Sony ‘console prototype’ shipment has fans excited for possible PS5 Pro

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While much of the world is still searching for PS5 restocks, it seems likely that Sony is aiming to revisit the hardware at some point in the next few years. We’ve already seen one revision — a lighter model with a smaller heatsink — but could Sony be planning something more drastic?

Digging from TweakTown has spotted some intriguing import records which appear to show Sony shipping boxes of development kits to the U.S. One particularly intriguing shipment reads “video game consol [sic.] (prototype)”, and was dispatched from the U.K. to Norfolk, Virginia in November last year. It weighed 694kg, or around 1,532 pounds. 

Both the starting and finishing destination are a bit of a mystery, given you’d expect a console prototype to be built in China, and it’s not clear what Sony does in Virginia, but it’s still intriguing. So, to quote Brad Pitt in Se7en, what’s in the box?

PS5 Slim, PS5 Pro, PSVR 2 or something else? 

Let’s get the boring option out of the way first. This could just be an old prototype — possibly from the PS5 when it was still oddly V-shaped. The same could apply to the dev kits: if developers want to make PS5 software, they still need a dev kit in 2022, even if they are a little late to the party.

But what if it’s a bit more interesting? Well, one bit of hardware we do know is in the works is PSVR 2. We’ve been told to expect the next generation of Sony virtual reality at some point, and a 2022 release remains a possibility. In any case, this definitely exists, and development kits will be required, so it seems possible.

Now into the realms of speculation: could this be a PS5 hardware revision? If it’s a significant change, there are two likely possibilities: a Slim model with a reduced footprint, or a Pro version with beefed up internals.

A PS5 Slim feels practically guaranteed at some point. Not only do smaller consoles reduce Sony’s shipping costs, and therefore boost profits, but every PlayStation ever made has had a smaller version at some point. That said, it does feel a bit early for that, given it’s historically taken between three and six years for Sony to redesign its consoles with a smaller form factor — although the extreme bulk of the PS5 may make Sony want to accelerate that timeframe, of course.

And what about a Pro model? Well, to date, we’ve only seen one: the PS4 Pro, and it too came along three years after the original PS4. So again, it feels a bit soon — though, of course, it could be a very early prototype. All designs have to start somewhere, after all.

In short, if you’re still eyeing up a PS5 but worried about buying one only for Sony to immediately launch a redesign, you’re probably safe. While it’s fun to speculate as to what the prototype might be, the current PS5 design is likely here to stay until 2023 at the absolute earliest.  

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.