This week, we finally got a bit of good news from Sony, that we appear to be on the back end of the chip shortage for the coming fiscal year, where they’re predicting they’ll have enough components to increase PS5 sales by 50% over last year.
And yet given the state of the market, demand for current consoles and the tech inside them, unlike the PS4/Xbox Series X generation, the idea that we’re just a year or two away from a PS5 Pro or an Xbox Series Y/Z/A is a much tougher sell than last time.
- The PS4 was released in 2013, and the PS4 Pro was out three years later in 2016
- The Xbox Series X was also released in 2013, and waited another year so the Xbox One X had a power edge over the Pro in 2017.
- Meanwhile, the Xbox Series X/S and PS5 both came out in 2020. It’s now mid 2022, meaning by last year’s schedule, we should be approaching the “midpoint” where these consoles might have a “Pro” bump.
But again, it’s a different market now. Years of shortages have created where demand still isn’t remotely close to meeting supply for the Xbox Series X and PS5, with the PS5 in particular continuing to sell out in mere minutes whenever any stock is made available. It seems like there would be little point in Sony starting to ramp up development and production of a PS5 Pro when they’re only just now getting a handle on the base PS5 market, which does not seem remotely close to a price cut, as why would it be? And even then with these new increased sales predictions, they still say they’re probably not going to meet demand.
Of the two consoles, I’d say Xbox is more likely to potentially do a “Pro” system, but you also have to wonder about the diminishing returns of what such a thing would add. The tech inside these new gen consoles is already tremendous and developers still haven’t fully maxed it out. I just doubt you’d see the sort of power differential between the Xbox One and the Xbox One X. Remember the XB1 was seen as “underpowered” when it debuted, but absolutely no one is saying that about the Series X this time around. There’s no narrative to correct, no huge leap forward to better compete with Sony. Microsoft is also just caring less about hardware in general lately, and looking to bolster Xbox Game Pass subscriptions. So you’ll see probably…smaller tech, Game Pass boxes that stream games to your TV effectively, things like that.
We may see a “slim” refresh instead, like we do in most generations. This wouldn’t be a power bump, but I think we can all agree the PS5 is stupidly huge and could stand to lose a few pounds. The Series X has less of a footprint, but if they could cram it down to Series S size, or close, that would be neat. But again, that’s not the same thing as a Pro mid-gen upgrade.
We’ll see what happens, but I don’t think the market is right for something like this at this point. And by the time it is ready, these companies may just wait for the next fully new generation by then.
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