Sony's PS5 Supply Fix Might Be This Simple Disc Drive

Sony is reportedly gearing up for another major Playstation 5 design overhaul, and this time, it supposedly wants to sell a detachable disc drive, too. The news comes courtesy of Insider Gaming, a new game journalism outlet helmed by Tom Henderson who was recently in the news for "GTA 6" related leaks. Henderson has cultivated a reliable insider status in the gaming industry and has also leaked some juicy information about "The Last Of Us (Part 1) Remake," "Call of Duty: Warzone 2," and Sony's gaming peripheral plans in the past.

The company is said to be eyeing a September 2023 release for the rumored updated PlayStation 5 iteration with an external disc accessory in tow. It looks like Sony eventually plans to phase out the two-model approach of selling a disk-loaded and all-digital version of the PlayStation 5, at least if the claims prove to be accurate. Shifting to a single design formula with a disc drive add-on should help the company reduce production hassles.

Sony is currently experiencing an acute shortage of PlayStation 5 units in the face of high demand, even though it has promised that the restock issues will be over soon. An unpredictable supply chain and high inflation have already forced Sony to hike the console's prices in certain markets without solving the availability woes. An updated version with an optical disc accessory just might accelerate the production in the coming quarters — plus, it might also solve the disc-sharing dilemma for gamers that purchased the all-digital version of the PlayStation 5.

The looks will reportedly remain intact

According to the Gaming Insider report, this new "D" chassis PlayStation 5 console reportedly slated for a late 2023 debut will look identical to the consoles being sold at the moment. However, the biggest difference is, the leak claims, that it will support a detachable disc drive that can be hooked to it via a USB-C cable. Sony will reportedly sell the disc drive separately, and also as a bundle with the console. To recall, Sony quietly started selling a modified version of the PlayStation last year that has a smaller motherboard, tweaked SSD enclosure, and most importantly, more efficient thermal hardware.

Notably, Sony has allegedly designed the upcoming disc accessory in such a way that it will blend right in with the main console body and "will attach to it without looking internal," the report claims. However, it is unclear what changes Sony is planning for the console's design and whether it will be slimmer than the models that are currently on the market. We also don't know if the rumored external disc drive will be compatible with the all-digital edition of the PlayStation 5 that is already on the shelves.

The disc-y future returns

The biggest advantage of this strategy is that if the disc drive malfunctions, it can easily be replaced without causing any damage to other connected parts inside. Likewise, a busted console would at least leave the disc drive intact, which means a repair or replacement will cost less money, or at least buyers won't have to shell out for fresh disc hardware. Sony won't be the first brand to walk this path, though. 

In 2006, Microsoft pulled a surprising move by launching the Xbox 360 HD DVD drive, a boxy disc drive for the Xbox 360 console. Interestingly, Microsoft apparently plans to retrace the same strategy with the all-digital Xbox Series S. According to a patent application that was spotted by GameRant, Microsoft may be toying with the idea of externally verifying a game's physical copy using a device linked to the console. 

Why Sony would want to do that in the first place is not known officially — nor even whether the leak is accurate — but it sure sounds like a calculated move if true, given the current state of the supply chain and a desire to fulfill the ravenous demand for the PlayStation 5. However, process the latest leak with a healthy dose of skepticism and wait until Sony officially makes an announcement.