The Sony PS5 may be one of the ugliest bits of consumer hardware ever created, but that hasn’t stopped people from buying it in their droves.
Perpetually sold out since it launched in November 2020, it sounds like the ‘overweight router’ design may soon be even more of an endangered species, as Sony is apparently planning a cunning redesign to streamline its operation.
That’s according to Insider Gaming, which reports the company will remake the PlayStation 5 with an optional detachable disc drive.
While the external drive doesn’t have a great history on consoles, as anyone stung by the Xbox 360’s HD DVD drive/paperweight will know, here it makes a lot of sense. Currently, Sony sells two versions of the PS5 with different chassis: the regular NZ$820 PS5 with a disk drive and a NZ$650 model without.
If Sony only sells one piece of hardware, then it’s up to the buyer if they want to upgrade it themselves — either on day one, or a few weeks down the line when they realise how ridiculously expensive digital games still are despite costing less to produce.
It also means that if your disk drive breaks, you won’t have to get the whole console fixed. Just plug in a new one and away you go.
How an external drive would be implemented isn’t entirely clear, but likely involves a whole new redesign. Insider Gaming states that the sources “implied that although the new detachable disc drive is portable, it will not ruin the aesthetics of the console”. No, that isn’t because the PS5’s unique look is impossible to make worse — it’s suggesting that the drive will attach without looking external.
According to the sources, we still have a year of the current design ahead of us, with the new version “launching around September 2023”. It shouldn’t stop you from buying the version with a disc drive, but if you fancy a disc-free experience you may want to hold off, just in case the optional disc drive isn’t backwards compatible.