As we near the end of Sony’s fourth generation console, it’s time to start digging for rumors about its successor — the PlayStation 5. For a while there, it seemed like we’d continue getting newer versions of the PlayStation 4 with only slight technical upgrades from the last, but Sony officially confirmed its working on the next, and possibly even last, PlayStation gaming console. Rumors and confirmed details have been circulating the internet, and we’ve done our best to gather it all right here. From hardware to games, here is everything you need to know about the PS5.
Sony is working on a new console
Although many outlets have defaulted to calling Sony’s next-generation gaming console the PlayStation 5 or PS5, an official name has yet to be announced.
Sony did confirm that it is 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.” In the same Financial Times report, it was said that 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.
PlayStation 5 specs
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.
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 investors 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.
The PlayStation 5 will support Blu-ray discs, as well as digital downloads and game streaming.
Mark Cerny confirmed that the PlayStation 5 will be backwards compatible with PS4 and PS VR 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 backwards compatibility to help players transition into the next-generation system from the PS4.
No information on a potential PS VR 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.
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. It’s possible that there will 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 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, they could find their way into PlayStation VR’s technology, as well. Sony is also exploring potentially including mixed reality via pass-through cameras.
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.
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 5 Mbps requirement is far below that of Google Stadia.
PlayStation 5 games
Developers are remaining tight-lipped about whether they have PS5 devkits in hand. Several have made comments that could be construed as hints that they do, however.
The Witcher 3’s developer, CD Projekt Red, is hard at work on their 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 the current- and next-generation of consoles, of which the PS5 would have to be one.
Similarly, Gran Turismo Sport creator Kazunori Yamauchi made a comment that could suggest they are already tinkering with the PS5. On a studio tour, he told Finder.com 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.”
Sony’s own Death Stranding, which is planned for a PlayStation 4 release, could be coming to the PlayStation 5. Speaking to GamingBolt, industry analyst Michael Pachter said the game will “likely be a cross-generational title.” Sony hasn’t done this very often in the past, though a number of third-party games released on both the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 at the beginning of the generation. Given that Death Stranding doesn’t even have a release window yet, it seems like the most likely candidate, and would certainly be a good way for Sony to sell consoles early on.
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 backwards 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 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 virtual reality 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.
Thanks to a LinkedIn listing, it appears Square Enix is currently working on a game for the system, as well. Users at forum ResetEra spotted a 3D character model artist’s profile, which made mention of a “new AAA title for PS5” at Luminous Production — one of the company’s newest studios. This could confirm that the system will be called the PlayStation 5, as well.
The PlayStation 5 release date
In May 2018, Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO John Kodera told reporters, “We will use the next three years to prepare the next step, to crouch down so that we can jump higher into the future.” This came shortly after he remarked that the PS4 was entering the “final phase of its life cycle.”
According to this information, we may possibly see the PlayStation 5 get a release date in 2021. On the contrary, Industry Analyst Michael Pachter believes the console could launch earlier. Speaking to GamingBolt in July, Pachter said he believes the console will come in 2020. An additional analyst, Hideki Yasuda, also speculates that the PS5 will arrive not only in 2020 but in November, right before the holiday season.
This could be why Sony announced such a small number of new games during its E3 2018 event and opted not to attend in 2019 entirely.
We do know that the console will not arrive in 2019. Sony previously announced the PS4 in February 2013 for release later that year, and we predict something similar will happen with the PS5.
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, but 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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