Stock levels of the PS5 have only recently stabilized after more than two years of supply struggling to meet demand, but already the attention is shifting to the heavily rumored PS5 Pro console.
According to Insider Gaming (opens in new tab) (a somewhat reliable source spearheaded by Tom Henderson (opens in new tab)), Sony is actively developing a PS5 Pro and is targeting a late-2024 release. The Pro would be a mid-generation refresh of the base PS5 allowing for better visuals and more consistent performance.
Insider Gaming suggests that PlayStation console architect Mark Cerny is involved in the creation of the PS5 Pro and that the hardware would also have a strong focus on ray-tracing technology. The current PS5 does offer ray tracing in select games but typically the feature is limited and requires sacrifices when it comes to framerate or overall image resolution.
The same source also claims that the PS6 will release in 2028 at the earliest, which would mean this hypothetical PS5 Pro launch would fall in the middle of this current generation of consoles. This seems an appropriate time to launch a refreshed model.
Inside Gaming has also previously reported that Sony is planning a redesigned version of the base PS5 that will sport a detachable disc drive that will be sold separately effectively nullifying the need for the current separate PS5 Disc and PS5 Digital models.
PS5 Pro: Do we even need one?
There appears to be a sense of inevitability about the PS5 Pro. After all, Sony successfully released a PS4 Pro in 2016, three years after the launch of the regular PS4, so why wouldn’t the gaming giant replicate that strategy with its latest flagship console? But perhaps the key difference is that the PS5 generation hasn't really started yet.
More than two years on from its launch and several of the biggest games of the year are still being released across both PS5 and PS4, that includes the likes of Hogwarts Legacy and the upcoming Resident Evil 4 remake. Not to mention last year's heavy-hitters, Elden Ring and God of War Ragnarök, were both cross-generation releases.
It’s expected that this year most developers will finally leave the PS4 behind, but it still feels like we’re at least a couple of years away from the PS5 console really hitting its stride. If a PS5 Pro was to release in 2024, it would arguably come too early, launching just as the potential of its predecessor is being fully unlocked.
There is also less need for a mid-generation refresh this time around. The PS4 wasn’t necessarily underpowered at launch in 2013, but by 2016 it was already starting to show its age. However, the PS5 is still very much cutting-edge in terms of gaming tech, and the recent release of the PSVR 2 headset shows the console still has plenty more to give.
The wisdom of releasing a new console just as the PS5 becomes readily available could also be called into question. For the last two years tracking down a PS5 has been nothing short of a herculean task for many. And unless Sony can commit additional resources to bolster its manufacturing output we could see the same situation with a PS5 Pro. Does anybody relish the thought of spending months tracking PS5 Pro restocks?
But it’s also important to note that Sony would likely pitch the PS5 Pro as a somewhat niche machine designed for the most enthusiastic gamers. It would be a product for players who want the highest possible resolution, with the most stable framerates, and wouldn’t be designed to replace the standard PS5 hardware. The two could co-exist, as the PS4 and PS4 Pro did for several years.
Looking ahead, if the PS5 Pro is indeed real and set to launch within the next 20 or so months, we could receive some concrete details towards the end of the year. Of course, for now, all reports and leaks on the matter should be taken with a large dose of skepticism. As of yet, nothing official has come from Sony and a PS5 Pro may not ultimately see the light of day.