9 major details we know — and 4 that we still don't — about the PlayStation 5
- The PlayStation 5, Sony's next-generation game console, is scheduled to launch this holiday season - and it's expected to be much more powerful than the existing PlayStation 4.
- Thus far, Sony has offered a first glimpse at the new console via its new DualSense gamepad, and a tech demo highlighted the technical prowess of the new machine. But we're still missing some crucial details.
- Here's everything we know - and a few major details we're still missing - about Sony's next-generation PlayStation console.
- For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.
The PlayStation 5 is almost here.
Sony's next-generation PlayStation game console is scheduled to arrive this holiday season, but we already know plenty of details about it right now: how powerful it is, its main features, and we've even gotten a good look at its new gamepad.
We're also still in the dark about some of the most important details, from pricing to what the console itself looks like.
Here's everything we know - and don't know - about the PlayStation 5 so far:
First: What we do know! 1. Games will look better than ever.
Unlike the PlayStation 4 Pro and the Xbox One X - half-step consoles that offered more power in the same console generation - the PlayStation 5 "allows for fundamental changes in what a game can be," Mark Cerny, Sony's lead system architect, told Wired in April 2019.
Core to that mission is the new console's processing chips: a new central processing unit and a graphics processing unit from AMD. The former is based on AMD's Ryzen line, while the latter is part of Radeon's Navi GPU line.
What that means for you: The PlayStation 5 is built with bleeding edge hardware.
2. Games will load much faster.
When you think of flashy new video game consoles, you probably don't think too much about hard drives - the thing you store games and game saves on.
But Cerny told Wired that the next PlayStation's hard drive is "a true game changer." Why's that? Because, for the first time ever, the next PlayStation will come with a solid state drive.
What's different about that? It's much, much faster than a traditional hard disc drive. In a demonstration of the new drive, 2018's "Marvel's Spider-Man" was loaded up on an early development kit for the next PlayStation - it demonstrated a reduction in load times from 15 seconds to less than a single second.
That indeed could be a game-changer. Just imagine all the time you've wasted waiting for games to load - now, imagine that being erased permanently.
3. It's capable of producing 8K visuals.
8K? Yes, 8K - as in "the next step for television resolutions after 4K." And yes, you probably just got a 4K television. (Even more likely: You still don't have a 4K television!)
That's fine. Though the PlayStation 5 will apparently be capable of producing 8K visuals, we don't expect that any games will take advantage of that for some time. After all, there are barely any 8K sets available for sale, let alone a large audience of people waiting for 8K content. And that doesn't even get into the absurd price tags on the 8K TVs that do exist.
This capability seems more like a measure of future-proofing against what will come next rather than a new standard for visual fidelity.
4. It can produce a new type of visuals, called "Ray Tracing."
Forget about 8K: What's this "ray tracing" business?
The long and short is it's a jargon term for what is essentially "more detailed, accurate lighting." A core component of video game visuals - like all other visual mediums - is how lighting is applied.
To that end, the PlayStation 5 will support the emerging form of virtual lighting.
5. It plays PlayStation 4 games as well as PlayStation 5 games.
Backwards compatibility is a hugely important feature of any game console, and it's one that the PlayStation 4 completely whiffed. Sony is correcting that with the PlayStation 5 - your PS4 games will run on the PS5.
There's one caveat: When the new console arrives this holiday, it won't be able to play the vast majority of those games. Somewhere in the realm of 2.5% of those 4,000-plus games will work.
"We recently took a look at the top 100 PlayStation 4 titles, as ranked by playtime, and we're expecting almost all of them to be playable at launch on PlayStation 5," the console's lead architect, Mark Cerny, said in a video Sony published in mid March.
The company committed to further expanding out compatibility "over time" in a separate blog post. "We believe that the overwhelming majority of the 4,000+ PS4 titles will be playable on PS5," the post said. "We have already tested hundreds of titles and are preparing to test thousands more as we move toward launch."
6. It works with PlayStation VR.
There will almost certainly be a new, higher-fidelity version of Sony's virtual reality headset, PlayStation VR, for the PlayStation 5. When asked about a new headset, Cerny told Wired, "VR is very important to us," but wouldn't elaborate. He did confirm, however, that the existing PlayStation VR headset for PS4 will work on the PlayStation 5.
Sony has yet to confirm this, but it stands to reason that the PlayStation 5 also supports PlayStation Move controllers and the PlayStation Camera - crucial components of the PlayStation VR system.
7. It has a new controller with improved feedback and battery life, and it's called the "DualSense."
In an October 2019 blog post, Jim Ryan, Sony Interactive Entertainment's president and CEO, shared the first new information about the PlayStation 5's controller.
