Sony has big plans for the PS5 in 2020. Here’s what we know

The next Playstation console has a name! It’s called (drumroll) the PS5! But this is far from the only info that’s been revealed.

In an exclusive interview with WIRED US, lead architect Mark Cerny blessed us with several more juicy details, including a release date and info on a new and improved DualShock controller. Well, it’s not officially called that, but you’d bet your house on it. Read on to find out everything we know about the PlayStation 5 so far.

So when’s the PS5 being released and how much will it cost?

On the PlayStation blog Sony Interactive Entertainment president Jim Ryan confirmed a release date of ‘in time for Holidays 2020’ – i.e. just before Christmas next year. The next Xbox, codenamed Scarlett, is also likely to be released then, too.

Cerny’s comment that the PS5 “will release at an SRP that will be appealing to gamers in light of its advanced feature set” has led to people guessing that the console will be slightly more expensive than the PS4, but this is speculation for the time being.

What do we know about the games?

Since backward compatibility is confirmed, we know that PS4 and PSVR games will work on the console. Other than that, we’re very much in the dark.

In his short blog post on the new console, Jim Ryan stated simply that “we have plenty of blockbuster experiences coming your way on PS4, including Death Stranding, The Last of Us Part II, and Ghost of Tsushima.” It’s likely that some games, like Cyberpunk 2077 for instance, will look and run better on your PS5. (The developer behind that title, CD Projekt Red, has said it is developing the game with next generation consoles in mind).

There’s also no information at this stage about the PlayStation 5’s online offering, or whether there will be streaming options to rival Google Stadia. Currently the PS4 offers the streaming service PlayStation Now. Microsoft, meanwhile, has previously denied that they are making a streaming-only console but there is, as of May this year, a partnership in place between the two rivals to work together on cloud gaming.

That’s not much so far. What do we know about the PS5 specs at this point?

A reasonable amount. As was confirmed in the last Mark Cerny–WIRED reveal, the 7nm Zen 2 eight-core CPU will be based on AMD’s Ryzen series, and the GPU will be a variant on Radeon’s Navi line.

The PS5 will have 8K TV support, 120hz screen refresh rates and support 3D audio. Cerny also revealed more about the console’s ray tracing capabilities. These are very similar specs to what we know of the Xbox Scarlett, which also has an AMD Ryzen processor, Navi chipset and supports 8K resolutions and 120hz refresh rates.

What’s ray tracing again?

It’s an advanced rendering technique relied on for years by Hollywood visual effects teams. It tries to simulate the way light bounces off objects, producing impressively life-like graphics.

Ray tracing is already available on current gen gaming PCs running Nvidia’s RTX graphics cards. This time, Cerny commented on the technique to banish a rumour – the ray tracing acceleration isn’t a software imitation, it’s built into the GPU hardware.

Right, got that. What else?

Well, it was confirmed last time that the PS5 will include a solid-state drive, the speed of which Sony says will make loading screens a thing of the past. A previous demonstration of Marvel’s Spider-Man underlined this claim. On the PS4 Pro, fast travelling took 15 seconds; the same function reportedly takes just 0.8 seconds on the PS5.

The system’s optical drive will play 4K Blu-rays and use 100GB discs. Though the system won’t be download only – physical media isn’t going anywhere, yet – game installation will be mandatory. Peter Rubin, who reported the exclusive, speculates that the PS5 will allow for a far greater control over what we choose to install, like: “the ability to install just a game’s multiplayer campaign, leaving the single-player campaign for another time, or just installing the whole thing and then deleting the single-player campaign once you’ve finished it.”

What about this haptic controller everyone’s been talking about?

This was actually the most revealing and in-depth part of the latest interview. The controller, which is not officially called the DualShock 5 but almost certainly will be, had several interesting features confirmed.

One was something Sony is calling “adaptive triggers”. An example given of how these will affect gameplay was shooting a bow and arrow, pressing down on the trigger to draw an arrow back would have a different tactile sensation to firing a shotgun, or driving an off-road vehicle through rocky terrain.

The other key feature is the controller’s “haptic feedback”, which replaces the standard rumble. Sony explained in a blog post that the difference between this and old rumble is night and day. “With haptics, you truly feel a broader range of feedback,” Ryan said. “Crashing into a wall in a race car feels much different than making a tackle on the football field. You can even get a sense for a variety of textures when running through fields of grass or plodding through mud.”

The controller, which will use a USB Type-C connector for charging, will apparently be heavier than the DualShock 4 and lighter than the current Xbox controller.

What about these leaked images of the dev kit?

It’s confirmed that the leaked images of the PS5 dev kit, the system developers use to make the games, published on Gizmodo were accurate (at least compared to the dev kit WIRED got to play on). This really doesn’t give us any clues as to how the console will look though, since dev kits rarely look like the finished console. The original Xbox devkit, for instance, was a giant X.

Any other details?

Backwards compatibility with PS4 games is confirmed. Xbox Scarlett is also set to offer this, for the Xbox One and all Xbox and Xbox 360 titles that you can play currently using the Xbox One’s backward compatibility feature.

Compatibility with PSVR is on the cards as well, and will eventually be facilitated via a new headset, a PSVR 2 rumoured to be wireless and support eye tracking. WIRED US speculates that the “little hole” on the controller, as well as a recently purchased patent, suggests that Sony may be developing a voice-driven AI assistant, which it has experimented with before in the context of wearable tech and the smart home.

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