We’ve known for a while now that Sony is working on its next-gen PlayStation console which is the PlayStation 5. Though today, we got the first real details on what to expect from the new console, thanks to an interview at Wired. Specifically, Sony is promising that the PlayStation 5 will support 8K graphics, 3D audio, super fast SSDs, and backwards compatibility with existing PS4 games.
According to Mark Cerny, who served as the lead system architect for the PS4, the next-gen console isn’t just a spec-boosted upgrade of the PlayStation 4, like the PS4 Pro was. There’s entirely new hardware inside the PlayStation 5, including AMD’s 3rd Gen Ryzen eight-core which is built on the latest 7nm Zen 2 process and a custom GPU based on AMD’s new Radeon Navi architecture, which will also bring ray-tracing graphics to a game console for the first time ever. And as for the end result of all those hardware improvements: the PlayStation5 will support 8K graphics, assuming you’ve got a TV that supports 8K in the first place.
Sony is also putting efforts on the 3D audio for the PlayStation 5. The new 3rd Gen Ryzen chip apparently includes a custom unit just for 3D Audio, which Sony hopes will lead to a more immersive gaming both on headphones and TV speakers.
Another big change coming to the PlayStation 5 is the replacement of the traditional mechanical hard drive with a Solid State Drive, which Sony promises will drastically improve load time and gameplay beyond anything possible with a hard drive. (In a demo described by Wired, fast-traveling in Spider-Man for the PlayStation 4 took only 0.8 seconds on an early devkit for the PlayStation 5, compared to 15 seconds on a PS4.)
Another major detail that Sony revealed about the PlayStation 5 is the fact that the PS5 be backwards compatible with existing PlayStation 4 games. Unlike the PS3 to PS4 transition, the PS4 and PS5 share similar architectures, making cross-generational game support much easier. Though, there will still be physical copies of the games to buy, not just downloads (although Sony has yet to reveal if these will be Blu-ray discs or something more exotic than before). Sony is also promising that when the PlayStation 5 does roll around, it’ll be a much slower transition, with multiple new games releasing for both the PS4 and PS5 — at least at the very start.
For now, Sony seems to only be willing to talk about hardware and nothing more. There’s not a single word yet on things like games or media features. It could be some time until we could learn more about the PS5. The PlayStation 5 most probably won’t be making an appearance at E3 2019 since Sony is sitting out of the show this year.
There’s still no release date for the PS5 yet, Cerny would only tell Wired that it won’t be out this year, but that developers already have all the access to development kits to develop games for it, which would make sense for a rumored launch in the year 2020.
You’ll still be using discs to play games on Sony’s next games console, and it won’t be landing until at least 2020. That’s according to Mark Cerny at Sony who is the lead system architect on the next-gen console.
In an interview with Wired, Cerny has confirmed the console won’t be launching later this year but he refused to confirm whether it’ll be called the PlayStation 5.
Running off a bespoke version of the third generation AMD Ryzen chipset (8 cores with the company’s new Zen 2 microarchitecture), the forthcoming console will be capable of supporting ray tracing – a complex lighting technique that has so far been the reserve of incredibly high-end PC GPUs. The chipset will also be capable of delivering a new “gold standard” in immersive 3D audio, particularly for those that enjoy playing with a headphone headset attached.
One of the other major upgrades here will be the integration of a bespoke solid-state harddrive, which would work differently to how you can connect an SSD to your existing PS4.
Sony showed a demonstration of an early devkit to Wired in the interview. During a game of Spider-Man a fast travel loading screen took 15 seconds on a PlayStation 4 Pro, but the same task took under a second on the next-gen devkit. It’s estimated to be some 19 times faster than a standard SSD in terms of read times.
Essentially, you should expect your games to load a lot faster on this next-gen console. That said, the integration of this technology may cost a lot so there may be a price hike.
All the big details
Cerny confirmed the console will still boast discs to play games, and it’ll be backward compatible with PS4 titles too. It doesn’t look like it’ll support PS3, PS2 or original PlayStation titles though.
That doesn’t mean the company will avoid the idea of cloud gaming entirely, or necessarily its vintage catalogue. Cerny also said, “we are cloud-gaming pioneers, and our vision should become clear as we head toward launch”.
Whether that means an extension to PS Now – Sony’s current classic game streaming service – or an entirely different system remains to be clear.
Your existing PlayStation VR headset will work with the upcoming console, Cerny confirmed, but we’d also expect the company to release a next-gen version of its virtual reality headset in the future too.
The upcoming console will also support 8K to futureproof it for your next-gen TV too.
Cerny wasn’t drawn on a release date for the console or a price, other than to deny rumors of a 2019 release date. But we’d hope to learn more of those details when the company officially unveils the full console.
The Wired article says, “Sony recently accelerated its deployment of devkits so that game creators will have the time they need to adjust to its capabilities.”
That suggests game developers already have the technology to play with, meaning we may hear more about the new console sooner rather than later.