No, PS5 Is Not Launching in 2018–But There’s Precedent for Something Like This Happening

What history can tell us about when PS5 might launch.

Posted By | On 09th, Apr. 2018 Under Article, Editorials | Follow This Author @Pramath1605


A report by Semi Accurate began to circulate last week, discussing the potential upcoming PlayStation 5. The report touches upon the specs for the console (it seems to be mostly good news on this front), and discusses the circulation of dev kits for the new console, noting that the sheer number of dev kits that are being sent out suggests a launch for the console is coming sooner rather than later. The writer of the report speculates that a mid-2019 launch is the most at plausible, but also goes on to note that a 2018 launch wouldn’t be out of the question either.

2018… that’s this year. While it is important and responsible to note that the writer is only speculating when he says it could launch in 2018 (which means you need to separate the speculation from the hard facts in the report, which are likely to be correct—not only do they sound correct, but Semi Accurate has a history of getting this kind of thing right in the past), the question of a 2018 release is fascinating nonetheless. Could Sony be launching their new console this year? Could the next generation truly be upon us already? Is the PS5 literally just around the corner?

Now, the answer to all those questions is—no. The PS5 is undoubtedly coming soon, and a 2019 release doesn’t seem out of the question (in fact, I would put my money on it happening), but a 2018 release seems unlikely for a whole host of reasons. The technology that would be needed for a substantial and appreciable leap over the PS4 and PS4 Pro simply isn’t available at mass market viable prices for now, and you would think that with a new console on the horizon, Sony would want to start drumming up the hype already.

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"Now, the answer to all those questions is—no. The PS5 is undoubtedly coming soon, and a 2019 release doesn’t seem out of the question (in fact, I would put my money on it happening), but a 2018 release seems unlikely for a whole host of reasons."

Those are valid reasons to not necessarily believe that a PS5 is coming this year. But there have been additional reasons I have seen people bring up in their dismissal of the notion, which are the ones I want to tackle now. For instance, people argue, why would Sony want to launch a PS5 right now when the PS4 is already doing so well? Why would they want to cap it off when it still has a few years left in it?

I’m not even going to get into the whole business wisdom of cannibalizing your own product before someone else has a chance to, but let me use a simple example from precedence that should be more than enough to respond to this query—the PS2. You see, in 2005, the PS2 was only nearing its fifth anniversary, but it was selling at an unprecedented rate. Its record breaking sales pace was far beyond what Nintendo or Microsoft had been able to manage, Sony had third party support of all kind from around the world locked down, and PS2’s sales seemed unlikely to slow down any time soon. And yet, in 2005, Sony still announced the PS3. Not only did this not hurt the PS2’s sales, but over half of PS2’s lifetime sales came from after this point in time.

That’s important to remember—the extremely long life cycle of last generation consoles, which caused them to stop selling almost immediately after their successors were on the market, seems to have left people with the impression that a system stops selling, or slows down in sales, after its successor is announced or hits the market, when the history of the gaming market has shown us that that is not true. Just an announcement of a PS5 will not cause sales of the PS4 or PS4 Pro to slow down—in fact, presuming backward compatibility with the PS4, game support for the PS4 won’t be slowing down any time soon either, just because a PS5 is on the horizon, especially since it sounds like Sony intends to stick with the x86-64 base for the new console (which means it should be easy to scale software across the PS4 and PS5 with ease, with proper API implementation).

"That’s important to remember—the extremely long life cycle of last generation consoles, which caused them to stop selling almost immediately after their successors were on the market, seems to have left people with the impression that a system stops selling, or slows down in sales, after its successor is announced or hits the market, when the history of the gaming market has shown us that that is not true."

Which brings me to the second argument people often have against the PS5 coming out any time soon—Sony still have games such as The Last of Us, Ghosts of Tsushima, and Death Stranding announced, why would they launch the PS5 before those games are out? That, to a lot of people, makes no sense.

Except, this, again, is something that has happened before, and within the PlayStation family. As a reminder, going into 2013, the PS3 had its strongest lineup of games in years announced for it—God of War Ascension, Rain, Puppetteer, Beyond: Two Souls, Gran Turismo 6, and, of course, The Last of Us. Not only did this not stop Sony from announcing the PS4 in 2013, but they also released it that same year anyway—they even released it before some of the already announced PS3 games, such as Gran Turismo 6, had had the chance to even release.

Sony has also done this with the PS2–third party titles such as Persona 3 and 4, as well as Okami, and first party games as major as God of War II (not counting smaller games like MotorStorm Arctic Edge, Ratchet and Clank: Size Matters, Jack and Daxter: The Lost Frontier, and Secret Agent Clank) were all released well after the PS3 had launched. Support for the PS3 did not stop Sony from continuing to put out PS2 games—in a lot of cases, Sony benefitted from the scalability of PSP and PS2 games to continue supporting the PS2 after the PS3’s launch, just as in this case, Sony would benefit from the presumed scalability of the PS4 and PS5, to continue supporting the PS4 even after the PS5 has launched.

"Sony still have games such as The Last of Us, Ghosts of Tsushima, and Death Stranding announced, why would they launch the PS5 before those games are out? That, to a lot of people, makes no sense. Except, this, again, is something that has happened before, and within the PlayStation family."

All of which is took say—just because Death Stranding and The Last of Us Part 2 are announced for the PS4 is no reason for Sony to not announce or release a PS5 beforehand (especially if PS5 will be backward compatible with the PS4). They could still release after thre PS5 has come out, and later even get remastered versions for the PS5.

Of course, as I stated right upfront, I don’t think the PS5 is actually releasing this year at all—I think that Sony will be looking at getting it out next year, and that next year is also when we will see and get an announcement. But it is important to remember, especially as we go into E3, that the idea of a PS5 being announced or launching this year isn’t quite as preposterous as many like to believe.

Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to GamingBolt as an organization.


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