Let's Talk About the PS5's Bizarre Design

Let's Talk About the PS5's Bizarre Design

The PS5 is quite different than past Sony consoles. But does that make it bad?

At last, we know what the PlayStation 5 looks like. Before today, our only glimpse at it was of its controller, the new DualSense that's taking a big step away from previous generations' DualShocks, and not just in color scheme. Immediately, the PlayStation 5 console looks different. It's not just a box, as has been the case for most consoles, as well as its immediate competitor, the Xbox Series X. Instead, it has a black center, illuminated by Sony's signature neon blue light. Covering it like bookends is a slimmer, white coat. There's a reason why people have been editing together memes of Seto Kaiba from Yu-Gi-Oh masquerading as the console.

During the stream, Sony revealed that the PlayStation 5 will launch with two editions: a normal one with a disc drive, and a digital edition without a disc drive. Naturally, the one without the disc drive looks cleaner and thinner, as it doesn't have to accommodate a disc. The curvy console also, thankfully, is able to rest horizontally, as seen in new press photos. Considering the space in my entertainment center and most others' pretty much only accommodates horizontal-resting consoles, I'm thankful for it. The console also looks less obtuse when horizontal as well, for all the nay-sayers out there.

My immediate concern in seeing the PS5 laid on its side was: how do I charge my controllers? With my current PlayStation 4 Pro situation, I usually have one controller charging at all times and resting on top of the console, swapping with another when whatever primary DualShock 4 I'm using dies. With the curvier topside, it won't be as easy to rest on top anymore. But of course, that's really the definition of first-world problems. Plus, Sony unveiled a charging dock for two DualSenses today along with the rest of its launch peripheral suite, which I suppose solves that pesky problem in another way.

The full lineup of peripherals for PS5. | Sony Interactive Entertainment

Personally, I don't know where I fall on the PS5's design. My knee jerk reaction was to be appalled. My best friend who works in design immediately texted me to complain about it. But after some time staring at it and reading all the memes of it that have since flooded Twitter, I am less repulsed by it. Sure, I think I prefer the Xbox Series X's simple black monolithic fridge shape, but y'know what, my entertainment center doesn't need yet another chunky box. The PS5 can spice things up.

I do suspect, however, that it will quickly look outdated. My memory calls to mind the oblong, overly large PlayStation 3, or the downright ugly original Xbox. Both consoles looked clearly of their time. The PlayStation 3 was in an era where all tech like smartphones were chunky and gigantic, whereas the Xbox released during peak gamer-y aesthetics. The PS5, comparatively, looks futuristic. It has a tinge of Tesla or Dyson-style with its overtly smooth design; or as most are saying, it looks like a router. Still, at least it's doing something different.

I wouldn't be surprised to see both Microsoft and Sony iterate on its respective console designs as we wade deeper into the next generation. PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X, respectively, reimagined the general look of the console, slightly. In addition, the Xbox One S was a cleaner box than the original Xbox One. In the distant past, Sony even dabbled with the PlayStation 3 Slim, among other console refreshes. So if you're one of the people angry about PS5's design, it's likely we'll still see a less child hazard version without jagged, sharp corners in the future.

PlayStation's always been my console of choice, all the way back to watching my mom play Final Fantasy games on the first PlayStation as I gazed longingly at my friends with their Nintendo 64s and Mario Kart. The PlayStation 2, for my money the best console ever made, would go on to be my first real console—as in, it lived in my bedroom and I left it on pause all the time as I played JRPGs. Even today as a games reporter, Xbox exclusives remain a blindspot, and I only log into my Xbox One to see whatever the hot new Xbox Game Pass entry is—a service that to me remains its biggest selling point as we coast into next-gen.

So there we have it. The PlayStation 5 in all its glory. The silly memes poking fun at its design will keep coming until release, I imagine. Until then, we'll be following the PlayStation 5 and the rest of the next-generation of gaming all we can.

What do you think of the PS5? Let us know in the comments!

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Caty McCarthy

Senior Editor

Caty McCarthy is a former freelance writer whose work has appeared in Kill Screen, VICE, The AV Club, Kotaku, Polygon, and IGN. When she's not blathering into a podcast mic, reading a book, or playing a billion video games at once, she's probably watching Terrace House or something. She is currently USgamer's Senior Editor.

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