PS5 is the next-generation PlayStation, releasing in late 2020, after a long and incredible decade that saw Sony emerge as the clear winner in the home console wars in the eyes of many (sorry Xbox).
So what do we know about the PS5 so far? The hysteria started in early 2019, when Mark Cerny, the chief architect on Sony’s next console, confirmed that the company was working on the successor to the PS4 Slim and PS4 Pro.
What is the PS5’s release date?
Sony has officially confirmed that the PS5 will release “in time for Holiday 2020” in the US, so likely some time between October and December 2020. A leak has suggested that the release date will be November 20, 2020 but that’s yet to be confirmed – but it’s in the right window, and it would leave time before Christmas to get those orders in.
This would put the PlayStation 5 in direct competition with Microsoft’s Xbox Series X (formerly Xbox Project Scarlett), which is releasing during the same period. Game on.
What are the PS5’s hardware specifications?
Sony hasn’t yet provided hardware specifications for the console. What we know right now is that like Scarlett, the PS5 will be powered by technology from AMD. The eight-core CPU will be based on AMD’s third-generation Ryzen processors and its new 7 nm Zen 2 architecture, while the GPU will be a custom design from the company’s upcoming Navi line of graphics cards.
The GPU will support real-time ray tracing, a cutting-edge rendering technique that debuted in consumer-level graphics cards from AMD competitor Nvidia in 2018. But right now, Sony has not confirmed whether the PS5’s GPU will offer hardware-based ray tracing features. The company is currently promising that the console will also support resolutions of up to 8K and frame rates up to 120 Hz.
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On the nonvisual front, the PS5 will contain a custom chip for 3D audio, which will allow the console to deliver more immersive surround sound à la Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. It will still offer an optical drive for disc-based games. And Sony is touting a surprising component as the PS5’s biggest upgrade over current-generation consoles: a solid-state drive (instead of a hard drive) that’s designed specifically for gaming, which will greatly reduce load times and empower developers to create larger and more complex game worlds.
A newly discovered patent filed by Sony with the Japanese Patent Office recently revealed the first images of what appears to be the DualShock 5 (seen above on the right, compared with the current PS4 controller on the left), and it looks like not much is changing for Sony’s gamepad. The patent reveals that the PS5 controller will be ditching the DualShock 4’s light bar, with modifications to the size of the traditional triggers and sticks while adding what appears to be an in-built microphone around its base.
Will the PS5 be backward-compatible with PS4 games?
Yes. The PS5’s architecture is based partly on that of the PS4. So unlike with the leap from the PlayStation 3 to the PS4, your existing games will not become obsolete when Sony launches its next console. It’s worth noting, however, that Sony has not yet given any details on how PS4 backward compatibility will work or how much of the console’s library will be supported on the PS5.
Sony's official video comparing performance of PS4 Pro vs next-gen PlayStation pic.twitter.com/2eUROxKFLq
— Takashi Mochizuki (@6d6f636869) May 21, 2019
Sony hasn’t officially confirmed a PS5 price yet and, according to the company, that’s because it hasn’t actually decided how much the next-gen console will cost.
In a quarterly earnings call, Sony’s chief financial officer Hiroki Totoki revealed the company still hasn’t nailed down the PS5 price.
“What is not very clear or visible is because we are competing in the space, so it’s very difficult to discuss anything about the price at this point of time, and depending upon the price level, we may have to determine the promotion that we are going to deploy and how much costs we are prepared to pay,” Totoki explained.
“First, we must absolutely control the labour cost, the personnel cost, it must be controlled, and the initial ramp up, how much can we prepare initially, we will work on the production and the sales and we will have to prepare the right volume as we launch this,” Totoki continued.
“It’s a balancing act it’s very difficult to say anything concrete at this point of time,” Totoki said. But we do know that Sony is aiming for “the best balance so that we will be profitable in the life, during the life of this product.”
While Sony may not have a price nailed down, there have been rumors about how much the PS5 could cost. One such rumor has suggested that the console will cost $499 in North America when it launches.
Naturally this should be taken with a pinch of salt, but it would be welcome news if the console did launch at this price, as it’s only $100 more than the launch price of the PS4 and PS4 Pro.
There’s also been a less believable rumor claiming the PS5 will cost up to £900 in the UK, which would be around $1,200, but Sony quickly debunked that.
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We can expect that the console’s price will be in line with the technology it uses, but Sony will also have to be aware of its competition. It’s unlikely, with the Xbox Series X, that Microsoft will repeat the mistake it made by launching the Xbox One at a prohibitively high price point, so Sony will have to ensure that it doesn’t make a similar mistake by making the PS5 too expensive.
There were also concerns that a US trade tariff on Chinese imports of electronics would hike up the price of the PS5 and Xbox Series X, however the tariff has now been halted, meaning we shouldn’t have to deal with next-gen consoles being even more expensive.
Will the PS5 support cloud gaming?
Unconfirmed, but it’s more likely than not. In the Wired interview in which Sony’s Mark Cerny — lead system architect for both the PS4 and PS5 — revealed the first details about the next PlayStation, he didn’t divulge anything about the company’s cloud gaming plans. He said only that “we are cloud-gaming pioneers, and our vision should become clear as we head toward launch.”
One key development that points to Sony’s interest in cloud gaming is that the company recently signed a deal with Microsoft — yes, the Xbox maker, which is launching a beta of Project xCloud this fall — in which the two firms agreed to “explore joint development of future cloud solutions in Microsoft Azure to support their respective game and content-streaming services.” Azure is Microsoft’s cloud computing platform, and one of its most successful business segments. Sony currently offers a streaming library containing hundreds of PlayStation 2, PS3, and PS4 games via PlayStation Now, but the company is now investing even more in cloud gaming.
The PS5 logo rather familiar
At CES 2020, Sony revealed the official PS5 logo, and as you can see above, it’s not exactly much of a surprise. It’s exactly the same as the PS3 and PS4 logos, but with a rather slick five at the end.
Featured Image Origin: Future