The PS5 turned two years old last week, and it’s still not exactly easy to buy. With that in mind, frustrated shoppers will be pleased to hear that there’s at least five years before Sony unveils the PlayStation 6.
That unsurprising revelation was revealed via documents (opens in new tab) released publicly as part of the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) review into Microsoft’s proposed $68 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard. Although the exact year Sony has in mind for the PS6’s release is frustratingly redacted, a little bit of logic reveals it has to be 2027 or later.
“By the time SIE launched the next generation of its PlayStation console (which is likely to occur around [redacted]), it would have lost access to Call of Duty,” the document reads. But earlier on it’s revealed that Microsoft offered to keep Activision games on PlayStation until 2027. With those two data points taken together, it’s pretty obvious that the PlayStation 6 is something we won’t be reviewing for at least another five years yet.
PS6: A long way to go
Frankly, this isn’t surprising. While the tech industry is used to smartphones getting annual releases, console generations are much slower — essential, given the multi-year nature of game production.
The gaps between PlayStation consoles have been pretty consistent, with six years separating the original PlayStation and PS2, and then another six before the PS3 arrived. The PS4 arrived seven years later in 2013, with the PS5 following in 2020. Viewed through that lens, six, seven or even eight years for this console generation seems entirely plausible.
Not only is this timeframe not surprising, it’s also not disappointing. Those who have been able to get their hands on PS5s (myself included) will tell you that the games so far released haven’t even scratched the surface of the console’s potential.
With a handful of notable exceptions, the best PS5 games tend to be mildly souped up versions of titles you can quite happily play on PS4, and the ones that really push the limits of the console are a couple of years away yet. Just compare PS3 launch titles (e.g: Resistance: Fall of Man) to games released towards the end of its life (e.g: The Last of Us) and you’ll see the kind of leap that can be made within a single generation as developers learn to work with the power of the hardware.
But if you are still disappointed by this news, remember that ‘no PS6’ isn’t the same as ‘no hardware improvements’. While we’ve only seen minor revisions to the PS5 so far, there’s always the prospect of a PS5 Slim or even PS5 Pro before 2027. Hopefully by that point the hardware will be readily available to anyone who wants one.