Reports about Sony gearing up to release a "Pro" version of the PlayStation 5 console next year have begun swirling. Coming from a fairly well researched analysis, this prediction doesn't seem at all outlandish considering Pro versions of Sony's consoles do have a way of popping up after a few years - however, such a move would be crazy in the current market.
A global chip shortage, constant hardware droughts, soaring tech prices, supply chain issues exasperated by a pandemic that some governments are trying to downplay, recent accidents impacting the output of key semiconductor factories and an ever present inability to get consoles onto store shelves ever since this generation started are just some of the glaring issues with this plan.
How exactly does Sony envision the PlayStation 5 Pro actually making its way to consumers at MSRP when the current version of the PS5, out since November 2020, is still struggling to do so? Forecasts about the state of the chip shortage for the coming year are still contradictory - not even the experts can tell if manufacturing will be able to finally catch up with demand.
If the analysis is correct regarding Sony's plans for a 2023 launch, then pretty much all of the planning and development work would need to be ready at this point, meaning the company has all pipeline concerns figured out - or, at least, they think they do.
We don't doubt that Sony has a Pro version of the current console planned at some point, regardless of the hardware market, but keeping to the same timeline as the PlayStation 4 did with its Pro release seems ill advised. Sticking to their guns could be seen as a marketing move primarily, giving the brand a refresh - but will a Pro release cause sales to spike at a time where many potential customers can't get the product due to availability issues?
As many gamers worldwide have still been unable to secure either current generation console - or had to turn to scalpers and paying well over MSRP - releasing a new model while supply chain issues still persist is a bit of a headscratcher. That is, unless this is Sony's solution to those precise issues.
Some predictions about the supply chain woes paint a favorable picture of the upcoming months and next year, and chances are Sony is betting on this outcome; if the chip shortage loosening up coincides with the release of a new console model, Sony could ride that wave and get PS5 Pros into more households than otherwise.
Gamers who have cash to burn on a new console but aren't willing to pay over MSRP or turn to scalpers are likely to grab either PS5 - be it pro or not - as long as it is available. If the more expensive Pro is what can be found on the shelf, then the more expensive Pro is what will sell.
Maybe this is a gamble; maybe Sony knows something we don't. However, for those gamers who don't subscribe to speculation or odds, this seems like an unhinged move that could only possibly lead to greater scarcity, higher prices, and more difficulties in the already challenging hunt for a current generation machine.
We'll probably find out more in the coming months; be it via leaks or official news.