Everything we know about Sony's PlayStation 5 so far

Owen Gough
Photo credit: DorukTR

From Digital Spy

The year is 2020 and all of a sudden it feels like the future has arrived. Automated cars are now not so farfetched, everybody is commanding their house with their voice using smart speakers (hello, HAL 9000), and we're now supposedly living in the dystopian Blade Runner era, having surpassed the far-flung year of 2019.

For gamers, this is nothing but good news, as the video games industry is about to hold the Sprint Button and make a massive stride forward into the next decade with its line-up of next-gen consoles.

Google's Stadia might not have made the waves it was hoping for (we'd almost forgotten it had come out already) and Microsoft is teasing us all with the Xbox Fridge... *cough* we mean Xbox Series X, and now we have Sony's Goliath gaming machine getting us all wobbly at the knees with more details on the PlayStation 5.

In an exclusive reveal with Wired magazine in the US, the world was introduced to some early details about the next version of the PlayStation. We also now have further news from Sony, explaining new tech for the controller, and details about a vague release date.

We even have an official logo from Sony thanks to the recent CES announcement, and it's all shaping up rather well to be a spectacular year for gaming.

We've taken the time to gather all the details, so read on to discover when we'll be seeing it – and if it'll be worth your time.

PlayStation 5 logo - Sony unveils official imagery and it's exactly what you'd expect

The year 2020 brings a bunch of new details about Sony's upcoming next-gen console, but unfortunately, there's nothing here that will particularly surprise you.

During a Sony CES event in early January 2020, the world was introduced to the official logo we'll be seeing plastered all over every bit of PS5 marketing for the next few years and it looks, well... exactly the same as the PS4 logo.

Photo credit: Sony

We're not sure what we expected here, but something with a bit more "joie de vivre" would have been welcome. The disappointing reveal was also a lonely nugget of info on stage, as Sony declined to give us any more juicy details on the new console.

What we did get was some details on sales numbers from previous PlayStations, if you're interested. Sony claims to have sold more than 106 million PS4 consoles, 1.15 billion PS4 games and more than 5 million PSVR headsets, so good on you, gamers.

PlayStation 5 release date - When will we be seeing it?

Photo credit: Marvel

We do now know the new PS5 will hit shop shelves around the Holidays of 2020, thanks to an official release from Sony, so there is some good news.

So far, all that's available to developers and game studios is a dev-kit with early infrastructure to help them prepare for the next generation of games.

Suffice to say that the next generation of Sony gaming is still firmly planted as 'next' and we wont be seeing any real rumblings of official games any time soon. However, titles like Marvel's Avengers and Cyberpunk 2077 have previously been rumoured to be getting a release on the new system.

We were hoping for more news about an exact release date during the GDC announcement, but that was promptly cancelled by the global coronavirus crisis, forcing Mark Cerny to broadcast his announcement live on YouTube.

This made for a surprisingly complicated and frustrating livestream for fans who were expecting announcements on games or a release date - or even a look at the console itself.

Instead we were treated to an hour of incredibly in-depth technical discussion on chip processor management, heat control of silicon iodes, and mathematical equations on how the internal motherboard communicates with the hard drive.

It was all a bit bewildering, but gave a fascinating insight into just how difficult it is to develop next-gen consoles and present Ultra High Definition games in front of our eyeballs.

While we got no visuals on the the console, no news on the games and got sweet FA on a cost or a release date, at least we know that our PS5 won't overheat with overuse so... happy days?

PlayStation 5 price - How much is it going to cost?

Photo credit: Rockstar Games

Money is always a difficult subject to broach with far-off technology, and costs of the new PS5 remain firmly in the 'unknown' category. During the Wired interview, Cerny kept stony-faced and tight-lipped about price, but we would have to imagine that a bit of kit that allows for 8K gaming would have to be pretty expensive.

The balance that Sony has to find is to make high-end gaming both accessible and premium while remaining competitive, with Google's Stadia hitting the market with a deafening 'thunk' and Microsoft pushing out more details about Xbox Series X.

Sony still holds all the marbles as the most popular console, but how expensive do they go?

Much of the discussion surrounding the PlayStation 5 revolves around a built-in solid-state drive (SSD) that helps the console pull data from game files and present it all on screen to you more efficiently – in short, reducing loading times.

But given the reported power of the next-gen console, these SSDs and the inner workings of the console itself are equivalent or better than some of the most expensive PC set-ups available.

Add on to that the 8K capabilities, which is supposedly still at least a decade away from being the cultural norm, and you begin to see how costs could easily rack up into the stratosphere previously known as "PS3 levels".

