The PlayStation 5 launch event could be weeks or months away. We have no idea when it’ll happen at this point, as Sony is yet to say anything. And none of the most recent PS5 rumors and leaks mentioned any details about Sony’s upcoming PS5 announcement. However, one of the leaks we just saw suggested that the PS5 design that someone accidentally discovered last year might be the real thing. Now, a second report that’s focused on the PlayStation 5’s price also included a tiny detail that makes us think this leaked PS5 design might be the real deal.
A Sony patent revelation a few months ago led to more and more developers leaking images like the one that follows below. That’s what the PS5 dev kit console looks like, and that’s what studios have been using for the past few months to create games for the new console. The prototype device packs the same hardware as the final PS5 that will be released ahead of the holidays this year, so that developers can get the full PS5 experience while building their new games.
For a long time, we thought the dev kit design is meaningless, as the commercial version of the PS5 would look a lot different. But what made us think twice was the immense effort that went into designing and manufacturing this thing. This isn’t just a bland box that can run PlayStation games, like previous-generation dev kits. It’s a bold design, one that Sony even took the effort to patent, which is a strange move for a dev kit that’ll never see the light of day.
With that in mind, it seems like the release version of the PS5 could end up looking a lot like this, and we already saw leaks a few days ago suggesting the PS5 will indeed have an inverted “V” shape.
The V design serves two purposes. First of all, it’s an indication you’re looking at the PS5, with “V” being the Roman numeral for 5. Secondly, the V architecture might help with cooling. That whole elaborate design seems to favor the quick intake of air, which would run through the device and cool down the high-end hardware. It also should help dissipate heat more efficiently.
We know from Microsoft’s surprising Xbox Series X announcement in mid-December that the Series X will be as cool as the Xbox One X, and that Microsoft gave plenty of thought to this particular aspect of the console. Here’s what Microsoft’s boss Phil Spencer said about it at the time:
What the team did, and you [see] it through the top grate, is we went with one central fan in the design. What this design does, with the size of the fan that we built around, is it lets us match how quiet the Xbox One X is with all that power inside of the box.
The Series X does look a lot like a PC tower, and if you ask me, that’s a perfect design for a gaming device. Meanwhile, Sony clearly thinks the PS5 should have a unique, head-turning design. The dev kit that leaked so many times already is proof of that. You’d want to know more about that thing under the TV if you had no idea it was a PlayStation 5. So is the PS5 going to look anything like the development rig?
We have no way of knowing for certain, but let’s revisit an important detail from a recent Bloomberg story that said Sony is struggling with PS5 manufacturing costs — emphasis ours:
Most of the components for the console have been locked down, the people said, including the cooling system, which is unusually expensive at a few dollars per unit. Typically, companies would spend less than a dollar, but Sony opted to lavish more on making sure heat dissipation from the powerful chips housed inside the console isn’t an issue.
Why might the PS5’s new cooling system be “unusually expensive”? Perhaps it’s because of the unique shape of the PlayStation 5’s new housing and the components within. Also, if Sony is willing to spend top dollar to cool the PS5, then it means the new console will generate quite a lot of heat, just like the Series X. After all, both of them sport the same specs. That must also mean that Sony gave airflow quite a lot of thought. And that PS5 dev kit design certainly looks like the kind of powerful PC that helps promote more efficient airflow.
Also, by providing developers PS5 prototypes that look a lot like the commercial version, Sony would be able to test and monitor everything about the console, including the all-too-important cooling performance.
This is all just speculation based on the most recent PS5 leaks, and I may be off track. But it sure looks like we have plenty of reason to believe the final design of the PS5 will closely resemble the dev kit prototype.