Everything you need to know about the PlayStation 5 (so far)

PHOTO: Sony

The dawn of a new console generation is upon us, as Sony just officially revealed the PlayStation 5 to the world this week.

After postponing its initial reveal event last week, our long and painful wait to see just what the eighth generation of video games has exactly in store for us.

Having recently been unveiled, it looks set to take the world by storm when it releases later this year.

While we’re still a ways to go before the release of the PS5, here’s all you need to know about Sony’s upcoming machine for the next generation of gaming.

Editions

PHOTO: Sony

So far, what we know is that there will be two versions of the PS5 that will drop at launch: The regular version, and the Digital Edition, which seems to take cue from the Xbox One S Digital Edition that was released back in 2019.

As digital games are becoming more prominent these days, it’s a pretty smart move for Sony to release a digital-only console.

Release Date

The PS5 is slated for release on Holiday 2020. Though Sony hasn’t clearly specified exactly which part of this period the PS5 will launch, it should most likely be released sometime between October and December 2020.

Despite Covid-19 concerns, the company hasn’t stated any intent on delaying the release, so it’s safe to assume that it will still be released in late 2020.

Price

This has yet to be confirmed, but according to recent leaks, the price for the base 1TB model of the PS5 could be somewhere around £599.99 (S$1050).

A product page for a 2TB model that was also leaked, though the price that was listed there was identical to the 1TB variant. This could mean that the pricing is merely a placeholder, and that one can expect the 2TB model to cost quite a bit.

Hardware

PHOTO: Sony

At its very essence, the PS5 is a computer first and foremost. Like any computer, it can’t run games without its internal components. Long before its unveiling, we’d gotten inklings of just what the PS5 can do, such as backwards compatibility, and faster loading times.

Here are the specs of the PS5:

CPU AMD 8x Zen 2 Cores @ 3.5GHz (variable frequency)
GPU 10.28 Teraflops, 36 CUs @ 2.23GHz (variable frequency)
GPU Architecture Custom RDNA 2
Memory/Interface 16GB GDDR6/256-bit
Memory/Interface 448GB/s
Internal Storage Custom 825GB SSD
IO Throughout 5.5GB/s (Raw), Typical 8-9GB/s (Compressed)
Expandable Storage NVMe SSD Slot
External Storage USB HDD Support
Optical Drive 4K UHD Blu-ray Drive

Arguably one of the biggest improvements here compared to the PS4 is the use of an SSD over a HDD for the PS4’s internal storage.

This allows read and load speeds to be as fast as that of gaming PCs, if not better. This allows games on the PS5 to be booted up with next-to-no wait time.

Furthermore, as the size of games grow exponentially larger over the years, so must the consoles themselves in order to match up to the increasing demands of these games. 

For reference, the biggest game on the PS4 in terms of base storage space is Call of Duty: Modern Warfare at 175GB, with Destiny 2 ranking just behind at 165GB. And below that are the likes of Final Fantasy VII Remake, Red Dead Redemption 2 and The Last of Us Part II at 100GB each.

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And if the PS5’s native 825GB SSD (and a potential 2TB model also in the pipeline) isn’t up to snuff, players can always opt to expand the SSD with those used in typical PCs, as Mark Cerny pointed out, which will no doubt be convenient for those who own a gaming PC at the same time. 

And of course, there’s also the option to add an external HDD for even more storage. In any case, it looks as though storage woes will become less of an issue for gamers, at least for the foreseeable future.

In terms of graphics, Sony doesn’t seem to be sparing any penny in that department as well. Thanks to the Custom RDNA2A AMD GPU, devs can work on games that can support ray-tracing and primitive shaders, which is, as Cerny described in his technical presentation earlier this year, “based on the same strategy as AMD’s upcoming PC GPUs.” 

To reiterate, this simply means that gamers can expect to see some eye-catching visuals in their titles as they would see in top-tier gaming PCs. Especially when pairing that technology with the new Unreal Engine 5, one can imagine just how much of a visual feast they’d be entreated to with upcoming PS5-exclusive games.

Another interesting fact is that the PS5 will also double as a 4K Blu-ray player. Of course, with 4K TVs and up still very much a luxury item these days, it won’t be too big of a deal in that case.

But for those who do, there’s plenty to look forward to when the PS5 rolls around when catching your favourite content in 4K.

Features

PHOTO: Sony

Of course, one of the highlights of the PS5 is the backward compatibility with PS4 games. From the onset, players who currently own a PS4 can directly port their titles over to the new console.

Using a combination of its AMD CPU and custom GPU, it lets the PS5 enter what the devs call Legacy Modes, one each for the PS4 and PS4 Pro. What this does is it lets the PS5 mimic the hardware of the previous machines in order to run titles that are optimised for them.