Rumours persist of an unused (and unconfirmed) quote from the Wired interview with Cerny suggesting it won't cost as much as you might think, as Sony wants consumers to actually be able to afford it. Who'd have guessed?

PlayStation 5 specs - How powerful is it?

Photo credit: Playstation - Marvel Studios

Okey dokey. Let's get into the complicated, nitty-gritty of the new console.

Before we go into this, you shouldn't expect a simple upgrade to the PS4 – this new console will be a significant shift in how games are presented to you and how you explore them, and it does seem like Sony is committed to providing a "true next-gen experience".

Having said that, there is a big upgrade on both the CPU and the GPU of the next PlayStation, meaning faster speeds, better graphics and more efficiency.

The CPU is derived from the 3rd gen AMD Ryzen series, which has an 8-core processor featuring the new 7nm Zen 2 microarchitecture. This technical jargon roughly translates to "extremely powerful CPU". This is then paired with a custom Radeon Navi GPU, which will reportedly handle the awesome-sounding ray tracing.

Ray tracing is a new piece of tech to come to gaming – though it is commonly used in movie VFX – and is a more realistic rendering of how light interacts with a 3D world. This means better reflections, lighting, and ambience – all things that make games look wicked.

Photo credit: NVIDIA

You might have seen footage of Minecraft running with ray tracing and, while we don't think that game will make the most of that tech, it does make it look incredible.

During the Sony Road to PlayStation 5 livestream on March 18, Mark Cerny talked us through all the complicated computing power in more detail and gave us some direct comparisons from the PS4 to the next-gen PS5.

Photo credit: Sony

There was a lot of technical jargon that was thrown at us during the live stream, and we won't pretend we understood all of it, but Mark spent much of his time singing the praises of an SSD and its ability to load data at incredible speeds.

A standard HDD hard drive has to constantly send checks, or 'seeks', examine the files, pull the data needed to build the game world, and then present it on the screen to you, which can take time (even if it is infinitesimal).

This then has a knock-on effect with load-times –which can stretch up to 30 seconds while the game seeks out the files needed– or in level design, where game developers have to find clever ways of twisting the level to hide the loading sections.

Photo credit: Sony

The new SSD allows for incredibly fast load-speeds, as it doesn't have to send out any 'seeks' to grab the data it needs to present on screen. The data is already filed and organised and pinged to your console almost instantaneously.

In practice, this means geometry and assets in the game will load in tenths of seconds rather than half a minute. Think back to a game that has suddenly paused as you pass into the next area because the console is bringing in new assets, or those tedious loading screens that stretch on forever between levels.

With the PS5, that should be completely eradicated, and geometry will instead load directly around the player in an instant, meaning no matter how fast you turn around, the game world will be fully rendered without any need for the console to go and 'seek' that data and bring it to you.

That might all sound really confusing, and it is, but just keep in mind that games will load faster, show on your screen way more efficiently, and will open up to jumping right into the game from firing up the console.

Photo credit: Sony

Sony is also playing around with the AMD chip to change how audio works in gaming, allowing for more realistic interactions in-game for where sound sources are in relation to the player.

This reportedly also affects how sound interacts with the 3D environment in-game. So footsteps thumping down a hallway, or explosions cracking across the horizon will have more realistic effects across the game world.

Most importantly is the notion of improved loading screens. We're sure you've seen the videos whizzing round online showing Marvel's Spider-Man on an early-build PS5 pinging Spidey across the map in a mere 0.8 seconds rather than the cumbersome 15 seconds for the current PS4, all without giving our friendly neighbourhood hero severe whiplash.

If this is actually the case and the PS5 can pull assets from the hard drive and push them onto your screen that quickly, then it truly is a next-gen console. Whether it can actually do that consistently, particularly when rendering in 8K, remains to be seen.

The Wired article goes a little deeper on how we should expect the SSD to interact with the console. For example, you will be forced to install games onto the hard drive to play them, but this gives you more selection to install what you want.

Only play multilayer on CoD? Don't bother to install the single-player campaign and save space on your hard drive for other stuff. There is more freedom to play what you want to play, and those games you do install will be richer, fuller and more detailed.

Mark Cerny also went on to talk about how 3D audio will be changing in the new PS5, and to be honest, this is where we got a bit lost in all the techno-babble.

Photo credit: Sony

Mark certainly flexed his giant brain on us when it came to how the console renders audio and makes extremely complex computational equations to directly work out how your ear is designed and how the audio should be presented to you.

This means that individual games will be able to push specific noises through your headphones in an exact location around your ears and provide exact areas so you'll know precisely where that enemy is, or where that bullet is coming from.

