You may have heard rumblings that Sony plans to release a PlayStation 5 as soon as 2018. But don't pull the plug on your PS4 just yet — Sony certainly doesn't need a new piece of hardware to keep winning the console war.
Credit: Jeremy Lips / Tom's Guide
Macquarie Capital Securities analyst Damian Thong, who correctly predicted the arrival of both the PS4 Slim and PS4 Pro, thinks that Sony's next-generation console could arrive by year. However, even if a PS5 is indeed in the pipeline, the success of the PS4 has virtually eliminated the need for one anytime soon.
Sony's PS4 is leading the the current console generation by a mile, with close to 60 million units sold according to a recent financial report. Compare that to Superdata's estimated Xbox One lifetime sales of 26 million (Microsoft doesn't release the system's sales data), and it's not even close. When you think home console gaming, you think PS4.
So, why would Sony throw away that huge install base and massive brand recognition after just 5 years? You could argue that the company is looking to fight back against Project Scorpio, Microsoft's supercharged, 4K-ready Xbox One that could become the most powerful home console ever when it hits late this year. The system's beastly specs even surpass that of the PS4 Pro, a 4K-capable PlayStation that Sony launched in 2016.
But even if the Xbox One leapfrogs the PS4 and PS4 Pro in terms of power, it still won't be winning when it comes to games. A huge part of the PS4's success is due to the system's big stable of high-quality exclusives — titles such as Uncharted 4, Horizon: Zero Dawn and Bloodborne are among the most well-received games of this generation.
It would seem a bit silly for Sony to release a new piece of hardware that suddenly makes all of those great games obsolete. Of course, Sony could opt to make the PS5 backwards compatible, but considering that the PS4 and PS3 barely supported the generation before them, it's not a guarantee. And at the end of the day, it feels like far too many people are familiar with the PS4 name for Sony just to start fresh.
When you think home console gaming, you think PS4.
In fact, I'd sooner expect Sony to release a revised PS4 Pro than I would an all-new PlayStation 5. That way, the PlayStation can still hold its own with Scorpio when it comes to performance, without sacrificing the PS4 brand that gamers clearly love so much.
If it were a different decade, the PS5's imminent arrival would be more believable — after all, the PS3 replaced the PS2 after 6 years; the Xbox 360 did the same for the Xbox after just 4. But we live in an era of half-step upgrades, where consoles like the PS4 and Xbox One get occasional refreshes that give gamers more power and better features without forcing them to leave behind their libraries.
Will a PS5 arrive eventually? Of course. But don't worry about your PS4 becoming obsolete anytime soon. It's simply doing too well.