For all the PlayStation 5 (PS5) hype, we don’t really know that much about Sony’s next-gen console.
Case in point: At CES 2020, Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan said that the PS5 would have six key features that make it “future-proof.” Yet we don’t have any clue about what those features are.
We can bank on things like backward compatibility, along with more streaming and sharing functions. But if the PS5 is really going to be “future-proof,” there’s one feature that’s absolutely critical.
The only real ways to future-proof a gaming console are to make it unnecessarily powerful or easily upgradeable. Unless Sony’s unbelievably stupid, they’d choose the latter option.
Making the PS5 overpowered might mean it’s still relevant for (a few) years to come, but it would also make it horrendously expensive right now.
Allowing PS5 owners to upgrade their hardware evades this problem, though it does create its own issues. If PS5 upgrades are too much like PC customization, then chaos could ensue. You could buy a game, only to find it’s not compatible with your hardware setup. Plus, you’d have to open up your system to add power to it.
Luckily, there’s a solution: modular design.
If the PS5 comes with the ability to swap out hardware modules easily, then gamers could ensure their consoles have the power to play AAA releases almost indefinitely. All without the need to open the PS5, void the warranty, and risk breaking the device in the process.
Imagine being able to hang onto the console you’ve already purchased rather than needing to buy a new one each generation.
Obviously, the prospect of a modular console remains a long-shot – and not just because gaming companies want to sell you new hardware at least once or twice a decade.
A modular PS5 would be unfamiliar to many gamers. For power users, the change might be minor (and welcome!). But for the average consumer, an upgradeable system could be a bit baffling.
It would be a big gamble for Sony.
It sounds ironic, but if they do make the PS5 future-proof, they might end up regretting it.