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The PS5 was ‘much larger’ in the beginning

‘Engineering actually told me it’s too big,’ says designer Yujin Morisawa

A close-up of the stenciled PlayStation logo on the white side panel of the PS5 Photo: Henry Hargreaves for Polygon

At nearly 16 inches tall and more than 10 inches wide, the PlayStation 5 is a very large video game console. Sizable, some might say. Beefy. But, would you believe it was almost even bigger?

Love or hate the design, the PS5’s notable chonk is undeniable. According to designer Yujin Morisawa, in an interview published Monday by the Washington Post, the original drawings depicted an even more colossal device.

“I knew it was going to be larger because I know how much power there was going to be,” he said, “so I knew how much air flow you would need and how much space for a heat sink. In the beginning, when I started drawing, it was much larger even though I didn’t know what engineering was going to do. It’s kind of funny that engineering actually told me it’s too big. So, I actually had to shrink it down a little bit from the first drawing.”

While some have compared the profile of the PS5 to The Lord of the Rings’ Barad-dûr (atop which sits the all-seeing Eye of Sauron), one does not simply walk into the studio and start mocking up a next-gen console. Industrial design is an art form, to be sure, but it’s also got a lot of technical constraint baked in. But, even with all those new-fangled gubbins on the inside — including a deliciously quiet cooling system and a blazing-fast custom SSD — turns out that Sony’s engineers didn’t actually need as much room as Morisawa anticipated.

“I tried to sculpt the invisible mass in between the player and the mechanical engineering,” he told the Post. “That’s how I describe it. There’s something in between the hardware and the player, and that should be expressed.”

You can read the entire interview on WaPo’s Launcher. Check out our review of the console as well.

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