PS5 design reactions: The good, the bad and the ugly

(Image credit: Sony)

The PS5 event today (June 11) showed off a lot of promising games, but it also gave us a surprise reveal of the hardware at the end. We can finally put to bed months of speculation, not to mention fan renders that ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous. 

We know for a fact that the PS5 will be a two-tone black-and-white console with a vertical configuration, two white fins on the sides and one rounded rectangle in the middle. The device will also be available in a symmetrical Digital Edition, and an asymmetrical standard edition, which will contain a disc drive.

Fans took to the Internet to express their excitement, disapproval and off-color remarks almost immediately. Even among the Tom’s Guide staff, there was a significant, not to mention immediate, difference of opinion as soon as the first photograph surfaced.

Personally, I think the PS5 is hideous. That’s not terribly surprising, though, given that I thought the same thing about the DualSense controller, and expected that the console would generally embrace the same kind of design. My immediate reaction in our Slack chat was as follows:

“That thing is the ugliest console I’ve ever seen.”

Here’s what the rest of the staff thought, ranked from most positive to most negative:

“I love it. Weird and alien and bizarre.” – Henry T. Casey, Editor

“I think it’s OK.” – Roland Moore-Colyer, Editor

“It looks like a stormtrooper made love to an art deco lamp. I actually don’t hate it.” – Brian Westover, Editor

“It looks like Dell’s ‘adult’ gamer hardware, which is to say lame but not as lame as full-on gamer hardware.” – Adam Ismail, Editor

“I think it’s bizarre and kind of ugly.” – Mike Andronico, Editor-in-Chief

From what we can gather, the rest of the Internet shared our ambivalence.

Truthfully, the vast majority of reaction posts I could find were all joke posts, comparing the PS5 to everything from WALL-E’s Eve to a white binder with black pages inside. But even that says something. If fans absolutely despised the PS5’s appearance, they’d be very vocal about it, rather than simply making jokes.

Apparently, my opinion is in the minority — but I don’t mind too much, as I’m not especially concerned about the PS5’s appearance. Consoles don’t need to look pretty, as everything from the PS3 to the Xbox One demonstrated. They need to play excellent games, and based on the PS5’s first big showcase, it looks like Sony’s latest console will be able to do just that.

Marshall Honorof

Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi. 

  • SalvatorDatorum
    If that doesn't have a WiFi AP built in, it definitely should. Maybe slap an antenna on it, or maybe four or five, the more the better right? (If you really wanted to maximize antenna effectiveness I'd think you would want them in pairs with the one for 2.4GHz having twice the effective length of the one for 5GHz but I'm not an antenna engineer just a General Class Amateur Radio Licensee.)

    But in all seriousness who really cares? The PS1 was probably the ugliest beast of all but it worked and had the best games and that's all anyone remembers about it. What's the last time you took some quality time out of your day to really appreciate the industrial design of your consumer electronics?