In a report by Tom Henderson of Insider Gaming, Sony is planning an inevitable hardware overhaul for the PlayStation 5 sometime next year, including a potential removable disk drive, which surprised some.
While this is speculation at the moment, Henderson’s track record is solid enough that we think this may be the case with Sony’s consoles in the future. However, take every leak with a pinch of salt.
PS5 Slim hardware changes: removable optical drive, new case
According to reports, the new PS5 will come with a removable optical drive and a new case. As of now, the PS5 is available as a full version with an optical drive or a cheaper, discless, digital-only version.
Presumably, this leaked “PS5 Slim” will achieve a smaller size by eliminating the drive entirely in favor of an external drive. This will give Sony the opportunity to completely scale back the slender design chosen for the current version.
While the PS5 was necessary for internal cooling, it was criticized at launch and launch for being too large.
We especially hope that the round top of the PS5 will be eliminated and reverted to the flat PS4 aesthetic so that the device can sit on top again.
To support external drives, it looks like Sony will include an additional USB-C port on the device, which we assume will also serve as an input and output for the upcoming PlayStation VR2 headset.
Current PS5 version
The PS5 recently got a makeover. While this is common on the hardware front, the PS5 changes are particularly interesting because Sony has changed the internal layout of the device. This reduces the load of 300 grams and 200 grams for the digital edition.
The changes may also help Sony deal with a semiconductor shortage that has persisted after production shutdowns in recent years. Eliminating the floppy drive allowed resources to be devoted to producing as many consoles as possible and selling the floppy drive itself.
We expect the next version of the PS5 to be a lot cheaper than its big brother. While PS5 prices have risen recently, the PS3 and PS4 Slim bring more affordable price points that can move between more mid-cycle units.
The entry price for the Slim is $299, down from the $599 entry price of the original PS3. While we don’t think it will, we do expect Sony to push the Xbox Series S further, which currently retails for $249.
The S-Series is the budget variant of the X-Series, ditching 4K capabilities and drives in favor of diskless, cheaper alternatives.
However, Sony won’t release a console that will reduce performance and be able to lower costs as a PCIe 4.0 drive, and the AMD parts inside will be cheaper sometime next year. According to reports, the new PS5 will come with the exact hardware that supports the current version.
Switching the drive to an external option also keeps Sony from completely eliminating its disc sales, where most PS4 and PS5 games are still sold via disc. That could put the new PS5 version up against both the Xbox Series S and X.
It is currently reported that bundles will exist or be sold separately. However, it reminds us of the Xbox 360’s HD DVD drive, which had to sit wobbly on or near the console in order to play the brief red-top replacement Blu-ray.
When will the new PS5 models launch?
According to a report by Tom Hendersen, Sony is considering a September 2023 release date for the new PlayStation 5.
The PS5 itself launched in 2020, with a 2023 launch bringing it in line with previous generations of consoles. Both the PS4 Slim and the first-gen PS3 Slim were released three years after their launch.
Meanwhile, the PS2 Slim launched in 2004, four years after the original, and the PS One nearly six years after it was first released in 1994.
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