PS5 Pro and Xbox Series X-2 are almost certainly coming this generation.
Despite no prices or release dates for either console, we are fast approaching the arrival of both the PS5 and Xbox Series X. Probably both in November, probably both hovering around $500, barring alternate version pricing for digital only editions or the long-rumored Lockhart. But this generation, unlike the last generation, we are going into it with open eyes for what may likely end up being a new normal. While previous generations gave us redesigned and usually “slim” consoles as time went on, last generation, after the 2013 arrival of PS4 and Xbox One, we got mid generation upgrades in the form of PS4 Pro in 2016 and Xbox One X in 2017. Now, it seems like this is likely to be the new normal, and $1000 worth of video game hardware in 2020 may be supplemented by $1000+ of additional hardware in 2023-2024, if the schedules hold.
There are already some small hints about this happening. Sony recently filed a patent for a GPU talking about “light” and “high-end” versions of hardware, which as people thinking PS5 Pro is already on the brain, particularly since Sony is launching with less horsepower than the Series X. Meanwhile for Microsoft, if Sony does that, then they will have to respond, and the “Series” naming convention already implies we could get a Series Y or Z as an upgraded model, though I just called it “X-2” for now in my title like it’s a Marvel movie. I don’t see any reason we should not expect new mid-gen upgrade consoles this time around. I think both Sony and Microsoft were perfectly satisfied with the adoption and capabilities of the Pro and One X, and would see no reason not to do that again a few years from now. Whether we have that exact schedule again, a PS5 Pro in 2023 and a Series X-2 in 2024, remains to be seen, but we may have the dynamic where Sony tries to leapfrog the Series X with a power upgrade, then Microsoft bites back with another upgrade itself. That isn’t how things went last time, however, as Sony went first even though the PS4 had the power edge over the original One, but who knows.
Microsoft seems to be heading most outside the box for this launch with the launch of Lockhart, a lower spec console likely to be released alongside the Series X this fall. That is in contrast to Sony simply splitting models between digital and disc-based, so that may upset the apple cart in an entirely new way. It’s now a day until August and Microsoft still has not said a single public word about Lockhart, despite a release that should be three months away, but I would be amazed if we made it out of next month without seeing it debut. And that will raise a whole host of new questions. This is obviously something we won’t really have to deal with in earnest until a few years from now, but this time around we know pretty much for sure that the consoles we buy now are almost certainly not to be the best version of those consoles for the next 6-7 years with mid-gen upgrades being a thing now. So start saving now, if you always want to be top of the line for this entire new generation.
I mean, I would not mind PS5 Pro in 2023 and Xbox Series X-2 in 2024. But I would prefer not to have mid-gen upgrade consoles, and just have next, next gen (10th gen) consoles (PS6 X-????) in late 2026, in stead of mid-gens in 2023/2024 and next,next gen in late 2027. I'm fine with 6 year console cycles. Long enough.