Sony Doesn't Need a PS5 to Kick Scorpio's Butt

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

(Image 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.

MORE: PS4 vs. Xbox One: Which Console Is Right for You?

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.

Michael Andronico

Mike Andronico is Senior Writer at CNNUnderscored. He was formerly Managing Editor at Tom's Guide, where he wrote extensively on gaming, as well as running the show on the news front. When not at work, you can usually catch him playing Street Fighter, devouring Twitch streams and trying to convince people that Hawkeye is the best Avenger.

  • forbagr
    No Gears of War. If they would find a way I'd make the jump immediately.
  • Sydney_4
    One place I think you're dead wrong Mike is when it comes to backward compatibility. I would be incredibly surprised if the PS5 doesn't use an X86 architecture. Sony's Playstation 4 is a custom SFF PC. There's no reason to change the recipe now.
  • hvd___
    we know you are scared wait for the real native 4k console.

    fyi the reason the ps5 will come early is because it will destroy sony in every
  • keithdmitchell
    Will a PS5 arrive eventually? Of course. But don't worry about your PS4 becoming obsolete anytime soon. It's simply doing too well.

    If that was the case, we would not have the PS4 Pro. Don't confuse software with hardware, those are not interchangeable. Never have been.
  • keithdmitchell
    Darn, I wasn't finished. Sony has destroyed Microsoft this round, similar to what MS did to Sony the last generation. The thing here that most people forget or ignore is that Sony has Japan's backing, meaning they have access to series and titles that MS will never have.

    That has cost MS big time. Most of that has been Japanese companies/developers refusing to support the Xbox, while others has been MS's ignorance and neglect towards niche and indie games. Now they're playing catch-up, way too late in the game. The Scorpio will eat every console on the market alive, but with no games, it's a useless but fantastic piece of tech.

    Yet at the same time, you're also forgetting that the PS4 Pro came out as Sony was afraid that gamers would live the platform and migrate to the Pc. Why do you think they're grabbing exclusive deal after another, keeping content exclusively on the PS4? This isn't just to combat the Xbox brand but also PC. Gamers go where the content is and if you hold it ransom, they're going to come with or without a choice.
  • Charles_161
    This story assumes that the games on the PS4 is better than the XBOX ONe .. that depends on what you like to play ..Like Gears of war vs Uncharted.. Sounds like the polling they did on the elections this pass year .. (and got it all wrong) :-)
  • marc_57
    For about 3 years now ti's been about 1080p Vs 900p or 720p, and now you wont to to say it's not about power. Well no ! PS4 PRO was a cost saving fill in to sale to Sony fanboys.

    Mark Cerny Even said you can only do native 4K with 8TF. So how did that work out for you?
  • ManBitesDog_1
    So now, suddenly, the most powerful console isn't a factor anymore. It sure was when Sony and their fans, were touting their specs v.s the XB1...I don't think you can put the toothpaste back in the tube, no matter how you slant it. Power matters, always has in any console generation.
  • Animatic
    Oh dear...
    So many Xbox fans are upset.
    Anyway down to the point he was making the PS4 has to many fans to let a slightly more powerful console over throw it.
    Plus we all know the scorpio is going to be overpriced but yet the PS4 pro released at the same price of the original, well thank you very much Xbox fans we owe it all to the never ending failure of the Xbox one that the dynamic 4k was achieved at such a price. ;)