Sony is slowly announcing details about the PlayStation 5, or PS5, its anticipated next-gen console. And after a briefing about the technical specs, we now know more than ever. And after September 16's digital event, we even know key details like the price. Sony has also unveiled the console's design, a list of confirmed games and the existence of an all-digital edition of the console. Here's what we know so far.
|CPU||AMD Zen 2-based CPU, 8 Cores / 16 Threads, up to 3.5 GHz|
|GPU||RDNA2-based GPU, 36 CUs up to 2.23 GHz, 10.3 teraflops.|
|RAM||16GB GDDR6, 448GBps|
|SSD||825GB Custom PCIe SSD|
|Expandable Storage||PCIe SSD Slot, External HDD|
|Disc Drive||Ultra HD Blu-ray, up to 100GB/disc|
|Audio||Tempest 3D AudioTech|
Late last year, we learned through an interview Sony had with Wired that the PS5 will use a CPU based on AMD’s third-generation, eight-core Ryzen processor, along with a custom GPU based on the Radeon Navi line, and a new 4K Blu-ray player with support for optical disks up to 100GB. The console is also set to use a custom 825GB SSD,
PS5 lead architect Mark Cerny said in March that the Zen 2-based CPU will have 8 cores, 16 threads, up cap at 3.5 GHz. The RDNA 2-based GPU will boast 36 compute units and cap at 2.23GHz, or 10.3 teraflops.
The main drive in the system will be a 825GB with 5.5GB/s read bandwidth. Cerny suggested that loading screens will be all but eliminated, and that games may just fade out and back in to show loading. He said that it can load 2GB in 0.27 seconds.
The PS5 will lack the proprietary SSD expansion slot built into the Xbox Series X, but will support some M.2 SSDs after launch. It will also support external hard drives for game storage.
Sony's official video comparing performance of PS4 Pro vs next-gen PlayStation pic.twitter.com/2eUROxKFLqMay 21, 2019
The PS5 uses the new PCIe 4.0 standard, it would likely have to do so to beat out top-of-the-line PC SSDs like the Adata XPG SX8200 Pro, which has a 3,500 MBps/3000 MBps sequential read/write speed and uses PCIe 3.0 x 4.
Cerny also detailed a unit for 3D audio, the Tempest Engine, which runs Tempest Engine. He largely referred to it as a research project, suggesting it would work best, at first, with headphones. But it should, in theory, allow immersive audio from TV speakers, sound bars and surround sound setups in the future.
Sony said the PS5 will offer "support of 4K 120Hz TVs, 8K TVs, VRR (specified by HDMI ver.2.1)," but it's unclear if it will do 4K and 120Hz at the same time.
Early last year, tech analyst Pelham Smithers, who focuses on Japan’s stock market, guessed that the PS5's processor will fall between $180 and $220, putting the console as a whole around $399. Which leads us to our next section.
When the PS4 launched in November of 2013, it did so at a price point of $399, which undercut the Xbox One by $100. Now that we know the Xbox Series X will cost $499.99, it seems Sony has changed up its strategy. On September 16th, Sony announced that the PS5 will cost $499.99.
That makes for parity between the two consoles, leaving the consumer to decide which version they'll opt for based solely on which one's specs and games seem better to them. That said, things get a little more interesting on the budget front. Both Xbox and Sony are releasing budget versions of their consoles, which have different prices and features. Xbox is releasing a cheaper, less powerful, all-digital console called the Xbox Series S for $299.99, while Sony is releasing an all-digital but otherwise identical version of the PS5 for $399.99.
Which of these budget consoles is the better deal depends on how important high-resolution gaming is to you. The Xbox Series S targets 1440p rather than 4K, while the Digital Edition of the PS5 is literally just a PS5 without the disc drive. That means the latter has vastly more power for that additional $100, though you might not need it if you don't have a 4K display.
In a June 11th livestream, Sony finally gave us a glimpse of what the PS5 will look like, which completely broke expectations from an earlier patent leak in August 2019.
While leaks showed a horizontal, V-shaped console, the final design instead has a more curved, two-tone appearance, with the console essentially being a mostly featureless rounded black rectangle housed in a curved white shell. There's also 2 editions of the console, one with a disc drive and one without, and the disc drive version has a small extension on the console's bottom-right side. The disc drive-less version is named the Digital Edition, and is otherwise the same as the version with a disc drive.
