We’re only halfway through 2020, and Sony has already revealed several details regarding the PS5, its next-generation console. We’ve learned about the console’s technical specs, as well as its new DualSense controller and certain games, and the official website is live. We’ve even seen Unreal Engine 5 gameplay running on the system, and though it was not of a full game, the technical specifications of the system mean we would be approaching photorealism in some games. We’ve also heard reports of what could very well be this year’s new Call of Duty game, which will almost certainly release on PS5.
PS5 planned to launch this holiday season, and though Sony hasn’t revealed a final date or price, it will reportedly still arrive in 2020 and the ongoing pandemic is not impacting this timeline. However, a Bloomberg report indicates we may need to prepare for supply shortages at launch, as well as possibly reduced or altered promotion compared to Sony’s typical product releases. However, those supply shortages will not directly be due to COVID-19.
In terms of what we already know, we do have the console’s official name: Unsurprisingly, the console is indeed called the PlayStation 5, just as was to be expected. Additionally, we’ve learned what the logo looks like, and it’s equally unsurprising. The classic PlayStation symbol will also appear on the controller, called the DualSense. The controller’s name reflects its expanded capabilities, including more haptic feedback compared to the DualShock 4 and variable resistance in the triggers. The controller sports a new look, as well, with a two-tone black and white design. During 2019, it was revealed that the PS5 will also have PS4 backwards compatibility and SSD storage, and it will support PSVR. The company has also outlined some green, energy-efficient initiatives it is planning for the next generation.
PS5 And PS4 News And Announcements
Now after a long wait, Sony is finally preparing to hold a reveal event where it will formally debut the console and show off its first games. After a brief delay due to ongoing racial justice protests, the company has now set the PS5 reveal event for June 11. With only days to go before we learn much more about the next-gen console, here’s everything we know so far.
PS5 Release Date
This is surely the question on everybody’s lips: when will the PS5 come out? Sony, as you’d expect, is tight-lipped on the matter, but it has confirmed a “holiday 2020” release window for the PlayStation 5. The company has been no more specific than that–Microsoft has also provided the same vague window–but historically, November has been a frequent month for console releases in the past. Pre-orders are unlikely to go live until release date and pricing information is revealed, but you can sign up for pre-order notifications from several major retailers now.
Again, Sony has not stated how much its new console will cost, but it did say that the PS5’s price will be attractive to gamers. “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,” said Mark Cerny, the lead architect of the PS4 who’s currently working on its successor.
Of course, you wouldn’t expect Sony to say anything different, but one gets the feeling the company has learned from the PS3’s exorbitant price tag–and the console’s subsequent struggles–and the PS4’s more reasonable cost and subsequent successes. This is especially likely considering Microsoft’s own struggles early in the Xbox One’s lifespan, as it priced the system a full $100 above the PS4 and was forced to make cuts to address this later.
Will PS5 Be Backwards Compatible With PS4 games?
Cerny also confirmed the PS5 will be backward compatible with PS4 games, as the two consoles are built upon similar internal architectures. This will be welcome news for those who were disappointed by the PS4’s lack of backward compatibility with PS3, PS2, and PS1 games.
In terms of which games players can expect to play, the full list hasn’t been confirmed. However, Cerny noted that PS4’s 100 most played games will be playable on PS5 at launch and all will run even better than before. “Running PS4 and PS4 titles at boosted frequencies has also added complexity,” Cerny said. “The boost is truly massive this time around and some game code just can’t handle it. Testing has to be done on a title by title basis. Results are excellent though. 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.”
He also discussed how backwards compatibility will be approached in the PS5 internally, and how the functionality will not be removed upon subsequent console iterations given the nature of their approach to designing the feature. “One way you can achieve backwards compatibility is to put the previous console’s chipset into the new console as we did with some PlayStation 3s,” he said.”But that’s, of course, extremely expensive. A better way is to incorporate any differences in the previous console’s logic into the new console’s custom chip. Meaning that, even as the technology evolves, the logic and feature set that the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 Pro titles rely on is still available in backwards compatibility mode. One advantage of this strategy is that once backwards compatibility is in the console, it’s in. It’s not as if a cost down will remove backwards compatibility like it did on PlayStation 3.”
SIE president Jim Ryan told GameSpot sister site CNET backwards compatibility and cross-gen are important for the PS5 to help players have a seamless transition.
“Whether it’s backwards compatibility or the possibility of cross-generational play, we’ll be able to transition that community to next-gen,” he said. “It won’t be a binary choice about whether you have to be either on PlayStation 4 or next-gen to continue your friendship.”
