I don't think anyone could have predicted the final design of the PS5 that Sony revealed yesterday. It's a far cry from the leaked devkit that made the rounds months ago, and it's not that similar to fan renders I've seen going around either. It's also a huge departure from what Sony has delivered in previous generations.
The PS5 doesn't seem to belong to the same family as the previous PlayStation consoles.
My first thought upon seeing it, other than my satisfaction with the design, was just how futuristic it looked. It looks like something pulled straight out of a movie set decades from now (or from decades ago depending on how you look at it). Not only does the PS5 sport a two-toned color scheme, breaking from the traditional black with a solid white, it features a flared shell that looks to separate from the interior section, nearly enclosing the rest within it. A we can tell from some of the memes people are already making, it also fits the aesthetic of modern architecture.
In stark contrast, all previous PlayStations before it seemed so plain. The PS2 and PS4 were essentially black boxes, with a few slants thrown for the aesthetic in the PS4's case. The PS3 might be the most unique, not including the PS5, and you can still see the familial resemblance between its predecessors and successors.
The PlayStation 5 is different. If had every generation of PlayStation lined up in front of me, I would not immediately assume the PS5 belonged to the same family of consoles.
PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan spoke with CNET about the design decisions following its reveal. According to Ryan, the company wanted something modern and built for the 2020s.
"We wanted to do something that was bold and daring almost. We wanted something forward facing and future facing, something for the 2020s," he said.
In other interview with the BBC, Ryan said, "The PlayStation sits in the living area of most homes, and we kind of felt it would be nice to provide a design that would really grace most living areas. That's what we've tried to do. And, you know, we think we've been successful in that."
Compared to the large brick that is the Xbox Series X, it couldn't be more different. Microsoft clearly went for function over form, foregoing an eye-catching design in favor of building a machine that runs as efficiently as possible — consoles can get hot, and all that heat has to so somewhere, after all. Sony looks like it tried to marry form and function, at least judging from the initial reveal. It's unclear just how efficiently it will run, but a common complaint about the PS4 was that it ran too hot and sounded like a jet engine.
This does pose questions as to whether or not Sony sacrificed performance with the PS5 and if there will be issues down the line as a result. We don't yet know how its internals are laid out or how Sony plans to keep the console cool. Sony surely wouldn't want a repeat of what happened with Microsoft's Xbox 360 and its infamous Red Ring of Death, so let's hope that whatever cooling system the company uses will be sufficient and quiet.
The design is easy to make fun of it, but I'm all for flared, round edges and color scheme.
The DualSense was our first indication that Sony was aiming for a forward-facing design like no other in the console space. People frequently talk about future-proofing, but it's glossed over that how this applies to the design of the hardware itself. Sony clearly took that into consideration here.
I personally love the design that Sony went with. It's easy to make fun of it, but I'm all for flared, round edges and color scheme. It's modern, and that's exactly what I want.
We keep hearing about a massive generational leap in terms of what the PS5 and Xbox Series X can deliver. Where the Xbox Series X fails to portray this at first glance, the PS5 definitely does so.