The new controller uses haptic feedback instead of traditional "rumble," allowing developers to program more sensitive responses.
This is meant for players to feel different vibrations in their controller when they fire a gun or hold the wheel of a car. The PlayStation 5 controller also has adaptive triggers that can be programmed to have a different level of tension depending on the action, the post said.
Then, in April, Sony unveiled the controller itself with an array of images showing off its new design, as well as one additional feature: an array of built-in microphones that enable voice chat without a headset.
More than anything else, the "DualSense" controller is a physical departure from Sony's beloved line of DualShock PlayStation gamepads.
Sony has stuck with the same general gamepad design for years, starting with the PlayStation 1 and going all the way through to the PlayStation 4. It's an iconic shape that's known the world over.
But with the PlayStation 5, the design is taking a major turn.
"We went through several concepts and hundreds of mockups over the last few years before we settled on this final design," the blog post says.
8. Sony says it will release the PlayStation 5 during the 2020 holiday season.
There isn't a set release date for the PlayStation 5 yet, but Sony plans to launch it during the 2020 holiday season. Sony has already sent development models out to game designers so they can start building games for the console's launch later this year.
That said, the coronavirus pandemic could push release plans back - if that is indeed the case, Sony isn't saying just yet. In its latest reveal, for the DualSense gamepad, Sony reaffirmed a holiday release window.
"To the PlayStation community, I truly want to thank you for sharing this exciting journey with us as we head toward PS5's launch in Holiday 2020," Sony Interactive Entertainment head Jim Ryan said.
Moreover, in a recent interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Ryan once again reaffirmed Sony's commitment to a global PS5 launch this holiday season.
9. This is what games could look like on the PlayStation 5, care of a new tech demo:
Now, what we don't know. 1. How much it will cost.
With all this fancy new technology and graphics prowess, it stands to reason that the PlayStation 5 isn't intended as a budget console.
In fact, it sounds like the PlayStation 5 could be a more expensive console at launch than usual, according to a Bloomberg report.
That unusually high price is reportedly due to the console's "ambitious specs," which are driving Sony's decision to price the console higher than in its previous generation.
Sony, however, has yet to say anything officially about the console's price tag.
"I believe that we will be able to release it at an SRP [suggested retail price] that will be appealing to gamers in light of its advanced feature set," Cerny told Wired.
When pushed on what that meant, Cerny demurred. "That's about all I can say about it," he said.
2. What the console looks like.
In December 2019, in a surprise reveal at the annual video game industry awards show, Microsoft debuted its next-generation game console: The Xbox Series X.
Xbox leader Phil Spencer was on hand to talk through a bit of Microsoft's plan with its next-gen console, and the company has been persistent in messaging in the months since.
Over half a year later, and we've still yet to see what Sony's PlayStation 5 console looks like. We've seen its logo, and its new gamepad, and we've even seen a tech demo of what games could potentially look like, but we've still yet to see what the console itself looks like.
It's a seemingly trivial matter - after all, we're talking about a box that you rarely interact with - but it's a critically important aspect of marketing and messaging that consumers latch onto. The PlayStation 4 looks cool, and that certainly didn't hurt Sony in selling over 100 million PlayStation 4 consoles.
Most of all, since the Xbox Series X is the only next-gen console anyone has seen thus far, images of it represent "next-gen" consoles in media coverage.
3. What games are coming to the PlayStation 5 from Sony's legendary first-party development studios.
When it comes to the so-called "console wars," one massive advantage Sony has over Microsoft - that it has always had over Microsoft - is its vast library of excellent first-party game franchises created by Sony's legendary first-party game creation studios around the world.
From "God of War" to "Gran Turismo" to "The Last of Us" and "Uncharted," Sony's stable of first-party, exclusive game franchises is second to only Nintendo.
Moreover, some major sequels are expected to be in the works: a second "Marvel's Spider-Man" game, and a sequel to 2017's "Horizon Zero Dawn." Whether any of those major sequels are expected for the launch of the PlayStation 5 this holiday season remains to be seen - we've yet to hear about any first-party games coming to Sony's next-gen console.
4. How the console works, nor how the ecosystem works.
If you own a PlayStation 4, there's a good chance you own at least a few games digitally - no disc, just a downloaded game tied to your PlayStation Network account. If you get a PlayStation 5, do those games come with you? How about the save data from those games?
And what new features does the console have? Is the "suspend" function for games, which allows you to pause wherever you are in a game and come back later, return? Is it changing in any way?
How about game streaming - will that still be built-in to the console, like it is on the PS4?
These details, among many others, are still unknown. We've yet to see the console in operation, and these type of everyday details have yet to be detailed by Sony.
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