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This will no doubt be an eyebrow-raising feature for many as the Xbox Series X, in contrast, does its backwards compatibility by upscaling Xbox One games to make them look like HD remasters for the new console.

The PS5’s downscaling does seem off-putting by comparison, however it will also be pertinent to note that the legacy games will still be running on the PS5’s new SSD, meaning boot-up and load times will be drastically reduced.

Another interesting feature is 3D audio support, thanks to the new Tempst Engine. The 2D AudioTech system will feature GPU parallelism and SPU-like architecture to enable sound is as cinematic as it can get, which we imagine is optimised for wearing headphones. 

How exactly it will be superior compared to the current generation’s Dolby 7.1 sound remains to be seen, but on paper it does seem promising, with Sony’sHead-related Transfer Function (HRTF).

This essentially lets sound design be built to simulate accurate positioning, with an increased emphasis on suiting the audio needs of different players.

In essence, it’s a form of machine learning integrated to the PS5, and one that allows for an immersive experience like never before, or so we hear.

Dualsense Controller

PHOTO: Sony

New console, new controller. The Dualsense wireless controller is designed with the intent to “deliver a new feeling of immersion to players.” 

As its name suggests, two aspects of the human senses will be a focal point in delivering this immersive experience — sound and touch. The former will be done in conjunction with the aforementioned Tempest 3D AudioTech, while the latter will take the form of an enhanced haptic feedback system located on the L2 and R2 adaptive triggers.

PHOTO: Sony

As sound aims to simulate positional accuracy, the haptic feedback aims to add more immersive sensations as players grip the controller, such as driving through mud or drawing an arrow on a bowstring.

A motion sensor will also be present in the Dualsense Controller to add an additional layer of gameplay to upcoming games.

PHOTO: Sony

Additionally, the Share button has been replaced with a Create button, which lets players essentially capture, edit and share their gameplay on the fly.

A built-in microphone has also been installed in the Dualsense controller, allowing players to communicate in voice chat without having to connect to a dedicated headset (though using one is infinitely better for the receiver, we imagine).

Accessories

PHOTO: Sony

Accompanying the PS5’s reveal were several accessories: the HD Camera, Pulse 3D Wireless Headset, Media Remote, and the Dualsense Charging Station.

Currently, no additional information on these devices have been announced, nor do we know whether they’ll be included in every PlayStation 5 box, or sold separately.

Games

If there’s anything else everyone is absolutely looking forward to for the PS5 aside from the machine itself, is the games people will play on it.

Aside from the entire PS4 catalogue that is backwards-compatible, or games that will be launched for both the PS4 and PS5, there is also the small matter of upcoming titles exclusive to the PS5. 

The reveal unveiled 26 titles with all footage seemingly coming from the PS5 system itself. And it looks like most of these games have been made under the company’s first-party umbrella,

PlayStation Studios, with a good number of them sequels or new IPs coming from familiar and established devs, as well as a good number of indie ones too. A strong first showing, nonetheless.

However, not all the games presented will be launch titles, with just snippets of in-game footage being shown for most of them. Only a handful (five, to be exact) have been announced for a 2020 launch, suggesting that they will most likely be accompanying the PS5’s launch.

In any case, here are the games and their respective launch dates in chronological order:

Title Developer/Publisher Release Date
NBA 2K21 2K Fall 2020 (will most likely be launched on the PS4 first given it has the earliest launch date of all the games in the presentation)
Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales Insomniac Games Holiday 2020
JETT: The Far Shore Superbrothers Holiday 2020
Godfall Counterplay Games/Gearbox Publishing Holiday 2020
Bugsnax Young Horses Holiday 2020
Hitman III IO Interactive January 2021
Grand Theft Auto V Rockstar Games 2021
Stray Annapurna Interactive 2021
Goodbye Volcano High Ko_Op 2021
Ghostwire: Tokyo Tango Gameworks 2021
Resident Evil 8 Capcom 2021
Pragmata Capcom 2022
Horizon: The Forbidden West Guerrilla Games TBA
Gran Turismo 7 Polyphony DigitaL TBA
Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart Insomniac Games TBA
Project Athia Square Enix/Luminous Productions TBA
Demon’s Souls JAPAN Studio, Bluepoint Games TBA
Returnal Housemarque TBA
Sackboy: A Big Adventure Sumo Digital TBA
Destruction Allstars Lucid TBA
Kena: Bridge of Spirits Ember Lab TBA
Oddworld Soulstorm Oddworld Inhabitants TBA
Solar Ash Annapurna Interactive TBA
Astro’s Playroom JAPAN Studio TBA
Little Devil Inside Neostream TBA
Deathloop Arkane Studios/Bethesda Softworks TBA

So far, Sony has pulled no punches with its reveal of the PS5 with only release date, price and more features to be announced (and hopefully more games too) later this year.

This article was first published in Geek Culture.