Don’t expect the PS6 and next Xbox for a while, says Microsoft

Where to buy PS5 and Xbox Series X
(Image credit: Shutterstock; Tom's Guide)

It’s been just over two and a half years since Microsoft and Sony kickstarted the ninth generation of consoles with the Xbox Series and PlayStation 5. 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the supply constraints of both (especially the latter), it appears we’re not even halfway through, and the PS6 and next Xbox remain several years away.

That’s according to Microsoft itself which, in court documents seen by IGN, stated that the “expected starting period” of the next generation of consoles is 2028.

The court documents in question relate to the ongoing dispute about Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard and what it means for the future of Call of Duty. 

In the specific document, Microsoft argues that its 10-year commitment to provide continued access to the franchise ensures that PlayStation gamers will continue to spill blood on virtual battlefields when the PS6 ships.

“This term would in any case go beyond the expected starting period of the next generation of consoles (in 2028),” Microsoft writes. 

“Thus, Call of Duty will be published on successor PlayStation consoles should one be released during the term of the agreement. The agreement also would ensure that Call of Duty console games are offered on PlayStation at parity with Xbox.”

Is a PS6 in 2028 likely?

Of course, the PS6 release date is not Microsoft’s to decide — it’s entirely in Sony’s gift (even if rivals can influence that decision with some not-so-friendly competition).

That said, 2028 feels extremely likely for a number of reasons. Not least of all, the fact that previous court documents have shown Sony stating that the next generation won’t begin until after 2027.

But more importantly, the PS5 and Xbox Series would be eight years old by 2028, and that’s about the life expectancy we’ve expected of recent console generations. The PS4 and Xbox One lasted for seven years, while the PS3 and Xbox 360 lasted seven and eight years respectively.

And there are reasons why the current generation of consoles could trend towards longer lifespans this time, too. 

For starters, both the Xbox Series and PS5 consoles got off to a slow start because of the pandemic, with supply chains seriously constrained. It’s only in the last six months that you’ve been able to walk into a store and comfortably buy a PS5, meaning that for most buyers the hardware still feels new.

Secondly, both Sony and Microsoft showed during the last generation that they’re not averse to refreshing their hardware with more powerful configurations for serious gamers. 

The Xbox One X and PS4 Pro could well be followed by souped-up versions of the Xbox Series X and PS5. And while the former has been ruled out in the short term, the latter has been tipped for next year

The only thing that suggests Microsoft might be inclined to go early is the presence of the very likeable Series S — a console that could well be showing its age in the next 18 months, let alone five years. Microsoft wants everything designed for Series X to also play on Series S, and that could prove a troublesome millstone in the years ahead.

In any case, the PS5 and Xbox Series X aren’t going to be replaced any time soon. If you’ve been unsure about upgrading from PS4 or Xbox One out of fear that they could soon be superseded, you can buy with confidence.

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Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.