Sony PS5: Games, price, specs, release date, and more

Now that the PlayStation 5 reveal event has come and gone, concrete details about the console are finally public, like its price, release date, and launch lineup. After getting newer versions of the PS4 with only slight technical upgrades, such as the PS4 Pro and PS4 Slim, a new system will release during the holiday season of this year. And it won’t be alone: Microsoft is hard at work on a next-generation Xbox, called the Xbox Series X, and the Xbox Series S as well.

From hardware to games, here is everything you need to know about Sony’s next console, the PlayStation 5.

Price, preorders, and release date

On September 16, Sony finally revealed the price and release date of the PS5 after months of waiting. Both versions — the Standard and Digital Editions — will launch on November 12, 2020, in the United States and Japan, and on November 19 in other territories. This comes just two days after the release of Microsoft’s new Xbox Series X and Series S systems, which will release worldwide on November 10.

As for the PS5’s price, the Standard Edition will be $499.99, and the Digital Edition will cost $399.99. The company stated that these prices were set in stone toward the beginning of the year, though many believe Sony was waiting for Microsoft to reveal the prices of the new Xbox systems first. Nonetheless, these prices are competitive and will make it tough to choose a console this holiday.

The preorder situation is a bit trickier, as many retailers have already sold out of both PS5 systems. Sony did state that we’d have ample warning before preorders would go live, but so far, that has not been the case. The company has also been sending out preorder invitations to select PlayStation users, but not everyone has received their invites. According to the email, those selected will have a chance to preorder beginning on Friday, September 18, at 10 a.m. PDT.

We’ll be getting not one, but two PS5 systems

As we have come to expect from Sony, the company didn’t reinvent the wheel when naming the next PlayStation. It’s called the PlayStation 5, also known as the PS5. With the name, Sony showed it’s taking a true jump into the next generation, rather than a half-step like with the PS4 Pro.

Sony first confirmed that it was actively working on a new console in an interview with the Financial Times. CEO Kenichiro Yoshida confirmed that it is “necessary to have next-generation hardware.” The same Financial Times report said the PS5 wouldn’t be radically different in design than the PS4. This falls in line with what system architect Mark Cerny told Wired during an April 2019 interview. As you’ll find below, Sony’s next console will get a significant upgrade in power.

The interesting thing is that we’ll be getting not one system, but two — the Standard Edition, which will read discs, along with the Digital Edition, which will only allow for digital downloads. This is a huge move in the direction of an eventual all-digital future. Not only that, but it offers a more affordable way to get into the next generation.

PlayStation 5 specs

There will be two versions of the console, a regular one and a digital version that won’t support discs. The console is white and black and can be laid vertically or horizontally. Buyers will be able to decide if they want to purchase the digital model or not, assuming the retailers have stock. After preorders went live on September 16, 2020, consumers were met with frustration as each retailer quickly sold out of PS5 systems. Hopefully, you’ll have an easier time picking between the two as it gets closer to the system’s release. 

In a blog post, Sony said, “The PS5 gameplay experience will be the same, so the choice is all yours. While there are some slight differences in the look of each model, for the overall design, we wanted to deliver a console that’s bold, stunning, and unlike any previous generation of PlayStation.”

The system will have accessories like an HD camera, a media remote, a Pulse 3D wireless headset, and a DualSense charging station that will charge two controllers. 

Here are the specs:

Dimensions 390mm x 260mm x 104mm
Weight 10.54 pounds
Color Black and white
CPU 8-core, 3.5GHz Custom Zen 2
GPU 36 CUs, 10.3 TFLOPS, 2.23GHz
Memory 16GB GDDR6
Memory bandwidth 448GBps
Storage 825GB custom SSD
Optical drive 4K UHD Blu-ray drive
4K Yes
Ports Includes USB and NVME slot
Online subscription PS Plus
Price $399/$499
Availability November 12, 2020, in the U.S. (November 19 in other territories)
Digital Trends review Coming soon

In the interview with Wired, Mark Cerny revealed that the PS5’s CPU and GPU are AMD chips that will be able to support 3D audio, 8K graphics, and ray tracing, a feature currently found on very powerful PCs. The CPU will be an eight-core chip based on the Ryzen line and use Zen 2 microarchitecture. The GPU will be based on the Radeon Navi line.

So, what do we know about the chips? In a follow-up interview with Wired, Cerny confirmed that the GPU would be capable of hardware-based ray tracing, rather than a software-side solution. The PS5 will also be ditching a hard-disk drive in favor of a solid-state drive with higher bandwidth than those used in current PCs. With the move to an SSD drive, loading times should be reduced significantly when compared to Sony’s latest PS4 model, the PlayStation 4 Pro.

In an investor briefing, Sony shared that content that takes more than eight seconds to load on the PlayStation 4 Pro can be done in less than a second on the next-generation console. It is also rumored to be more powerful than Xbox’s Project Scarlett, but this is currently unconfirmed.

The PlayStation 5 will support Blu-ray discs, as well as digital downloads and game streaming. The console will be equipped with a 4K Blu-ray player, just like the Xbox One S and Xbox One X, and it will use games with a data capacity of 100GB.

