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Sony Already Has Plans For A 'PS5 Pro'

In the eternal struggle for console supremacy, a company cannot risk resting on its laurels. Console manufacturers actively look to the future and stay on the move. Ideally, designs for an upcoming console should blanket the whiteboards of a company shortly after (or before) its precursor hits store shelves. That is probably why Sony has already patented a new console design, which has recently surfaced.

In the first month of 2019, long before the PS5 was announced, Sony filed a patent for a new kind of console. What makes this patent so special is that it borrows a page from the PC gamer playbook by stuffing two GPUs into the console. Double the cards, double the graphical power. But, the design is a little more complicated than simply brute-forcing more teraflops out of the platform.

According to the patent, the dual-GPU console would work as a one-two punch. One graphics card renders part of the graphics, and the second picks up from where the first card left off to complete the image. Using two graphics cards in tandem like this is a common practice among hardcore PC gamers, as it provides benefits such as increased resolutions and framerates. The PS5 touts graphical advantages such as 4K gaming at 120fps, but in reality this is a pipe dream for all but eight titles so far. If Sony were to transform this dual-GPU console patent into a real "PS5 Pro" console, virtually every game could live up to that promise. The patent features don't just end at giving games a graphical boost, though. The plans also include ideas to implement dedicated cloud gaming.

Normally, patents are just proof of ideas and concepts, not anything tangible. Sony also patented wireless controller chargers and a new VR headset, and neither product is available (yet). However, the dual-GPU console patent might imply that a "PS5 Pro" of sorts is in the works. The document mentions a "'light' version" with one GPU and a "'high-end' version" with two GPUs, as well as more storage and processing, which sounds suspiciously like what Sony did with the PlayStation 4 and PS4 Pro, minus the extra graphics card. Since this patent was filed long after the PlayStation 5 released, it demonstrates if nothing else that an upgraded PS5 is on Sony's mind and has been for some time.

Despite the patent's age, it's too early to tell if Sony will follow through with this design and pave a multi-GPU future for console gaming, or if it was just a concept the company wanted to patent before anyone else. Wouldn't be the first time an organization weaponized patents to shut down competition.