It’s been several months since Sony released the PlayStation 5, and it’s fair to say that the console has been a runaway success. Despite the fact that many gamers can’t actually get their hands on one, those lucky few who have managed to procure a PS5 say that it’s one of Sony’s best consoles. It’s easy to see why; the PS5 plays games in native 4K with 8K capability, it’s got a lightning-fast SSD to cut loading times, and it’s got some of the best games around, with Demon’s Souls, Sackboy: A Big Adventure, and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla among its critically acclaimed launch lineup.
With this in mind, we don’t think it’s too early to start looking to the future. Specifically, we’re wondering whether Sony is going to produce a successor to the PS5. Of course, all we have at this point is speculation; we don’t know whether a PS6 is in the works, nor do we know what kind of form it will take should Sony decide to produce one. However, we can make some educated guesses based on the company’s previous form and what the future looks like for the gaming industry. Without further ado, let’s get into some of the questions around whether there will be a PS6 in the future!
When will the PS6 arrive?
This is the burning question: what is the potential PS6 launch date? Unfortunately, given that we’re so early into the PS5’s life cycle, we simply don’t know when we can expect a potential PlayStation 6 yet. However, we do have some clues. In a Game Informer interview, Sony Interactive Entertainment exec Masayasu Ito says that the PS5’s life cycle is intended to last around six to seven years. That would put it in line with the PS4, which launched in 2013 and was superseded by the PlayStation 5 in 2020 (although the PS4 is still in production).
It’s a safe bet, therefore, that the PS6 – should Sony even decide to make one – will arrive in around 2026 or 2027. Of course, this is entirely dependent on the performance of the PS5 and any potentially disruptive world events. The COVID-19 pandemic may not have had quite the effect on PS5 production that many thought it would, but it’s undeniably proved problematic for Sony in terms of manufacturing and distributing consoles, so if something similar happens in the future, it may interrupt the PS6’s launch. Still, don’t expect the console for a good few years yet.
What kind of specs will the PS6 have?
We can look at the PS5’s specs for clues as to what we might expect from the PS6. For one thing, the PS6 will almost certainly feature a solid state drive (SSD) as standard. Sony has been touting the benefits of the PS5’s SSD in terms of loading times and read speed, so the PS6 will definitely be powered by one of these drives as well. We can probably expect a larger capacity than the PS5’s 825GB drive, too, as the size of games increases and players don’t have space on their drives for everything they want to play concurrently.
Graphically, we can expect ray tracing technology to be pretty much industry standard in six to seven years. At present, ray tracing is something available in only a handful of games, and it’s incredibly demanding on hardware, so you’re not likely to see many ray tracing-compatible games hit 60fps on even the most powerful machines. That’ll change by 2026, when the PS6 will support, at minimum, 4k 60fps with ray tracing, with an 8k option available too.
What games will the PS6 launch with?
This one is a little more difficult to predict. The PS5 launched with Demon’s Souls as its flagship game, which is a rather brave choice given the niche appeal of From Software’s iconic dark RPG series. The game has performed very well in sales terms, though, so we could well see a return to this strategy for the PS6.
It’s also probable that we can expect several ports or remasters of late-period PS5 games, as this has been Sony’s strategy for a couple of generations; The Last of Us Remastered wasn’t a launch title for the PS4, but it did arrive early in the console’s life cycle, and the PS5 is getting a Final Fantasy VII Remake upgrade, so expect late PS5 games to arrive on PS6 as well.
Why might Sony choose not to make a PS6?
With hardware arguably reaching something of a plateau in terms of pure graphical fidelity, Sony may opt to move away from a traditional console upgrade strategy in favour of something more nebulous. Cloud gaming is increasing rapidly in popularity, with Microsoft pouring a lot of resources into its Project xCloud (now simply called Xbox Cloud Gaming) streaming service. We could see Sony doing the same thing.
Another reason Sony might opt not to make a PS6 is that the PS5 sales fiasco has somewhat hurt the company in terms of reputation. Many gamers are smarting because they haven’t been able to get a PS5, and that might inspire Sony to move away from traditional consoles and try something that won’t require gamers to be up at stupid o’clock, staring bleakly at their PC monitors while scalpers rob them of the chance to buy a console.
In the end, it’s almost an inevitability that Sony will produce a PS6, and that it will indeed be called the PlayStation 6. The strategy has been working for the company so far, and the PS5 has debuted to incredibly strong sales. While it’s a number of years away yet, we’re extremely confident that there will be a PS6, so the good times of PlayStation gaming will continue for a long while.