The ninth console generation is well underway, and although there are likely to be a few more years left before Sony starts thinking about where it’s going next, we’re betting that a next-gen machine is already in the planning stages.
Don’t get us wrong; the PS5 still has plenty of life left in it, of course, and the latest mid-generation refresh sees Sony’s current-gen console freshen up before the PS6 starts setting the rumour mill spinning.
However, the PS6 is almost certainly at least a glint in Sony’s eye, if not an already-existent prototype in the PlayStation offices, so we thought it would be a good time to look ahead to what the PS6 will look like and what kind of innovations it’ll bring.
There will almost certainly be a PS6
Naturally, we can’t say there will “definitely” be a PS6 with any degree of certainty, but we’d be very, very surprised if Sony took an unconventional route with its new console.
Thanks to the Xbox leak in September, we now know that Microsoft is, or was at some stage, planning a mid-generation Xbox Series X refresh that changes up the design of the console and takes away the disc drive.
Sony, then, would be fairly wise to stick to its guns in terms of console design, in our opinion.
There will be plenty of consumers who are disgruntled with Microsoft’s move away from physical media, and Sony has always adopted a slightly more traditionalist approach than Microsoft.
That’s why we think the PS6 is almost certainly forthcoming, and we think it’ll likely remain relatively conventional in terms of PlayStation console design; expect a Blu-ray drive, just like the PS5 has.
PlayStation Console Release Dates
|PlayStation||December 1994||Released in Japan first, then North America, Europe, and other regions in subsequent months.|
|PlayStation 2||March 2000||Became the best-selling video game console of all time.|
|PlayStation 3||November 2006||Introduced the Blu-ray disc format and online connectivity via PlayStation Network.|
|PlayStation 4||November 2013||Improved hardware specs, introduced the Share button, and enhanced social play features.|
|PlayStation 5||November 2020||Brought significant hardware improvements, including faster SSDs and ray-tracing capabilities.|
|PlayStation 6||TBD||As of January 2022, no official release date or detailed information.|
What specs will the PS6 have?
It’s far too early to meaningfully speculate regarding the PlayStation 6’s specs.
However, we can say with some certainty that the console will likely target 4K gaming at 60 frames per second, because that’s something current-generation console gaming has struggled with to some degree.
It’s also likely that the PS6 will support 8K gaming in some capacity, although since this technology is still in its infancy (and many people have yet to even adopt 4K technology), don’t expect it to be a major selling point.
Naturally, the processing power and graphics capabilities of the PS6 will also be leaps and bounds ahead of the PS5, although again, the gaming landscape of the future is almost impossible to predict with certainty.
Ray tracing is likely to be a large part of what makes the PS6 special; right now, ray tracing is hard to recommend because of the massive demands it makes on even top-end graphics cards, but by the time the PS6 rolls around, ray tracing is likely to be a must-have for many gamers.
We also wouldn’t be surprised to see some form of resolution upscaling to help the console deal with more intensive games; the PS5 uses a custom AMD chip, so some kind of Super Resolution implementation wouldn’t surprise us at all.
In terms of internal storage and memory, we’re also expecting the PS6 to improve significantly on the PS5’s strangely-sized SSD.
The solid state drive will, of course, remain, but the PS6 will likely have a larger-capacity storage device to accommodate the fact that many gamers are moving towards digital purchases, which take up a lot of space on the drive.
Will there be a new PS6 VR headset?
Since Sony has produced a new VR headset for the last two PlayStation generations, we’d be surprised if some kind of PlayStation VR3 wasn’t incoming for the PS6.
This is far into the future, of course, and it’s practically impossible to state with any degree of certainty whether there will be a new VR headset to accompany the PS6.
However, Sony is clearly banking on VR tech to some degree; it’s evidently part of the company’s strategy, and so a PS VR3 wouldn’t be a surprise for us.
If one is made, it will likely come with more advanced controller tech. We might see finger tracking implemented into the controllers, for instance, in a similar vein to Valve’s Index VR set.
Naturally, we can also expect more high-fidelity visuals from a potential PS VR3, as well as other innovations that should make the headset lighter and more comfortable to wear over long periods of time.
Will there be PS6 shortages like there were for the PS5?
One of the biggest complaints from gamers when it comes to the PS5 was the inability to actually acquire a machine.
Close to launch (and for a long time afterwards, for that matter), the PS5 was almost impossible to obtain. Retail outlets sold out of PS5s almost instantly, leading many scalpers on sites like eBay to list consoles at exorbitant markups.
At time of writing, the situation has calmed down. Demand has remained steady, but supply has increased, and it’s now possible to get a PS5 from pretty much anywhere that sells them.
It’s hard to know whether the shortage issue will return to plague the PS6, as the shortages were caused by many geopolitical phenomena, including (but not limited to) the war in Ukraine, the US-China trade war, and COVID-19.
As such, global conditions around the PS6’s release will dictate whether or not there will be a console shortage.
However, Sony is likely to want to avoid such a problem again, as it likely led many gamers to avoid trying to pick up a PS5 in the early days of the console.
We can therefore expect Sony to try everything it can to make sure PS6 consoles end up in the hands of gamers, and barring another global pandemic or similar worldwide disaster, PS6 supply should hopefully be more robust as a result.