The PS5 also has ambient blue lighting inside the shell. In general, the look here matches the DualSense controller, which Sony gave us a look at in April. However, if you're worried that the PS5's outside curves makes it vertical only, don't be.
It's not vertical-only. #PlayStation5 pic.twitter.com/ySxqU5qHHfJune 11, 2020
The PS5 also has one Type-A USB port and one Type-C USB port on the front. The back I/O includes two Type-A USB ports, a LAN port, an HDMI port and the AC In.
To see a more detailed breakdown of the PS5's build, including how to swap it from vertical to horizontal orientation (spoiler: you'll need a screwdriver), watch Sony's 7 minute teardown video.
DualShock is officially dead...again...for now.
Design wise, it's got a similar layout to the DualShock 4, although with what appears to be some Switch Pro Controller style thickness. It also features a new black and white design, with a black base and a white coat wrapping around the top of the controller as well as its grips. We don't know yet if it'll be available in additional colors, but it's very GLaDOS.
As for new features, the DualSense includes a new built-in microphone to let players chat without the need for a headset, though that's still an option, as well as "adaptive triggers" that are supposed to offer haptic feedback and a sense of tension to certain actions. It's also replacing the share button with a new create button, which will include both the PS4's sharing features as well as new features to be detailed at a later date.
From the photos of the controller, we're also guessing that the DualSense is swapping from MicroUSB charging to Type-C charging. The light bar also wraps around the DualSense's touchpad now, as opposed to being isolated on top of the controller.
In the same Wired interview from earlier, Sony also gave the publication an early look at the DualSense, which it confirmed will ship included with the PS5. Here, the company demonstrated examples of the controller's new haptic feedback features for the publication.
These included feeling the difference between track and dirt in a racing game, or in terrain such as sand or ice in a platformer. Sony also promises in its blog post that its “adaptive triggers” will use resistance to better emulate precise movements such as firing a bow and arrow.
Moving into the realm of speculation, a recent patent also suggests Sony might be working on a PS5 controller that can support wireless charging, while an older one from 2018 hints at a controller that can track sweat and heart rate. Whether these features will be bundled with the base DualSense or be peripherals of their own, we will have to wait and see.
As for the existing Dualshock 4, Sony stated in an August 3rd blog post that it will only work for playing "supported PS4 games" on the PS5, meaning you'll definitely have to buy a DualSense to get full use out of your new console.
Other PS5 Accesories
In the same livestream where Sony showed off the PS5's official design, it also unveiled a lineup of accessories for the console, which goes beyond the Dualsense but is generally pretty standard fare.
First up is the Dualsense charging station, which has slots for two controllers and comes in the same black and white color scheme as the controllers themselves.
Second is an accessory just called "HD Camera." We don't have any details about what its resolution or frame rate is yet, though the presence of two cameras on it does point to potential 3D or motion tracking applications.
There's also a media remote, for accessing streaming apps or watching discs without needing to use your controller.
Finally, Sony also showed off the Pulse 3D Wireless headset, which has the same black body, white shell design. We don't have any specs for it, but it also seems to have a suspension headpad and not be over-the-ear. Sony's livestream promised the console will have 3D audio, which is where we're guessing this got it's name.
Sony also stated in an August 3rd blog post that existing PS4 specialty peripherals like arcade sticks and racing wheels will work on PS5, as will PS Move controllers, Sony's own Platinum and Gold wireless headsets and third-party headsets that connect via USB or audio jack. The Playstation VR Aim Controller will also work with PS5, and the Playstation Camera will work with PS5 using a special free adapter that Sony will be posting details on in the future.
The majority of Sony's June 11th PS5 livestream, where it unveiled the console's design, was spent showing off games that will be coming to the system. The list of trailers included exclusives and games that are almost sure to be multiplatform, and varied from fan favorites to surprises.
The two big exclusives for the event were Horizon: Forbidden West and Spider-Man: Miles Morales. Forbidden West is a follow-up to Horizon: Zero Dawn taking place in the Americas, while Miles Morales will continue the story from the PS4 Spider-Man game, but this time following Miles.
There's also a Demon's Souls remake slated to come to the PS5. From Software is not involved this time around, with Shadow of the Colossus remake developer Bluepoint Games instead leading the effort.
