Unboxing has become something of a dirty word in the YouTube era but there’s an undeniable thrill to breaking the seal on a brand new PlayStation. The combination of polystyrene packaging and the near limitless potential promised by a new generation of gaming hardware remains as intoxicating as ever some 25 years on from Sony’s revolutionary first foray into the living room.
That mood survives first sight of the industrial design team’s work on the PS5 but it’s an unexpectedly close-run thing. Sony’s new box is no looker. In fact, some will consider it positively ugly: a bulky black brick wrapped in an unappealingly asymmetrical white metal folder. It’s an obvious attempt at instant iconicism which falls so far short it would be laughable were the thing not so enormous that it dominates any domestic setting in which it weighs anchor. The PS5’s size is both the elephant in the room and an elephant in the room.