The PS5 has been confirmed for launch in “holiday 2020”, but we still don’t know what it will look like or how much it will cost. Most of what we do know comes from details dropped by system architect Mark Cerny to WIRED Magazine over the course of two exclusive interviews:
- The console will run on a central processor and graphics unit based on AMD’s Ryzen and Navi lines respectively. The GPU will include hardware for ray tracing acceleration (for advanced lighting, among other things), in step with upcoming PC gear.
- There will be a solid state drive in place of a traditional hard disk, meaning dramatically faster loading and booting. It also potentially means larger open areas that can be traversed faster.
- The PS5 will support 3D audio, 8K video and up to 120Hz refresh rate, and will be backwards compatible with PS4 games and the existing PlayStation VR headset.
- There will still be an optical drive, with retail games coming on 100GB Blu-rays, but the contents will need to be transferred to the internal solid state drive to play.
- The optical drive will also play 4K Blu-ray movie discs.
- Games can be installed in chunks, for example you could have just the campaign or just the multiplayer portion installed, saving you storage space. Content will also be indexed so you can jump to a specific mission or multiplayer event directly from the PS5 home screen rather than having to boot the game first.
Separately, Sony has announced that the PS5 will have an optional standby mode that uses far less energy than usual, but still keeps active games suspended. The feature was developed as part of the United Nation’s “Playing for the Planet” initiative to get gamers to reduce their carbon footprint.
The company has also indicated that its PlayStation Now and Remote Play services are set to be expanded, and the PS5 will be optimised for talking to the cloud, so you could end up streaming your new games to your phone or playing PS3 games on your PS5 over the internet.
We also have an idea of some changes to the PS5 controller, again via WIRED. The new pad will mostly resemble the existing one, but will charge by USB-C. Inside it features an improved speaker and advanced haptic feedback thanks to voice actuators in the handle, which sounds a lot like the “HD Rumble” in Nintendo’s Switch controllers. It will also have “adaptive triggers”, meaning the game can determine how much force you need to apply. Pulling back a bow might offer more resistance than squeezing a machine gun trigger for example.
Patents indicate the controller may include a microphone, with the PS5 running some kind of smart voice assistant, but this has not been officially confirmed.