In yet more welcome news, PS4 games will even run faster than they do on your current console, in part because the PS5 will contain a solid-state drive, as opposed to hard drives that current consoles ship with. Cerny has demonstrated a load screen from Insomniac’s Spider-Man taking less than a second on a PS5 development kit, compared with 15 seconds on a PS4 Pro.
Sony showed off the faster loading times during an investor presentation in May. You can see the video below, which was captured by Wall Street Journal reporter Takashi Mochizuki.
Sony’s official video comparing performance of PS4 Pro vs next-gen PlayStation pic.twitter.com/2eUROxKFLq
— Takashi Mochizuki (@6d6f636869) May 21, 2019
PS5 Specs And Disc Drive
This is where Sony has been surprisingly forthright with new information. The company has confirmed the PlayStation 5 will contain an AMD chip that has a CPU based on the third-generation Ryzen. It’ll have eight cores of the seven-nanometer Zen 2 microchip. The console will also support 8K gameplay, but this will of course be dependent upon TVs catching up.
Graphics will be driven by a custom version of Radeon’s Navi line. This graphics chip will support ray-tracing, something which is starting to become popular in movies and video games. Although it is traditionally thought of as a lighting technique, Cerny says this technique could also improve game audio. In fact, PS5 will fully support 3D audio.
The aforementioned SSD is a big detail too, as it means games will load faster and be able to handle more objects on-screen at once than current HDD-driven consoles. Characters and cameras could move faster through game worlds, as environments could be loaded in much faster than they are at present. It will also lead to faster install times for games and patches.
As one final detail, we know the PS5 will not go the route of the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition, which doesn’t include a disc drive. Instead, the PS5 will include a disc drive, so rest assured you’ll still be able to buy and play physical games. PS5 discs will have a capacity of 100 GB, and the console will also support 4K Blu-Rays.
Sony has also confirmed that the PS5 is capable of supporting 4K visuals at 120Hz for those who have TVs that can support that. 120Hz is a refresh rate around double the rate of standard TVs. You can check the full specs below:
PlayStation 5 Specs
|CPU||8x Zen 2 Cores at 3.5GHz (variable frequency)|
|GPU||10.28 TFLOPs, 36 CUs at 2.23GHz (variable frequency)|
|GPU Architecture||Custom RDNA 2|
|Internal Storage||Custom 825GB SSD|
|IO Throughput||5.5GB/s (Raw), Typical 8-9GB/s (Compressed)|
|Expandable Storage||NVMe SSD Slot|
|External Storage||USB HDD Support|
|Optical Drive||4K UHD Blu-ray Drive|
Sony has opened up on its vision for the PlayStation 5’s controller by saying: “One of our goals with the next generation is to deepen the feeling of immersion when you play games, and we had the opportunity with our new controller to reimagine how the sense of touch can add to that immersion.
“To that end, there are two key innovations with the PlayStation 5’s new controller. First, we’re adopting haptic feedback to replace the ‘rumble’ technology found in controllers since the 5th generation of consoles. With haptics, you truly feel a broader range of feedback, so crashing into a wall in a race car feels much different than making a tackle on the football field. You can even get a sense of a variety of textures when running through fields of grass or plodding through mud.
“The second innovation is something we call adaptive triggers, which have been incorporated into the trigger buttons (L2/R2). Developers can program the resistance of the triggers so that you feel the tactile sensation of drawing a bow and arrow or accelerating an off-road vehicle through rocky terrain. In combination with the haptics, this can produce a powerful experience that better simulates various actions. Game creators have started to receive early versions of the new controller, and we can’t wait to see where their imagination goes with these new features at their disposal.”
On April 7, Sony shared additional details, reconfirming that the controller uses a rechargeable battery. It also revealed the design, which you can see above–it has a tone-tone look and features a built-in microphone, so you don’t need to wear a headset for online voice chat. Furthermore, the Share button from the PS4’s DualShock has been replaced with what Sony has now dubbed the Create button. Details on what that change means have not been shared, with Sony explaining in a PlayStation Blog post, “With Create, we’re once again pioneering new ways for players to create epic gameplay content to share with the world, or just to enjoy for themselves.”
SIE boss Jim Ryan added, “DualSense marks a radical departure from our previous controller offerings and captures just how strongly we feel about making a generational leap with PS5. The new controller, along with the many innovative features in PS5, will be transformative for games–continuing our mission at PlayStation to push the boundaries of play, now and in the future. 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. We look forward to sharing more information about PS5, including the console design, in the coming months.”
Unreal Engine 5 Gameplay
On May 13 as part of Geoff Keighley’s Summer Games Fest, Epic Games showcased Unreal Engine 5 for the first time with a gameplay demonstration running on PS5. This demo was not for a full game, but rather a slice of what the PS5 can do while using Epic Games’ new technology. It featured extremely realistic visuals, no texture pop-in, a smooth framerate, and the ability to transfer assets from films directly into games rather than have to considerably rework them. Unreal Engine 5 will power Fortnite on PS5 by mid-2021.
