Aside from a few exceptions here and there, the current console generation introduced many players to the concept of more powerful models introduced at the middle of the cycle. Now, one next-generation console may get the same treatment, but with one major difference as rumors are pointing to a PlayStation 5 Pro being launched alongside its base model next year.
The rumor comes courtesy of Japanese journalist Zenji Nishikawa, who published a video report on subject on his YouTube channel. Nishikawa claimed that Sony will be launching a two different PlayStation 5 models next year, one of which is the more powerful Pro model. He further stated that the company has acknowledged players interest in a high-end model, and has decided to do so right at the start of the console generation.
Everything that Nishikawa has stated is just a rumor since Sony, of course, has yet to officially reveal concrete details on the upcoming PlayStation 5, let alone a Pro model. That said, the journalist does bring some credibility to the table. Nishikawa has proven to be a reliable source of information in regards to console releases, with him accurately predicting the release of the Nintendo Switch Lite well before it was announced. More importantly, Nishikawa also broke the news of the existence of the PlayStation 4 Pro.
Released on September of 2016, the PlayStation 4 Pro brought in a feature that the original PlayStation 4 missed out on — support for 4K resolutions as well as better performance. With it, Sony (as well as Microsoft, as it was also working on the Xbox One X) took a gamble that gamers would be willing to buy a mid-generation upgrade to an existing console.
That said, players had already been exposed to a similar process. Nintendo had already been releasing various refreshes and updates to its Game Boy, DS, and 3DS line of handhelds for years. Today, Kyoto-based company is continuing this practice with the Switch Lite.
If Sony does release a PlayStation 5 Pro at launch, it’ll be doing something no console manufacturer has done. Other systems have had two versions at launch but those were usually just differences in hard drive sizes. For example, the PS3 launched with two hard drive sizes: 20 GB and 60 GB. The 20 GB version, in addition to having less hard drive space, also did not have flash card readers. Prior examples of actual hardware upgrades have usually come later in a system’s life, usually to add a feature not available when the original came out, such as the aforementioned 4K support.
While Sony has yet to reveal a number of details about the console, it has already talked about some of the PlayStation 5’s capabilities. Among these, Sony confirmed that the upcoming console would support 8K resolutions and have blazing fast load times. With PS4 lead architect Mark Cerny mentioning that “TVs that deliver it are few and far between,” during a demo of a prototype of the console, it may be that 8K could be something reserved for the Pro model.
While launching a PlayStation 5 Pro model at launch may look risky from a video game point of view, Sony could be looking to a different market for inspiration. Smartphone and tablet customers are no stranger to having to choose between regular and more powerful versions of devices at launch. This strategy allows folks on a budget still get the latest smartphone without necessarily having to buy the more expensive model. Could Sony then be looking to apply the same strategy to its next-generation console? With the PlayStation 5 set to launch sometime next year, we’ll likely find out before the year is out.