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Sony unveils PlayStation 5 design for the first time

Updated Jun 11th, 2020 5:36PM EDT
PlayStation 5 Design
Image: Sony

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  • Sony finally unveiled the design of the PlayStation 5.
  • The console was revealed during a PS5 game showcase being lived streamed online. 
  • The console will come in two versions: One that accepts traditional physical media and an all-digital version.

At Sony’s PlayStation 5 showcase today, the company did something that nobody was actually expecting: They showed the console itself. The machine looks like a futuristic mix between EVE from Wall-E and a PlayStation 2… or something.

In stark contrast to Microsoft’s Xbox Series X, which is literally a smallish black box with very little in the way of personality but still perfectly fine, Sony went in a new direction with the PlayStation 5. Like a reverse ice cream sandwich, the console has a glossy white plastic outer shell and a deep black body section.

In a first for the PlayStation line, the PS5 will have both an all-digital version and an SKU that accepts traditional disc-based media at launch. This is hardly surprising, as the gaming industry has gradually moved away from physical discs in recent years and day one digital downloads are now commonplace across the PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo marketplaces.

Sony Playstation 5
The PlayStation 5 console. Image source: Sony

It’s interesting that Sony decided to finally show the console in the flesh, as it were, during today’s game showcase. The company’s approach to console reveals has taken many different shapes in the past, and some haven’t gone particularly well.

The PlayStation 3 reveal was particularly brutal, with Sony fans and foes alike criticizing the size and aesthetics, as well as the console’s bizarre “boomerang” controller that ultimately never actually saw the light of day. The PlayStation 4 reveal was even more mysterious, with the company choosing to show off the launch titles and other in-development games without showcasing the machine itself. When the reveal eventually came, it received a generally positive response.

The coronavirus pandemic really threw both Microsoft and Sony for a loop with its new console launch timing, derailing the hype train for both consoles. Sony was hit the hardest and seemed to be the slowest to respond to the changing landscape. Tonight’s game showcase was a step in the right direction, and punctuating it with a reveal of the hardware was a good decision. Now we get to wait and see what the general gaming public thinks, and the memes will surely flow forth.

Of course, some pretty big questions still remain, not least of which is the launch pricing. With two versions of the console available — and the all-digital version looking noticeably more sleek and slim than its disc-gobbling counterpart — we can probably expect two price points.

The typical strategy is to separate two new and nearly identical pieces of tech by $100, and if we take Sony’s previous launch pricing into consideration, it might not be crazy to think the PS5 will launch at $500/$400, or perhaps $400/$350, but those are really just blind guesses. Sony will of course have the final say, and we expect that news sooner rather than later.