This technology will not be limited to the PS5, however. Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney clarified a few days after the event that the Xbox Series X will support the demo’s technology, as well, including its Lumen lightning systems and Nanite geometry.
Can I Use Expandable Storage With PS5?
The PS5 allows users to install non-Sony proprietary expandable storage, giving you the option to purchase off-the-shelf parts to slot into the system. According to a Digital Foundry report, “NVMe PC drives will work in PlayStation 5, [but] the only problem is that PC technology is significantly behind PS5 [and] Sony needs to validate them to ensure that they will work properly.”
In Cerny’s talk discussing the PS5, he noted that Sony was testing expandable storage devices to ensure that they can physically fit into the PS5 and also deliver the required performance. The company has advised people not to purchase drives ahead of it revealing its recommendations, so don’t jump the gun just yet in your efforts to prepare yourself for the incoming launch. PS5-compatible SSD storage is expected to come “a bit past” launch, though.
Sony’s approach is far different from Xbox Series X, which will support external storage devices but only for Xbox One games and other media. For Xbox Series X games, they will require proprietary cards.
Will PS5 Support PSVR?
The current PSVR will indeed be supported by PS5, as will the PlayStation Move controllers. “I won’t go into the details of our VR strategy,” Cerny has stated, “beyond saying that VR is very important to us and that the current PSVR headset is compatible with the new console.” The system architect stopped short of saying whether a new PSVR device will ever come out, however.
It was believed that Sony’s briefing at CES 2020 could bring with it some PlayStation 5 news, but that only barely turned out to be the case. Sony’s Jim Ryan appeared on stage to share some impressive stats regarding the PS4 and to reveal the PlayStation 5 logo, which you can see below. It’s hardly surprising, maintaining the same style used for recent generations. Beyond that, Sony had nothing new to discuss PS5 during the tech-focused event.
Though Sony has been generally quiet about the PS5 since its announcement, it came forward to reveal just slightly more information in conjunction with the announcement of a United Nations initiative. The Playing for the Planet alliance aims to make the video game industry more environmentally friendly. To that end, Sony announced that the next generation of its hardware will use dramatically less power when placed into suspend/sleep mode. Just one million PS5 users turning on the energy-efficient feature would save enough electricity to power 1,000 US homes. The company is also conducting a carbon footprint assessment and looking into more energy-efficient data centers.
We don’t yet know many confirmed games coming to PS5. It’s reasonable to presume annual titles like FIFA and Call of Duty would make the jump to PS5, though their developers haven’t stated anything concrete. The full launch games list has also not been revealed.
However, we do know that Sony is planning on unveiling this soon, and it had a PS5 event scheduled for June 4 where it was supposed confirmed to show off some of the games coming to the system. The event has been bumped to an unspecified future date.
Currently one confirmed PS5 game is Godfall, a loot-based melee action-RPG. It’s scheduled for late 2020, which more than likely makes it a PS5 launch game. However, time will tell!
Fortnite will be available on PS5 at launch and will support cross-progression and cross-play. It will move to Unreal Engine 5 on PS5 in 2021.
The next Battlefield game will also be coming to PS5 in addition to Xbox Series X in 2021, developer DICE confirmed in April.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla will be coming to current-generation systems as well as next-generation systems, including the PS5. However, the first gameplay we see for the title will be from the Xbox Series X version, and it’s unclear as of now what the differences will be between platforms.
The other game possibly confirmed to be playable on PS5 is the Final Fantasy VII remake, after Square Enix’s president and CEO Yosuke Matsuda said: “I believe that our teams have made it so that the game will support both the next generation and the current generation of consoles. I believe it is being developed so that it is going to be playable on both, so I’m not really concerned about that and I believe that the fans are also going to be able to enjoy it on both, including the next-generation of consoles.”
However, it’s not clear whether Matsuda was referring to a dedicated PS5 edition of the game, or if he was simply referring to the PS4 version being playable on PS5 via backward compatibility. If it’s the latter, then we can technically count every PS4 game as playable on PS5.
Finally, we know Bluepoint Games, the studio behind remakes such as Shadow of the Colossus and Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection, is working on a PS5 game that it says is a “big” one.
PlayStation 5’s new user interface will allow you to see more details about friends’ games without opening the applications themselves. “Even though it will be fairly fast to boot games,” says Cerny, “We don’t want the player to have to boot the game, see what’s up, boot the game, see what’s up. 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.”
This article was originally published on GAMESPOTBy