Sony clearly care way more about the immersion of their games and placing you inside the console's environment, as most of the GDC discussion was around making sure the gamer felt a part of the experience.

PlayStation 5 controller - How does the new set-up work?

Sony gave us more details about how their new controller will interact with games and the console, and its all making us rather excited for the new tech.

There are two new pieces of tech to come, according to the Wired article. The first is a new haptic feedback system that replaces the "rumble" vibrations of the controller.

The haptic motion of the controller will give you better feedback on what is happening in-game – whether it's a grenade going off nearby, an engine revving beneath your feet, or the thud of a punch in a fighting game.

Supposedly, these sensations will even stretch to walking through grass, or fighting through mud (though we have no idea how a controller can convey the feeling of grass moving around your legs).

The second update is to the triggers, and Sony has followed Microsoft's lead with adaptive trigger technology. This means that the triggers have better resistance and feedback to what you're doing in-game.

Whether you're slowly accelerating in a car, or drawing a bow and arrow, you will feel the triggers resist to what you are doing realistically and it'll compliment the haptic feedback to let you know – through your fingertips – exactly what you are doing.

This will mean individual guns will fire differently in your hands – a shotgun will feel more like a pressure-trigger than a full-on assault rifle – or you will feel actual resistance if you need to use the trigger to push open a door.

PlayStation 5 exclusives - What games will come out on PS5?

Speaking of all this hardware and technical wizardry is all fine and good, but what we're all concerned with is the games themselves.

With E3 showing the world what we can expect to be playing in the next year, Sony has an unenviable task of making us care about current-gen games, whilst also teasing what to expect with the next generation of consoles.

For this to make sense to gamers, some of the games that we see at E3 might have a PS4 release, with the promise that we will get a shiny new upgrade on the PS5 when it finally comes out.

But which games will get a PS4 release, and which ones will be exclusively on the PlayStation 5? We can make some educated guesses.

We all thought games like Death Stranding and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare might be releasing post-PS4 release, but we've been playing those for a few months now and we aren't expecting a PS5 remake of either in the near future.

So lets go through which games we think will be on PS5.

Marvel's Spider-Man 2? - We would bet our house – and probably your house too, if you're willing – that Sony is squirrelling away building a new web-slinging sequel to the hit game in time for the PS5 release. Marvel's Spider-Man became almost synonymous for PS4 fidelity and graphics and was a sensationally popular game when released – Sony would be monumentally stupid to not be developing a sequel to scoop up Marvel/Sony fans and bring them back into the fold.

Cyberpunk 2077 - Almost certainly getting a next-gen release. CD Projekt Red will 100% not be releasing this game in 2019, which means it will likely miss the window to scoop up interested gamers if it's released on the wrong generation of console.

Plus, it looks far too ambitious and big to be able to cope on PS4 software.

Photo credit: CD Projekt Red

Ghost of Tsushima - The samurai slasher from E3 2018 made us all catch our breath with excitement, but will probably still be a little while away.

The game looked beautiful, but we have no idea how far into development this game is from Sucker Punch.

If it wants to maximise sales, it needs to release it in the next few months, which seems unlikely. So expect battles on the PS5 instead.

Marvel's Avengers - We will find out more details about this Square Enix project at E3, but we would be VERY surprised if you weren't shooting up aliens as Iron Man on the next-gen console.

Photo credit: Square Enix

Elder Scrolls VI - Given the length of time this game has remained just a rumour, we could even be seeing it on the PS6...

Bethesda has remained incredibly tight-lipped about this game, and we might not see it for a year or two after the release of the PS5. But surely it will hit the PS5 some time after 2020?

God of War 2? - Nothing confirmed from SCE Santa Monica Studios on a sequel to God of War, but surely a follow up to the Game of the Year for 2018 is inevitable...

The Last of Us: Part II - This is another game that will likely come out on both PS4 and PS5, now that we know we'll be jumping back into the action in early 2020. But that doesn't mean the most popular Sony franchise will not get some kind of upgraded re-release when the new console drops.

GTA 6 - Slowly, the leaks and rumours about the next Grand Theft Auto game are beginning to emerge, and the early reports might suggest that Rockstar and Sony will partner up to make GTA 6 a PS5 exclusive before releasing to the rest of the consoles.

It's been *years* since GTA 5 took the world by storm, and it's about time for another adventure.

Rumours are that it will be set in Miami and New York, with trips to South America during the cocaine spree in the 70's and 80's makes GTA 6 an absolute hit already.

Exact details on the PlayStation 5 remain scarce, but we will be updating this article with all the latest news as and when we get them, so keep an eye on this page.

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