The PlayStation 5 is perhaps the biggest home video game console ever made, and its massive size isn’t due to the bulk of its components, but the incredible heat they generate. When the PlayStation 5 was unveiled, the design size of the next-gen system took audiences by surprise. While somewhat thinner than its competitor, the Xbox Series X, the PS5 otherwise towers over Microsoft’s machine, and is even bigger than the PlayStation 3, whose heft and similarity to a vacuum cleaner was infamous.
Customers can place their PS5 standing up or laying flat on its side, but – either way – it’s going to take up a lot of space. The curvy design of the console helps to hide its silhouette a little bit, but the fact remains: this thing is huge. At a glance, that seems like a good idea with regards to the hardware contained within. The bigger something is, the more powerful it is, right? Bigger is better, as the saying goes. Of course, the truth is a bit more complicated than that. As it turns out, it’s not the size of the internals that matter so much as it is the heat they generate.
As reported by VG247, the size of the PlayStation 5 is a direct result of the intense levels of heat generated by its components. This info comes from Matt MacLaurin, VP of UX Design at PlayStation, who shared his particular insight into the PlayStation 5 via LinkedIn, of all places. According to MacLaurin, the internal makeup of a PlayStation 5 amounts to a small supercomputer, and the cutting-edge tech happens to run particularly hot, thus necessitating extra room to keep that heat from literally melting the system (or otherwise degrading its sensitive electronic parts).
The PlayStation 5 generates a lot of heat, and that heat needs to be taken care of, lest Sony encounter a “Red Ring of Death” situation like what befell Microsoft for much of the Xbox 360’s life cycle. Heat management is vital to keeping a system alive. Invested video game enthusiasts can keep their systems running for hours and hours at a time, and a system needs to be able to handle that kind of abuse without overheating and shutting down. As such, the PlayStation 5’s immense size is a direct response to the heat generated by the console.
MacLaurin’s comments are careful to note that, “This tech is still so fresh it throws a lot of heat so we need room to dissipate.” While this explains the size, it also leaves open the possibility of a “slim” model of the PS5 down the line. Every PlayStation home console since the original received a scaled down slim version eventually, and it would be folly to expect the PlayStation 5 to buck this trend. In the span of just a few short years, new tech becomes old, and that usually means it shrinks in size and in terms of power consumption and heat generated. The PlayStation 5 is absolutely gigantic, but this probably won’t always be the case. Looking towards the future, an updated PlayStation 5 Slim model is not just possible, but likely inevitable.
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