GTA 6 release date could be the key to rumoured Sony PS5 Pro launch, expert says

promotional image for gta 6 shows the two main protagonists sat on the bonnet of a car holding a pistol with palm trees and in the pink background

GTA 6, stylised as Grand Theft Auto VI, returns the action to the fictional city of Vice City, which is Rockstar Games' satirical version of Miami that featured in the 2002 GTA release of the same name

Aaron Brown

By Aaron Brown

Published: 04/03/2024

- 14:00

Updated: 04/03/2024

- 14:15

With no first-party games on the horizon until April 2025, Sony could be looking to use the release of Grand Theft Auto to supercharge sales of its consoles — including a powerful new Playstation 5 Pro

  • Rumours of a powerful new PS5 console claim it'll launch later in 2024
  • Sony has struggled to meet sales targets with its current console line-up
  • It's also confirmed that PS5 is in the "latter stages" of its lifecyle
  • A pricier PS5 Pro could replicate the successful PS4 Pro strategy in 2016
  • Sony's beefier hardware would be on shelves ready for the release of GTA 6
  • Grand Theft Auto VI is the follow-up to the biggest entertainment product of all-time
  • Experts predict record-breaking sales again, bringing in billions in revenue

Whispers of a refresh to the PlayStation 5 have been rumbling on in the background for some time, but the upcoming release of Grand Theft Auto VI might spur Sony into taking action. At least, that’s the theory floated by some analysts, who claim an upgraded PS5 — dubbed PS5 Pro, following the same naming convention used last generation — could launch later this year.

The system, which will purportedly have upgraded internals for improved performance, will be billed as the definitive way to play Rockstar’s upcoming Grand Theft Auto VI (GTA 6) game.

Serkan Toto, of Tokyo-based consultancy company Kantan Games summed up the theory, stating: “There seems to be a broad consensus in the game industry that Sony is indeed preparing a launch of a PS5 Pro in the second half of 2024.

“And Sony will want to make sure to have a great piece of hardware ready when GTA 6 hits in 2025, a launch that will be a shot in the arm for the entire gaming industry.”

GTA6 Trailer

That might seem a bit unnecessary given that GTA 6 is just one game. But experts believe it could break its own record sales numbers. Its predecessor, Grand Theft Auto V, still holds the crown for the best opening week of sales in video game history — raking in $1.15bn (£1.2bn) in five days.

But many like Dmitri Williams, a video game business expert and professor at University of Southern California, expect the long-awaited follow-up to perform even better. He said: "The brand is as strong or stronger than it was before, but additionally the game industry is larger. If it maintains the same slice of the pie, it's going to be big, because it will come from a bigger pie.

"The games industry is simply massive globally, and is no single genre or platform. It's so large and so varied that even fractions of it are larger than whole parallel industries like movies.”

The global value of the games industry is roughly $250bn (£199bn).

To capitalise on the excitement — not to mention, drive up sales in the all-important Christmas shopping period — Sony is expected to offer the PS5 Pro at a higher price point for those willing to invest in the optional performance boost. This is the same plan executed with the PS4 Pro.

The new supercharged console won't replace the two PlayStation consoles currently available, which were themselves refreshed at the end of last year with a 30% more compact design and USB-C charging ports in the front-facing panel.

The PlayStation 5 is fast approaching its fourth anniversary. The start of the console’s lifecycle was mired with chip shortages due to the lockdowns imposed by the Covid-19 shutdowns, leaving fans struggling for months to get their hands on the latest hardware.

Since then, Sony has managed to straighten out supply chain issues and now the revised PS5 Digital Edition and PS5 Disc Console are both widely available from high street and online stores in the UK.

At its latest earnings calls, Sony senior vice president Naomi Matsuoka stated the PlayStation 5 is now in “the latter stage” of its lifecycle, suggesting that a successor will be launched in the next four years. Sales have slumped slightly, with Sony revising its estimates for total consoles sold this year down by 4 million units — from 25 million down to 21 million consoles worldwide.

A PS5 Pro could be a way to generate new interest in this console generation.

Speaking to shareholders, Sony’s Naomi Matsuoka said: “Looking ahead, PS5 will enter the latter stage of its life cycle. As such, we will put more emphasis on the balance between profitability and sales. For this reason, we expect the annual sales pace of PS5 hardware will start falling from the next fiscal year.”

Sony added it has no plans to release “any new major existing franchise titles” in its next fiscal year, which runs until April 2025. With no games from its in-house studios, like Ratchet and Clank,Spider-Man, The Last Of Us, or God Of War, it’s reasonable to assume that Sony believes a big third-party game could do some of the heavy-lifting for its sales.

Grand Theft Auto VI will launch 12 years after the last entry in the franchise, GTA V, which went on to become the most financially successful entertainment products of all time — selling over 190 million copies worldwide and generating revenue of $8.5 billion for Edinburgh-based developers Rockstar North and parent company Take-Two Interactive.

After years of speculation, Rockstar confirmed the existence of a new GTA game in early 2022, with the first trailer for the game dropping in December 2023 — timed to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Scottish company. It broke records worldwide when it was launched on YouTube.

And since then ...silence.

We know that GTA 6 will be set in the fictional US state of Leonida, which is modelled on Florida and home to the Miami-inspired Vice City from the 2002 video game of the same name. The satirical plot story will follow a Bonnie and Clyde-like criminal couple lead by Lucia and her male partner. She will be the first female protagonist for the action-adventure series since 2000.

Rockstar has confirmed Grand Theft Auto VI will launch on PS5 and Xbox Series X and Series S in 2025, but no exact release date has been confirmed.

playstation 4 pro shown in a promotional image from sony with a controller

PS4 Pro was announced three years into the lifecycle of the last PlayStation console, offering gaming in 4K picture quality


For clues about the forthcoming PlayStation 5 it could be helpful to look back at its last upgraded effort. The PlayStation 4 Pro launched in 2016, roughly three years after the original PS4 was released worldwide. Given that we’re now approaching four years since the launch of the PS5, this seems to add weight to the rumours of an imminent launch.

The PS4 Pro arrived with beefier internals to enable 4K output for the first time. Speaking at the time, CEO Andrew House said: "With PlayStation 4 Pro our goal is to deliver innovation in the form of cutting-edge visuals and graphics while in the midst of the PS4’s lifecycle. Games that already look extraordinary on PS4 will look richer and more detailed, thanks to the more powerful GPU and faster CPU at the heart of PS4 Pro."

Given that PS5 can already hit that picture quality and there aren’t too many people with 8K TVs, it does raise the question of what Sony could do to offer a selling point that’s worth forking out the extra cash?


Any hypothetical PS5 Pro would need to be more powerful than the existing PS5 consoles. It’s unclear how demanding the next Grand Theft Auto game will be — with its trademark immense virtual worlds, teaming population of digital civilians, and packed storylines — but it could be that beefier internals enable a smoother experience with this type of open-game title, especially at higher frame-rates in 4K resolution. An increase in solid storage could also be offered.

Microsoft is also mulling over the idea of launching a mid-cycle refresh of its console after a circular design with a 2TB hard drive and no disc drive was accidentally revealed in court documents last year. Microsoft claims these plans were outdated and not indicative of its current future plans, but last month, Xbox President Sarah Bond teased that hardware news would be coming from the team "this holiday". That could pit whatever is announced directly against the rumoured PS5 Pro.

It could also mean that Microsoft is planning something new ahead of the launch of Grand Theft Auto next year.

You may like