As of November 12, 2022, the PlayStation 5 will officially be two years old — a difficult fact to believe, given that many gamers probably managed to procure one much more recently. Still, it’s been a full 24 months since the console launched, and our time with it has been a mix of overwhelming joy, minor annoyances and cautious optimism.
Making sense of all of these feelings requires a holistic view of the system, taking into consideration the updates Sony has made, the exclusives and third-party games that have come out, and the huge PlayStation Plus revamp.
We’re optimistic that the PS5’s third year of life is going to be its best yet. There's an overabundance of fantastic new games to play, such as God of War Ragnarök and Elden Ring, as well as future titles, such as Tekken 8, Hogwarts Legacy and Final Fantasy XVI (a limited-time PS5 exclusive).
Here’s a look back at the last 24 months of the PS5, as well as a preview of what’s to come for the console in the next year — the good, the bad and the ugly.
PS5 two years later — the good
The PS5 is ending its second year of life on a high note. Its anniversary coincides with the launch God of War Ragnarök, one of the most anticipated titles of 2022. Earlier this year, we saw other big hits, including Horizon Forbidden West from Guerrilla Games and Gran Turismo 7 from Polyphony Digital.
Any one of those three games could vie for Game of the Year, while God of War Ragnarök is an early contender for Game of the Generation — although saying that with any sort of authority will have to wait a few years.
This holiday season is stacked with annual-release juggernauts from third-party partners, including FIFA 23 from EA and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II from Infinity Ward and Activision-Blizzard). And with Marvel's Spider-Man 2 and Final Fantasy VII: Rebirth coming next year, the PS5 is teed up for success.
If exclusive games are your be-all, end-all criteria for a console’s overall health, then we’re pleased to tell you that the PS5 is in the best shape of its life.
PS5 two years later — the bad
Unfortunately, though, we’re looking at the platform more holistically than that. Belying the impressive success of the PS5's game library are some pervasive issues. For starters, 24 months into its life cycle, the console is still not widely available.
As it stands today, you still can’t find a PS5 on sale at most major retailers without the help of a PS5 restock guide. New shipments pop up momentarily, only to sell out shortly afterward. Many buyers have resorted to scammers and scalpers for help getting a console — a costly and sometimes dangerous endeavor.
We have to wonder why Sony can’t use a system like Valve did with the Steam Deck, which gave users a pre-order number and a window for fulfillment. The fact that Sony still has yet to make buying a PS5 easier feels like a major misstep.
If this is how Sony plans to handle the launch of the PlayStation VR 2, well, expect not to get your hands on one until early 2025.
PS5 two years later — the ugly
The PS5's lack of availability has been bad, but the way Sony has handled the launch of the new PlayStation Plus tiers has been downright ugly. The company's messaging was confusing, and the tiers arbitrarily divvy up features that could’ve been part of a single plan. At best, it's confusing; at worst, it’s a cheap knockoff of Xbox Game Pass that fails to offer the same value.
We’re not here to say that Xbox Game Pass is the perfect solution to every problem in the gaming industry right now. But it does present gamers with first-party games on the day they launch, effectively paying for itself, even if you just play two or three big first-party games each year. PlayStation Plus doesn’t promise that games will be available at launch at the moment, although we’re hoping that will change in the next few months as fans call for it.
We also have to mention that while all of the PS5's first-party games seem to utilize the console’s powerful innards, some third-party developers haven’t found ways to optimize their titles for the console yet. This has led to games like Gotham Knights running at a choppy 30 frames per second.
Poor optimization can happen to any platform, PC included. But developers — especially ones as large as WB Games Montreal — need to learn how to properly use the hardware inside the console.
Sony isn’t the only manufacturer with this problem, sur. But what’s the point of having a $500 console if games made a decade ago look and play better than ones made in 2022?
PS5 two years later — outlook
Sony Interactive Entertainment still has work to do. The company needs to find a way to get consoles to gamers who are still waiting for them. Two years is an unbelievably long time to wait for new hardware. Secondly, SIE needs to work with developers on optimizing games for its hardware. SIE’s lead engineer Mark Cerny did an excellent job crafting one of the best gaming consoles we’ve ever seen. But bad optimization can make resource-intensive games such as Gotham Knights feel like they’re running on a PS2.
To that end, developers seem to be just now unlocking the full power of the console. Games like Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart and Astro’s Playroom might have given us a glimpse of that power, but it wasn’t until Horizon Forbidden West and God of War Ragnarök hit that we saw the PS5 firing on all cylinders.
The good news is that we feel the PlayStation 5’s best days are still ahead of it. Fantastic, award-winning games are finally coming in at a good clip, and next year's roster of PS5 games should keep giving gamers the next-gen experiences for which they paid good money.
If SIE can sort out the issues with the new PlayStation Plus, we have high hopes that the PS5’s third year will be one for the history books.
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Nick Pino heads up the TV and AV verticals at Tom's Guide and covers everything from OLED TVs to the latest wireless headphones. He was formerly the Senior Editor, TV and AV at TechRadar (Tom's Guide's sister site) and has previously written for GamesRadar, Official Xbox Magazine, PC Gamer and other outlets over the last decade. Not sure which TV you should buy? Drop him an email or tweet him on Twitter and he can help you out.