The PlayStation 5 has been officially announced in a rather unconventional way. Gone are the big events, the flashy presentation and the social media reveal. Sony has partnered with Wired to give away the prize details we’ve all been waiting for. No matter, we have details – the name, release date and some technical specs. Also, we can look forward to an exciting winter in 2020.
First of all, credit has to go to Wired and Peter Rubin for all the details found here. Rather than release details themselves, Sony has chosen two careful moments in time here in 2019 to release details about the PS5 – both through Wired Magazine. Sony didn’t turn up at this year’s E3 conference and have since launched their own regular video updates (State of Play) to fans. It’s not yet clear if Sony will return to E3 next years E3 or they will continue to reveal details through State of Play.
Sony has officially named their next-generation console the PlayStation 5. While this may not come as a surprise to Sony fans given their previous consoles were called the PlayStation 2, 3 and 4 it’s good to know the console has an official name and that it makes sense (here’s looking at you Nintendo Wii). Also, we have a date for the console (or at least a range) which is holiday 2020.
Technical details have also been released related to the PS5 CPU, ray-tracing capabilities and SSD. These details were covered in part in April 2019 when initial reports came out however Mark Cerny wanted to clarify some of the details.
First, the PS5 will have a CPU based on AMD’s Ryzen line with 8 cores, which will make it a beast of a console. The PS5 GPU will be a custom Navi GPU that supports hardware-level ray-tracing. Regarding audio, the PS5 will have 3D audio capabilities which Mark Cerny believes will be a significant improvement over the PS4. It’ll support up to 8K resolutions and includes a 4K Bluray player supporting the PS5 100GB optical discs.
With regards to the solid-state drive, there will be an improvement in load time speed but also efficiency that this can offer to developers. This will allow for less duplication of assets in-game files, allowing for a faster read and render. “If you look at a game like Marvel’s Spider-Man,” Cerny says, “there are some pieces of data duplicated 400 times on the hard drive.” This allows developers to utilise the space more effectively which could include building more detailed game worlds.
Sony has said they may allow for a more configurable game installation as their approach to storage differs with the PS5. This could include installing parts of the game, rather than the whole thing. “Rather than treating games like a big block of data,” Cerny says, “we’re allowing finer-grained access to the data.” This could mean installing the multiplayer mode, then the campaign mode – but perhaps uninstalling it when it’s complete and you don’t need it anymore.
The UI is getting an upgrade too from what could be described as a fairly static experience on the PS4 to a more dynamic one with the PS5. At the moment you can check in with the games dashboard before you log into a game, but once you do you can lose connection with your friend list or other events you could hop into like single-player missions or multiplayer matches. “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.”
Another big update with the PS5 is with the controller. The yet-unnamed device (although likely to be confirmed as the DualShock 5) has new haptic feedback capabilities which allow for a more immersive feel to gaming. Adaptive triggers will allow you to feel varying levels of resistance such as pulling back an arrow or making a machine gun feel different from a shotgun. This will allow a more refined feel to games for example if you’re walking through a desert, jungle or ice level – it will feel different in your hands.
All of these new features add up a more immediate, detailed and immersive experience. The GPU will lead to machine learning advance experiences in gaming we have not yet thought of. However, it’s going to take some time for these things to bed in with developers and they need to be given the time to explore and understand these features to put them into practice. In 2017 and 2018 we really saw the fruit of the capabilities of the PlayStation 4 through Horizon Zero Dawn, God of War, Monster Hunter World and Red Dead Redemption 2.
PlayStation 5 has a name, date and some specs. Next up it’s time to see the games. It’s likely we’ll get ports of late PS4 titles to early PS5 releases. I for one hope PlayStation come back to E3 next year all singing, all dancing to show off their wares and the games they have in development in the way that only Sony can.