PS4 players

The successor to the PlayStation 4 could reach retailers sooner than expected. Hideki Yasuda, an analyst with the Ace Economic Research Institute, claims that Sony could launch a PlayStation 5 as early as 2019. However, a series of hurdles could push the launch further back, placing it on a collision course with the launch of the Xbox One successor “Scarlett.”

The report, translated by DualShockers, claims the console could launch by the end of next year, a prediction that goes against analysts like Michael Pachter that believe a 2020 launch is more likely. However, Yasuda notes a number of factors that could lead to a delay, a key issue being the global supply of monolithic ceramic capacitors, or MLCCs. These capacitors will come under high demand as more technologically advanced cars hit the streets and 5G cellular networks encourage consumers to upgrade, meaning that the launch of an MLCC-intensive product like a games console could make little sense.

A current-generation PS4.
A current-generation PS4.

See more: Report Reveals Leaked Xbox ‘Scarlett’ and New HoloLens Launch Date

A launch next year could give Sony a big advantage over its main competitor Microsoft. The company announced its work on a successor to the Xbox One at the E3 2018 conference in Los Angeles, California, in June, similar to how it announced work on the Xbox One X at the E3 2016 conference before its November 2017 launch. But where the One X launched around a year after the announcement, reports claim the machine codenamed “Scarlett” will launch in 2020 as both a conventional games console and a streaming-focused box that utilizes the cloud to run games in exchange for a cheaper price of around $150.

Launching the PS5 ahead of “Scarlett” would give Sony an advantage similar to that of the Xbox 360, which launched in 2005 a full year prior to the PS3. It would also mean, however, that the PS4 Pro would have only been on the market for around three years. While the PS4 will have been on the market for six years at that stage, around the same length of time as between the PS2 and PS3, a number of consumers will have purchased the $399 Pro relatively recently for the promise of 4K gaming for high-end televisions.

Developers have started dropping hints about games for next-generation platforms. Bethesda claimed at E3 2018 that its next projects Starfield and Elder Scrolls VI were targeting the “next generation,” while Gran Turismo developer Polyphony designed the cars in its latest iteration to future-proof development for next-gen consoles.

Competition between the two is heating up, but it’s unclear at this stage what benefits they will bring to the table. More immersive virtual reality, perhaps?