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The PS5’s stand is a quiet display of engineering brilliance

Vertical or horizontal, the choice is yours

a man unscrewing the screw holding the PS5’s stand to the console
Note the rectangular compartment inside the PS5’s stand, where you can store both the screw and the plug for the screw hole.
Image: PlayStation/YouTube
Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Sony has been saying the PlayStation 5 will deliver “the future of gaming,” promising that features like its lightning-fast SSD and DualSense controller will enable new gaming experiences that we can’t even conceive of yet. That may or may not end up being true. But after watching the PS5 teardown video that Sony posted Wednesday morning, I don’t care about any of that stuff anymore — because now, my mind is consumed with thoughts of the PS5’s brilliant stand.

Twenty years ago, with the PlayStation 2, Sony pioneered the concept of a gaming console that could sit in the traditional horizontal orientation or stand vertically. Back then, though, Sony recommended that people who wanted to stand up their PS2s buy a vertical stand, an official accessory that the company sold separately for $14.99. (Sony also manufactured a horizontal stand for the PS2 that was designed solely to ... look cool, I guess? I feel bad for anybody who got suckered into buying that thing.)

In addition, Sony produced a first-party vertical stand for the PlayStation 4, but not for the launch model of the PlayStation 3, which was wide enough to have a comfortably large footprint in its vertical orientation (and, at 11 pounds, sturdy enough that knocking it over would take some effort).

If you want to stand up the PS5, it has a fairly narrow base in that orientation, and if you want to lay it down on its side, well, both of the console’s side panels are curved. As such, Sony is including a stand in the box with the standard PS5 as well as the discless Digital Edition. It’s a single unit that functions as both a vertical stand and a horizontal stand — but that’s just where its ingenious design begins.

The PS5 stand is a disc-shaped unit with a clawlike protrusion. When you want to stand up the console, you use a single flathead screw to secure the stand to the bottom of the unit; the claws fit nicely into a recessed area on the back of the console. When you want to lay the console down horizontally, you remove the stand from the bottom of the PS5, and simply use the claws to clip it onto the back. The claws rest right by the two USB 3.0 slots in the console’s rear port array, with the stand itself sitting beneath the system to, y’know, hold it up.

An astute observer might realize that this design presents a problem: namely, what to do with the screw, since it’s not used when the stand is holding up a horizontal PS5. Well, Sony figured out an elegant solution for this issue!

Sony built a special compartment for just this purpose into the underside of the stand. When you’re not using the screw, you can just snap it in there. Sony even thought of the fact that in the horizontal orientation, the screw hole would be visible on the left side of the PS5. So the chamber also holds a piece of plastic that you can use to plug the screw hole (which makes it even harder to notice the already inconspicuous hole).

And don’t worry about the screw falling out of the stand. When you want to transition from vertical to horizontal, you rotate the top of the stand to close the compartment, locking the screw inside.

I’m fascinated by all the engineering effort that clearly went into this inventive piece of the PS5 puzzle. Assuming that all of the stand’s components hold up over time, this is a smart design that provides both a functional and clever solution for the challenges created by the unique exterior shell of the PS5. The jury is out on whether the PS5 will deliver the future of gaming, but one thing seems sure already: It’s the next generation of industrial design.