Rumors of a PS5 Pro launch aren’t quite as rife as they have been of late. We’re almost two years into the life cycle of Sony’s latest console, so it does feel a little early to start talking about PS5 Pro. However, Sony has taken a little step towards that with the new PS5 DualSense Edge controller.
Weirdly the latest rumor is that Sony is gearing up for launching a PS5 model with a separate, external disc drive, which would be the fourth iteration of the PS5 so far. However, it’s not quite a PS5 Pro…
Truth be told, whether a PS5 Pro arrives in 2023, 2024, or sometime later, a PS5 Pro does feel inevitable – given the precedent PlayStation set in the last generation with the PS4 Pro. For those of you who don’t remember the details, back in 2016 Sony refreshed the PlayStation 4 hardware to help mitigate a surprisingly long generation cycle, delivering a console that would not only play every title from the PS4 back-catalog but allow new releases to run with higher frame rates, output with 4K visuals, and run with more stability than their base PS4 counterparts.
This technological advancement set the stage for the PS5. It was perfect for players who were looking for a little more performance out of their favorite PS4 games, it gave those with a passing interest in virtual reality a stronger case to adopt early into PSVR, and showed us the potential for 4K and HDR-infused experiences. It’s no surprise that Microsoft delivered a mid-generation hardware recycle of its own with the Xbox One X, touting a similar boost to performance, frame rate, and resolution.
What of the PS5 Pro, then? While Sony is only now in the midst of releasing its first wave of first-party PS5 exclusives beyond the launch window with the launches of Horizon Forbidden West and Gran Turismo 7, and God of War Ragnarok set to release later this year, it isn’t out of the realms of possibility that the platform holder is already looking towards the future – after all, CPUs and GPUs are always improving and dropping in price, the quality of TVs and sound systems are getting better too, as are virtual reality and augmented reality headsets.
So, while we wait for new PS5 restock updates, join us as we speculate on what the future may hold for the hypothetical PS5 Pro in the future.
PS5 Pro design
Say what you will about the design of the PS5, but it’s a hefty bit of kit. It’s a miracle that the PS5 runs as quietly and as cooly as it does, but that’s likely the reason we’re dealing with a home console that absolutely dominates live room spaces. While there are already calls out there for Sony to release a PS5 Slim to reduce PlayStation’s real estate beneath your television set, there’s no telling what a PS5 Pro could look like.
If you remember back to 2016, the PS4 Pro was markedly larger than the base PS4 – it looked like a three-tier layer cake made up of PS4 Slims. If PlayStation is intent on pushing for 8K fidelity and other upgrades, that could come at the cost of size. If you aren’t a fan of the white design of the PS5 and are hoping that a PS5 Pro would change up the color configuration, don’t forget that Sony released Official PS5 faceplates in five colourways and a line of DualSense controllers in different colors to match.
PS5 Pro price and release date
While uncorroborated rumors surfaced last year suggesting that a PS5 Pro console could be on the way as early as 2023 or 2024, that seems unlikely given the stock shortages impacting the base PS5 console right now. There are chip shortages throttling production owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and while a change in the internal chipset on a refreshed PS5 Pro could help ease the strain on supply, we’re in uncharted waters right now.
Ultimately, the PS4 Pro launched three years after the PS4 made its debut. It was an answer to advancements in technology far outstripping what the home consoles could reasonably handle, and it made sense to push for advancements in fidelity and performance to avoid players getting left behind when compared to what PC gamers would soon be enjoying. It’s unclear whether a PS5 Pro will be as necessary in 2023, although improvements and price reductions to 8K TVs – and a shift in stock, price, and quality of desktop graphics cards – could change all that.
Speaking of price, the PS5 is yet to see a price reduction on its base RRP of $499/£449. The PS4 Pro originally launched as an effective replacement for the base PS4 at $399/£349, allowing the PS4 Slim to come in as a cheaper alternative on store shelves. Given the high price point of the PS5, you’d hope that Sony would follow a similar pattern here, although it really does depend on how costly the internals are in production.
PS5 Pro specs
It’s difficult to predict what the PS5 Pro specs could look like. According to a new report, the PS5 Pro performance should be double that of the base PS5, but couldn’t give exact specs or even reported hardware inclusions.
At the very least, it’s worth considering that there are a number of features that the PS5 is missing and which early adopters are lamenting. This includes 1440p output support, along with Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision compatibility. Whether these additions would necessitate a fully-fledged PS5 Pro remains to be seen, but they are still high on the PS5 wishlist for features. Of course, the PS5 is a bit of a beast, able to output capably at 4K, at a solid 60 FPS, ray-tracing continues to impress, and what small implementations of 120hz gaming have been dazzling too. If there were to be a PS5 Pro hardware refresh, many will be hoping to see a console which is capable of hitting peak performance of 4K at 60FPS with ray-tracing enabled.
And if the tech giants are to be believed, we are only a few years away from 8K TVs and monitors being more commonplace in the home. The PS5 will reportedly be able to output games at 8K with a future system update (opens in new tab), but with 8K TV and monitor panels being so inaccessible to most consumers it’s difficult to know whether this will ultimately come true.
It seems more likely that any improvements to hardware will be focused around a renewed interest in virtual reality. While details on PSVR 2 are light on the ground, if Sony really wants to compete with the best VR headsets – the Oculus Quest 2, Valve Index, HTC Vive Pro 2, and whatever should come next from the major manufacturers – then the PS5 will need to be capable of delivering unwavering performance, high graphic output, and transformative virtual reality experiences in the coming years.
With PSVR 2 and 8K gaming to consider, Sony could look to incorporate forthcoming GPU and CPU architecture (the 5nm Zen 4 and RDNA-3 GPU, perhaps) from AMD – a more viable proposition when we start looking to 2023 and 2024. Of course, given that the PS5 currently uses a custom chipset based on the Zen 2 processor and RDNA 2 graphics from AMD, it really is difficult to know how far Sony is willing to push the internals to achieve 8K output versus cost effectiveness for consumers.
Should you wait for a PS5 Pro or buy a PS5?
While the existence of a PS5 Pro is purely speculative at this juncture, we do know that Sony has big ambitions in the 8K space. Before the PS5 launched, Sony was promoting TVs that apparently support 8K resolution and 120 frames-per-second that are “PS5-ready” on the PlayStation blog (opens in new tab). Meanwhile, a massive Q&A explained (opens in new tab) that “PS5 is compatible with 8K displays at launch, and after a future system software update will be able to output resolutions up to 8K when content is available, with supported software.” If Sony is serious about 8K, VR, and 120fps, then that’s where the PS5 Pro will surely factor in – especially as we’re yet to really see games deliver native 4K at 60fps with ray-tracing enabled.
Right now, there are widespread stock shortages of the PS5. It’s proving difficult to get hold of a system, especially with the best PS5 games, and a long list of amazing-looking upcoming PS5 games, vying for our collective attention. But if you can find a PS5 at RRP, if you’ve done your research on the console and the PS5 exclusives, and you’re happy with that decision, then we’d recommend going all-in. 8K graphics and a 120 frames-per-second future seems as speculative as the PS5 Pro right now – Hell, we haven’t even seen what PSVR 2 looks like yet, let alone what its games will be like. Don’t put off enjoyment today for an incalculable amount of enjoyment in the future.