To help mitigate installation times brought on by huge file sizes, Sony will make use of the SSD and allow you to only install the parts of games you want to play, such as a competitive multiplayer mode or campaign. Games can also be loaded to specific modes from the dashboard, so you can join your friend in a match without having to go through the entire starting process as you would on games for PS4.

Backward compatibility

best ps4 games header

Mark Cerny confirmed that the PlayStation 5 will be backward compatible with PS4 and PSVR games. This will not include PS3, Ps2, or PS1 games, according to the BBC. The reason for this, Cerny cited, was the PS5 and PS4’s similar architecture. Sony later said it planned to use backward compatibility to help players transition into the next-generation system from the PS4.

At the recent PS5 showcase, we also learned of the PS Plus Collection — an additional component to PlayStation Plus. It will allow PS5 users to download and play the most defining PS4 games, such as Uncharted 4, Persona 5, Bloodborne, The Last of Us: Remastered, God of War, and more. This means PS5 players will already have a huge library of games to play on day one, provided they are PS Plus members.

No information on a potential PSVR 2 has been released, but the PS5 will support the current headset. This means that instead of needing to keep your PS4 and PS5, you could trade in or sell your earlier system. In addition, Sony recently filed a patent for a finger-tracking controller with sensors that could potentially be for the system.

“This controller device is worn on the hand of a user and includes: a plurality of sensor units that detect the fingers of the user; and a sensor support part that supports the sensor units,” the patent description reads. “The sensor support part supports the sensor units so that the distance between adjacent sensor units can be changed.”

The next PSVR?

Though Sony has not outright confirmed a successor to the PlayStation VR yet, the company has made it clear that it intends to improve on the headset’s design with future iterations. Speaking to CNET at the Collision Conference in Toronto, PlayStation’s global head of R&D Dominic Mallinson said that Sony aims to make future versions of PlayStation VR lighter and less encumbered by wires. There may even be a completely wireless version released in addition to a more traditional model, with the wireless version costing more.

The CNET report also said PlayStation is considering using eye-tracking technology in its headset. This is something we’ve seen in premium headsets like the Vive Pro, and it would make way for more sensitive and intuitive control schemes in virtual reality (VR) games.

The PlayStation VR successor will likely not be ready to launch alongside the PS5 itself, particularly because the original headset will be compatible with the new system. However, when it does arrive, Sony is planning on using a different controller than the PS3-era PlayStation Move. With the Vive and Oculus ecosystems both making use of touch controls, Sony could be using finger-tracking technology on a new controller. If a patent filing is indicative of final designs, the controller could feature multiple sensors and will be adjustable based on hand sizes.

PlayStation Now

Cloud gaming will be possible on the PS5, though the exact extent of this remains unknown. The PlayStation Now subscription service makes game streaming possible on legacy Sony consoles as well, but Sony will be facing stiff competition. Microsoft is planning to begin tests for its Project xCloud service later this year, and Google has unveiled Stadia, a streaming service designed to combine the best elements of game players, developers, and content creators.

In its May 2019 investors briefing, Sony shared that it has a three-point approach to game distribution in its next-generation system: Blu-ray discs, downloads, and streaming. For streaming, it is focusing on doing so “with or without a console.” Most curiously, Sony recently announced a partnership with Microsoft on cloud technology, which will be used both for video game content and artificial intelligence (A.I.).

Microsoft’s announcement said that it will be exploring the use of its Azure data centers for Sony’s own game streaming services. Microsoft has more than 50 data centers globally, which is more than triple the number currently being used for PlayStation Now.

We know Sony wishes to further invest in mobile platforms for PlayStation Now, which could ultimately lead to something similar to what Microsoft has planned for Project xCloud. PlayStation Now will support at least 1080p resolution in the future, and its 5Mbps requirement is far below that of Google Stadia.

The DualSense

The DualShock 4 did its job this generation, but it felt like an iterative step from the PlayStation 3’s DualShock 3, with the two main updates coming in a more ergonomic shape and a new touchpad button. The new controller is called the DualSense and will be the biggest update Sony’s given its proprietary controllers in years.

Speaking to Wired, Sony said that the new controller would feature a larger-capacity battery, which should help to alleviate the battery life issues that have plagued the DualShock 4 for the last generation. The controller will use an “adaptive trigger” that offers different resistance based on the activity you’re doing in a game, and the new haptic feedback replaces traditional rumble. It’s capable of providing feedback to the analog sticks, meaning it will feel different to walk on mud versus snow or grass.

The button layout is similar, however, with a Share and Options button still located on both sides of the touchpad. The LED light bar moves from the top of the controller to the touchpad to give it a larger look and feel. Sony said the controller is a “radical departure from our previous controller offerings and captures just how strongly we feel about making a generational leap with PS5.”

PlayStation 5 games

Now that we’re only a couple of months away from the launch of the PS5, we have a much better idea of what to expect from its library of games. And luckily, there will be no shortage of them to play. We know of a slew of games that will be launching on day one and beyond, including Final Fantasy XVI, a God of War sequel, Horizon 2: Forbidden West, and a lot more.

