anything like this?
Talking at the 43rd Annual Technology, Media, and Telecom Conference in New York this past week, Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick effectively said that things are only going to get better for the PlayStation 4.
"We have yet to see entirely what the technology can allow," the executive said, when talking about Sony's new gaming hardware.
"We've had a couple of releases for new-gen, but I don't think we remotely have seen what can be done, and that's super exciting. And that speaks to many of our titles. Hopefully all of our titles, ultimately."
It's worth noting that Rockstar, one developer for Take-Two and creators of the GTA series, have always habitually pushed consoles to the very limit and maximising their performance well beyond what's been possible before.
Want proof, look at how incredible GTA V looked on the PS3 last gen and then how amazing Red Dead Redemption 2 is looking when it comes out this October.
Red Dead Redemption 2 Images released by Rockstar, with leaks from Trusted Reviews
Developed by the creators of GTA 5 and Red Dead Redemption, Red Dead Redemption 2 is an epic tale of life in America’s unforgiving heartland, the game's vast and atmospheric world will also provide the foundation for a brand new online multiplayer experience. IMAGES ADDED: Leaks from Trusted Reviews.TRUSTED REVIEWS RDR 2 leak, via Trusted Reviews
Of course, it's equally important to note that, ArsTechnica.com also stated in their report that – like Strauss Zelnick – they too believed there's still plenty of life left in the PS4, writing:
"The late 2016 launch of the PS4 Pro could fundamentally shift the market, giving the PS4 family longer legs and a higher peak than previous generations."
This seems especially true when you look at the continued PS4 Pro releases and general hype among gamers when new special editions are released. Most recently alongside Monster Hunter World and also with the upcoming God of War PS4 Pro edition.
Likewise, we certainly wouldn't rule out the possibility of a PS4 Pro Slim, since Sony seem intent on releasing slim-line versions of their existing hardware.
Certainly, a drop in sales might prompt Sony to start looking more closely at their next generation of console, but as PlayStation boss Shawn Layden confirmed last year, while a PS5 is in the works and "coming” it would still “probably be some time” before it arrives.
Which tallies up with industry experts who have tentatively predicted a 2019-2021 release date.
Speaking on The 1099 Podcast back in September last year, Pachter said: "I think that's exactly when you'll see one (PS5) 2019 or 2020, and if I had to bet, it's 2020.
“Sony's making so much money with the PS4 that I think they'll continue to milk it as long as they can milk it.
“And I think the natural extension of that is the PS4 Pro becomes the default PS4, and they just knock that price down to $250 when they can and they keep selling it — a tonne of those.
“The PS5 is probably going to be their real 4K device, and so it just feels to me that they're not going to launch the PS5 until sales momentum for the PS4 slows, and it just hasn't.
“So you certainly get through 2017, 2018, and I just don't see it slowing in 2018 which should prop them to launch something in 2019.
“If it slows in 2019, they're probably launching in 2020."
More recently, industry expert Christopher Dring, publisher for Gameindustry.biz, told followers on Twitter that he'd been hearing rumours of "Sony slowing up progress on PS5 rattling around for a few months".
As we've mentioned before, the future for all three console makers might seem complicated, but in reality we have a fairly good idea what they're all planning in the yeara ahead.
Nintendo are digging in for the long haul with the Nintendo Switch, tentatively telling investors this week that they anticipate the console to stick around for longer than the normaly 5-6 year cycle.
Microsoft is breaking new ground for the company with Xbox One X, the worlds most powerful console. And though it might have a lack of first-party exclusives, it's arguably the best place to play for third party games.
Sony, meanwhile, seem content to trundle along with the existing PS4 (Pro), which might be declining in hardware sales, but is still selling like hotcakes and seeming PlayStation software thrive.
It's worth adding that their latest report also highlighted a 50% operating profit increase, from ¥50 billion to ¥85.4 billion ($778m), with huge titles like God of War, Spiderman, The Last of Us 2 and Death Stranding on the horizon too.
The PS5 is coming, sure, but there's still plenty of life left in the PS4 regardless of a dip in sales.