PS5: what do past Sony console launches tell us about PlayStation 5 reveal?

We delve into Sony's history to glean some clues about the upcoming PS5

Sony PS5 PlayStation 5
(Image credit: Concept Creator)

The PS5 reveal is just a few weeks away - on February 29 if the most recent rumours are to be believed - but with no official word from Sony, we're still largely in the dark. The only announcement we've had from the company is the official Sony PlayStation 5 webpage going live, reconfirming the holiday 2020 launch window, and letting fans sign up for future updates on the console.

So until we get some more breadcrumbs to go on, we're taking a look back at the console maker's history, from its first foray into the video game industry to its latest success with the PS4 - the most popular console of this generation. 

PlayStation console

(Image credit: PlayStation)

If it weren't for Nintendo ditching Sony as its development partner, the console landscape could look a lot different than it does today. Originally brought on board by Nintendo to develop a console using a CD format, Sony was ultimately ousted in favour of Philips, but rather than abandon the work it had already done, the company forged ahead with the manufacture of its own console, keeping the Play Station moniker from its project with Nintendo. 

That decision landed Sony in hot water with Nintendo, who pursued a court case for an injunction, but it was denied and Sony made the decision to re-brand its machine, giving birth to the original PlayStation which launched in Japan in 1994, before getting an international release the following year, and sold a total of 102.5 million units.

PlayStation 2

(Image credit: PlayStation)

The PS2 launched in 2000 and sold over a whopping 155 million units worldwide, making it the best-selling console of all time. It was manufactured right up until 2013, with over 4,000 games released for the platform, leading Sony to flaunt its title as the most played console of all time.

It revolutionised console gaming by introducing features like a DVD player, backwards compatibility, and internet connectivity, setting a new standard that has carried through to the machines we game on today. Sony released a slim version of the console in 2004 which is another trend that we've seen carry on through the years, with Microsoft following suit. The current lineup of consoles we have today from both of them includes more than one model, aimed at different demographics and their needs. No console has come close to the PS2's success since. 

PS3 console

(Image credit: PlayStation)

First announced at E3 2005, the PS3 didn't actually hit the market until 2006, and was the first console to feature a Blu-ray disc drive for games and films. The UK release was particularly contentious with customers understandably irked at the price tag of £425 which was significantly higher than Japan's ¥60,000 and US' $599.99, which equated to £250 and £300 respectively, at the time. 

The launch lineup wasn't stellar either, which didn't help. A slim version was also released, but the console failed to perform as well for Sony as its predecessor, or even the original PlayStation, and the total lifetime sales only reached 87.4 million units. 

PlayStation 4 console

(Image credit: Sony)

And that brings us to the PS4, which is Sony's second-best selling console to date. Announced in 2013 at the PlayStation Meeting at the Hammerstein Ballroom in the Manhattan Center, New York, Sony opted to step away from E3 for the unveiling. 

The events - the first of its kind for the company - was also live streamed, and the DualShock 4 controller was revealed alongside the console. We also saw upcoming titles for the platform at the show, giving fans a taste of what they had to look forward to.

It had a slew of social features, a strong lineup of exclusive games, and a price point that wasn't as offensive as the PS3. Sony further diversified the hardware with its PS4 Slim and more powerful PS4 Pro models, and has sold over 106 million units as of December, 2019.

Sony PS5 PlayStation 5

(Image credit: Concept Creator)

After the bump in the road that was the PS3, Sony righted the ship with the launch of the PS4, and if it continues to stay in touch with what its audience wants, there's no reason it shouldn't be able to replicate the success it enjoyed with the PS4.

We're expecting the console to be a powerhouse, and if it nabs platform exclusives of the standard we saw this generation, with the likes of God of War, Horizon Zero Dawn, and Spider-Man, gamers will flock to the console for the content that's available on it. 

Sony is also innovating on the hardware front, giving its controller a makeover with the DualShock 5 and going so far as to make the new features an option for the DualShock 4 with the new Back Button Attachment.

As long as the price isn't too steep and it maintains the social aspects of the console, Sony is set to hit it out of the park with the launch of PlayStation 5.