The Witcher 3‘s developer, CD Projekt Red, is hard at work on its next epic, Cyberpunk 2077. At a 2018 conference in Bergen, the studio heads gave a presentation about the game, which included a slide with the phrase, “Rich, true-to-life visuals built on current and next-generation technology.” That could mean a lot of things, of course, but one could interpret that as a nod to the fact that they are simultaneously developing the game for both current- and next-generation consoles, of which the PS5 would have to be one.

We do know, however, that the game is expected to launch on PS4 in late 2020. We also received confirmation of numerous launch titles for the PS5, including the Demon’s Souls remake, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Destruction All Stars, Astro’s Playroom (pre-installed), and Sackboy: A Big Adventure.

Similarly, Gran Turismo 7 will also launch for PS5 at an unannounced date. On a studio tour, the game’s developer, Polyphony Digital, told that new cars take so long to develop because they are “building for future versions of the console rather than the one we see today.”

It has also been reported that the majority of Sony’s own internal development teams have shifted their focus to the PlayStation 5. Industry analyst Daniel Ahmad said that “most” of Sony’s teams were now on the unannounced system, and that it was possible that certain games developed for PlayStation 4 could also see a release on PlayStation 5. Because the system will be backward compatible, Sony could also simply market the PlayStation 4 releases alongside the PlayStation 5, and it recommitted to The Last of Us: Part II, Ghost of Tsushima, and Death Stranding releasing on PS4 during its May 2019 investors briefing.

During the same briefing, the technical demonstration to show off the new console’s capabilities used Spider-Man as an example. Though it was showing an identical game comparison between the new console and the PS4 Pro in order to highlight the newer system’s faster loading sequences, it’s possible the game could be getting an enhanced version.

Don’t expect Sony to stop its games-as-a-service initiative, despite the PlayStation brand’s reputation for single-player games. The briefing touched on “improving competence” in this area, with the MLB: The Show series highlighted as an example. Currently, American players spend more cash on the game than on any other sports title.

In keeping with the “One Sony” model the company is using as a whole, expect PlayStation 5 games to rely more heavily on Sony-produced soundtracks. Sony will also be working with its own artists to bring more VR content to the system.

Bethesda Softworks appears to be one of the game companies most open about its ambition to release upcoming games on next-generation systems. Speaking to Eurogamer at the Gamelab conference in Spain, Bethesda game director Todd Howard revealed that the science-fiction game Starfield will be next-generation in both hardware and software. Given that Bethesda is releasing Starfield before The Elder Scrolls VI, which it also announced at E3 2018, there’s very little doubt that The Elder Scrolls VI will also release on PlayStation 5.

Finally, a new IP called Godfall was announced at The Game Awards 2019. It will be an action game based in a universe in which knights fight heavenly forces. It’ll also have (surprise!) a heavy focus on loot and progression.

Sony recently said that it wanted to “emphasize value as opposed to price.” Here are all the confirmed titles so far:

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Dustborn Hogwarts Legacy Oddworld: Soulstorm Scarlet Nexus
Astro’s Playroom Dying Light 2 Hood: Outlaws and Legends Outriders Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One
Atomic Heart The Elder Scrolls Online Horizon: Forbidden West Overcooked: All You Can Eat Solar Ash
Battlefield 6 Far Cry 6 Hyper Scape Outriders Spider-Man: Miles Morales
Bugsnax FIFA 21 Immortals: Fenyx Rising Paradise Lost Stray
Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War Final Fantasy VII Remake JETT: The Far Shore The Pathless Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League
Chivalry 2 Final Fantasy XVI Just Dance 2021 Planet Coaster: Console Edition TemTem
Chorus Fortnite Kena: Bridge of Spirits Pragmata Tribes of Midgard
Control Ghostwire: Tokyo Little Devil Inside Project Athia Unknown 9: Awakening
Cris Tales Godfall LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga Quantum Error Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2
Cyberpunk 2077 Goodbye Volcano High The Lord of the Rings: Gollum Rainbow Six: Quarantine Vampire the Masquerade – Swansong
Death Loop Gotham Knights Madden 21 Rainbow Six Siege Warframe
Demon’s Souls Remake Gothic Marvel’s Avengers Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart Watch Dogs: Legion
Destiny 2 Gran Turismo 7 Maquette Recompile The Witcher III: Wild Hunt
Destruction: All Stars Grand Theft Auto V Metal: Hellsinger Resident Evil: Village Worms Rumble
Dirt 5 Haven NBA 2K21 Returnal WRC 9
DOOM Eternal Heavenly Bodies NBA Live 21 Riders Republic Yakuza: Like a Dragon
Dragon Age 4 Hitman III Observer: System Redux Sackboy: A Big Adventure

It could be the last PlayStation system

Game streaming services could replace traditional consoles in the future, at least if you ask Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot. Speaking to Variety, Guillemot expressed his belief that there will “one more console generation” before the industry completely moves to a streaming-only model.

Guillemot added that this technology would become more accessible to more players over time. Still, with the loss of net neutrality and data caps in place at many internet service providers, the market for a traditional console with physical media is still strong.

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