The PS5 (or PlayStation 5) is the next-generation PlayStation console, with a release date confirmed for late 2020. During Sony’s The Future of Gaming event on June 11, we finally got our first look at the PS5’s design and the PS5 games line-up, which includes the likes of Horizon Forbidden West and a remake of Demon’s Souls.
The PS5 design reveal was a shock, and it included the surprise unveiling of the PS5 Digital Edition – an streamlines, all-digital console without a disc drive. It’s another sign that console manufacturers have their eye on a future without physical media. While Sony didn’t reveal the PS5 price or release date, we now know a lot of what we can expect when the PlayStation 5 launches later this year.
In many ways, this was the equivalent of a PS5 E3 conference, and we now have a strong idea of what to expect from Sony’s next-gen machine.
Earlier this year, Sony revealed the DualSense PS5 controller, which includes a slew of impressive-sounding features like haptic feedback, adaptive triggers and a built-in mic. What really stands out about the DualSense controller, though, is its radically different look and space-age black-and-white color scheme, and it turns out the PS5 design has a similar look – this marks a significant departure from its predecessors.
Just as important as the DualSense Controller are the PS5 specs, discussed in detail at Sony’s March reveal event. Lead system architect Mark Cerny provided us with a deep dive into the PS5’s system architecture, revealing the technical inner workings of the PS5. We’ll cover them in more detail down below, but the short of it is that the PS5 is rocking an AMD Zen 2-based CPU with 8 cores at 3.5GHz, 16GB of GDDR6 memory and a custom RDNA 2 AMD GPU that puts out 10.28 TFLOPs of processing power.
When it comes to other PS5 features, we know the next-gen console will have ray-tracing, a super-fast SSD, a built-in 4K Blu-ray player and will be backwards compatible with a huge swathe of the PS4’s game catalogue. It may even have voice assistant capabilities to tell you how long it will take to beat levels. So far, then, the PS5 is living up to the hype, but it’s the games that’ll make all the difference.
Key Facts About the PS5
- When will it release? “Holiday 2020” in the US, says Sony, so between October and December 2020.
- What can I play on it? Loads of games! They include a new Spider-Man entry, a Horizon Zero Dawn sequel, a Demon’s Souls remake, Resident Evil 8 and much more to come.
- Will PS5 have VR? Oh yes. The next-gen console will be compatible with current PSVR hardware, and there are also rumors of PSVR 2.
- What will the PS5 cost? TBC. The PS4 and PS4 Pro were both $399 / £349 at launch, but we expect the PS5 will cost somewhat more. Leaks have suggested around the $499 mark.
- Can I play PS4 games on the PS5? The PS5 will definitely be backwards compatible with “almost all” PS4 games – earlier generations are still to be confirmed. It will launch with support for the majority of the top 100 PS4 games, according to Sony’s Mark Cerny.
- Will coronavirus delay the PS5 release? Sony has confirmed the PS5 release date is not currently delayed by coronavirus, and reiterated the fact that the PS5 is still on course for a “Holiday 2020” release in its end of year financial report.
The importance of their SSD
As has already been explored, the SSD is key to the PlayStation 5 experience. Internal storage will be built in at 825GB for the custom SSD – that’s less than you’ll find in the Xbox Series X, but with just as clever an implementation of the technology.
SSDs have more bandwidth, so data can be loaded from the SSD when it’s needed, rather than heaps of potentially needless data being loaded into RAM. In pure gameplay terms that means that games will suffer less from texture pop-in, while load times will be hugely reduced when using a game’s fast-travel option. Booting up from standby should be generally much faster, too.
You’ll also have more control over how you install and remove games, meaning you could just install a game’s multiplayer mode rather than the full block of data. This will allow for launch of direct gameplay, allowing players to jump straight into aspects of different games (such as match-making, continue save game etc) without having to boot up the full game.
Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida added that the PS5’s custom-built SSD will enable processing speeds that dwarf those found on PlayStation 4.
“In order to further enhance the sense of immersion in games, we expect to improve not just the resolution, but the speed of games,” the Sony document reads.
“For example, through a custom-designed high-speed SSD, we plan to realize game data processing speeds that are approximately 100 times faster than PS4. Game load times should be much shorter, and players should be able to move through immense game worlds in almost an instant.”
In fact, Epic Games has revealed that the PS5’s SSD is so fast that the developer had to rework the Unreal Engine 5 tech demo to take full advantage of it.
“The ability to stream in content at extreme speeds enables developers to create denser and more detailed environments, changing how we think about streaming content,” Epic Games VP of engineering, Nick Penwarden, told VG247. “It’s so impactful that we’ve rewritten our core I/O subsystems for Unreal Engine with the PlayStation 5 in mind.”
What will the PS5 user interface look like?
The user interface on the PlayStation 4 is fast and works well, but it’s also static and can not provide a ton of information. The PS5 is set to change this.
“Even though it will be fairly fast to boot games, we don’t want the player to have to boot the game, see what’s up, boot the game, see what’s up,” PlayStation said. “Multiplayer game servers will provide the console with the set of joinable activities in real time. Single-player games will provide information like what missions you could do and what rewards you might receive for completing them—and all of those choices will be visible in the UI. As a player you just jump right into whatever you like.”
I don’t know about you all, but that sure sounds awesome to me and I can’t wait to get my hands on one of these amazing consoles.