With the PS5 approaching its third year on the market, rumors about a mid-gen upgrade have been circulating. While we wait for confirmation from PlayStation, a new patent filed by Sony for a detachable disc drive is fueling speculation about the next incarnation of the console. SegmentNext first reported on the patent, and pictures from the filing show the disc drive can be used with personal computers, audio-visual equipment, and, crucially, gaming machines. Though the PS5 isn’t specifically mentioned, rumors of a slimmer version or enhanced Pro version of the console persist. The patent certainly adds weight to these speculations.

PS5 Slim Design

If the detachable disc drive is included with the next version of the PS5, it would support previous rumors from 2022 that suggested the drive could be sold separately from the original console and may not work with the original models. The digital-only PS5 would certainly benefit from the option to add a disc drive. Still, it remains unclear whether the disc drive will be compatible with the digital-only PS5, or whether players with existing disc drives will need to upgrade.

In addition to the patent, an Australian retailer recently prepped a landing page for an unannounced PS5 variant, adding more fuel to the speculation fire. If true, it would not be the first time PlayStation has released a slim version of a console and would no doubt be well received by gamers who favor portability and storage over the bulkier original console model. However, it is worth noting that at present, Sony has not confirmed any of these rumors, so it remains to be seen if they will pan out.

Despite ongoing rumors of a PS5 Slim or Pro, Sony has not restocked its PS5 console fast enough, leading to a significant shortage. The current climate and supply limitations make it a less than ideal time for a brand new console to launch or for existing models to be updated. Still, if the patent is any indication, we could see a mid-gen PS5 upgrade on the horizon, complete with a detachable disc drive.

The wider industry is seeing a considerable shortage of semiconductors, which is impacting many sectors, not just gaming. When the original PS5 launched, the frantic pre-order process led to stock shortages and scalpers buying multiple consoles to sell on for profit. While supply is gradually increasing, scalpers remain an issue for PS5 buyers. It is unlikely that this practice will stop any time soon, so buyers can expect to face a similar scenario when the updated version hits the market.