On the lighter side of things, Sackboy from LittleBigPlanet is also getting his own 3D platformer called Sackboy: A Big Adventure. It's not made by Media Molecule, so it probably won't have LittleBigPlanet's customizability; instead, it seems to focus on multiplayer 3D gameplay akin to Super Mario 3D World.
Big reveals that aren't likely to be exclusives include Village: Resident Evil and Hitman III.
Here's a full list of games confirmed for the PS5:
- GTA V: Expanded and Enhanced
- Spider-Man: Miles Morales
- Gran Turismo 7
- Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
- Horizon: Forbidden West
- Resident Evil VIII: Village
- Astro’s Playroom
- Project Athia
- Hitman III
- Little Devil Inside
- NBA 2K21
- Demon's Souls
- Jett: The Far Shore
- Solar Ash
- Ghostwire: Tokyo
- Sackboy: A Big Adventure
- Destruction Allstars
- Kena: Bridge of Spirits
- Goodbye Volcano High
- Oddworld: Soulstorm
- Hood: Outlaws and Legends
- Final Fantasy XVI (exclusive to PS5 and PC)
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Legacy
- Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War
- Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition
- Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach
- God of War: Ragnarok
PS5 Backwards Compatibility
Finally, Sony has confirmed that an "overwhelming majority" of PS4 games will be playable on the PS5, as it will have the PS4's logic built into the PS5's graphics solution. Some PS4 games will also use also use "Game Boost," which may make them run with a higher or smoother fps. The PS5 will also support the PlayStation VR headset.
Unfortunately, it seems unlikely that the same will apply to older Playstation generations. A now deleted Ubisoft support page claimed yesterday that, while gamers will be able to play their PS4 Ubisoft games on PS5, backwards compatibility would "not be possible for Playstation 3, Playstation 2 or Playstation games."
Although the page is no longer live and does not come direct from Sony, Ubisoft is a big enough player that the leak is likely to be true.
PS5 User Experience
On October 15th, Sony released a video walking viewers through the basic game-related PS5 user experience, which brings back old favorites as well as adds new "activity" cards and built-in guide options.
Most of the video is actually spent using the UX's in-game "Control Center" feature. Here, you can see which of your friends is online, check downloads, manage your controller and power, etc. But the new addition is "cards," which sit above the base control center's icons and show you news, screenshots and activities related to your game.
Activities are the big new addition here. They break down whatever objectives are associated with the game you're playing into manageable chunks and predict how long it will take you to complete them. The video demonstrates this with Sackboy: A Big Adventure, though we're not sure how the feature will work with games that have less linear or less level-based progression systems. Maybe activities are suggested by devs, or maybe Sony itself comes up with them. The video doesn't say. But think of it like an Amazon Kindle taking your reading time into account and using that to tell you how long it thinks you will take to finish a chapter.
Activities cards also sometimes let you jump directly to whatever part of your game is associated with them, and can also tell you what you might have missed. If you have Playstation Plus, some activities can also overlay picture-in-picture guide videos on your screen either when you're paused or as you play to help you complete them.
Parties are also undergoing changes in PS5. You can instantly jump into voice chat with friends across a number of devices mid-game, as well as hop into multiplayer games with them immediately by suspending your current game. But the big new feature is that party members can share their screens to the party, so you can watch what they're playing and chat with them as they play. You can also watch a party member's screen in picture-in-picture mode, so you can continue playing as they play.
The Share feature is also now the Create feature, though it functions similarly. Tapping the "create button" brings up an overlay that lets you take screenshots, start recording or streaming, or save videos taken by the PS5's always-on passive recording. You can edit this media and share it either online or to parties of friends later.
The video ends by showing the out-of-game home screen, which is fairly similar to the PS4's current home screen. The key difference is that the Playstation Store is now integrated into the system rather than acting as its own separate app. The video doesn't go into how media apps will function on the PS5, saying that more info on that will come later.
Sony announced in October of last year that the PS5 will launch in time for Holiday 2020, and after its September 16th digital event, we now have an official release date. The PS5 will come out on November 12th in the USA, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea, and on November 19th in the rest of the world.
The Xbox Series X and Series S, by comparison, comes out on November 10th, which means neither console is beating the other to market by a wide margin.
Shortly following its September 16th digital event, Sony tweeted out that pre-orders for the PS5 will be available starting on September 17th at select retailers. Xbox Series X, by comparison, starts pre-orders on September 22nd.
PS5 pre-orders will be available starting as early as tomorrow at select retailers.September 16, 2020