After the unusually long seventh generation console cycle, Sony launched the PlayStation 4 in 2013 and since then the console has been a resounding success, selling almost 100 million consoles worldwide. However, PS4 sales have started to slow, and fans are now looking to see the future of the PlayStation brand will offer.
Rumors and speculation abound when it comes to the PlayStation 5 and its features, but Sony has yet to say anything official about its forthcoming console. However, speculation and patents have given gamers a pretty good idea of what to expect.
6 Backward Compatibility
There once was a time when backward compatibility was clearly important to Sony and the PlayStation brand. One of the main selling points of the PS2 was its ability to play PS1 games, and the original PS3 could access both the libraries of the PS1 and PS2. Later iterations of the PS3 removed backward compatibility to cut the cost of manufacturing the console, and the PS4 has had no true backward compatibility to speak of, though some classic games have been re-released on the platform and some older games are available through PlayStation Now.
Sony has filed some patents to suggest that the upcoming PlayStation 5 will be backward compatible with not just PS4 games, but PS1, PS2, and PS3 titles as well. It's possible that this will just be an expanded version of its PlayStation Now service, but with Xbox pushing backward compatibility as a major feature of its platform, it makes sense for Sony to step up its game in this area.
5 PlayStation VR Support
Consumers were slow to adopt virtual reality technology, but it has since caught on in a bigger way, particularly when it comes to the PlayStation VR headset. Thanks to a lower price point, PlayStation VR has hit its stride and is home to critically-acclaimed games like Astro Bot: Rescue Mission and Moss.
Considering PlayStation VR's momentum, it wouldn't make sense for Sony to abandon the headset on the PlayStation 4, and so some have speculated that PSVR will be compatible with the PlayStation 5. And if not the current version of PlayStation VR, perhaps Sony will release a newer, even better headset to work with its next console instead.
4 PSX 2019 Reveal
Some rumors and analysts have pegged the PlayStation 5 for a 2019 release, but if that were true, it would likely have been announced by now. A 2020 release date seems more realistic, and if that is the case, then PlayStation fans should be able to count on Sony's new console to be revealed by the end of the year.
With Sony skipping E3 2019, many have speculated that the PlayStation 5 will be announced at this year's PlayStation Experience event instead. It's possible that PSX 2019 will take place this summer, as the Asian versions of the event have, or it may stick to its traditional December timeframe. Regardless, rumors have pointed to the PlayStation 5 having a big reveal at PSX 2019, with the event being entirely dedicated to the console, its features, and hopefully, its games.
Streaming video games and offering a "Netflix for Games"-style service seems to be where the industry is headed, and both Sony and Microsoft have started exploring that space. Sony is expected to more aggressively pursue video game streaming with the PlayStation 5, perhaps through an updated version of its PlayStation Now service.
2 Switch-Like Features
After the sales failure of the Wii U, the Switch has been a major hit for Nintendo, and even has the distinction of being the fastest-selling video game console in the history of the United States. Nintendo's competitors have no doubt paid attention to the Switch's success, and rumors point to Sony making the PlayStation 5 more Switch-like as a result.
Rumors have suggested that the PS5 will use cartridges instead of discs, and Sony has actually patented a device that's very reminiscent of the Switch's design. Of course, it's possible that this patent is actually for a device other than the PS5, but fans will just have to wait and see on that front.
1 Touchscreen Controller
Speaking of patents, Sony has also filed a patent for a touchscreen controller, prompting speculation that the DualShock 5 will have such technology. A touchscreen seems like the next logical step from the PS4's touchpad, and while the Wii U wasn't a big sales success, it did offer some benefits that would be nice to see continue in some form.
For example, games could use a touchscreen on the PS5 controller for inventory management or providing other information that would usually clutter up the television screen. There are many other ways that a touchscreen controller could provide some unique benefits, but they may also cost more to produce, which is something that Sony will have to consider when making the PlayStation 5 and its controller.
Whether or not any of these features actually make it to the final PlayStation 5 product remains to be seen. However, with the PS4 nearly six years old and sales of the console slowing, one can count on a PlayStation 5 announcement to come sooner rather than later. PlayStation fans looking forward to the PlayStation 5 will want to keep a look out for any big events from the PlayStation brand throughout 2019.