- Sony’s next PlayStation console is deep into production, and is expected to arrive in 2020.
- The first details about the new console were revealed in an interview with Wired on Tuesday.
- As expected, the next PlayStation is promised to be more powerful than the existing PlayStation – but we also learned a lot more.
- Visit BusinessInsider.com for more stories.
Who’s ready for the PlayStation 5?
At the very least, Sony clearly is – the company detailed the successor to the PlayStation 4 in an interview with Wired on Tuesday, where it discussed everything from the specific chips powering the console to when it’s expected to launch. (Spoiler: not this year!)
Here are all the most important things we just learned about the next major PlayStation console:
1. It will have much nicer graphics.
Unlike the PlayStation 4 Pro and the Xbox One X – half-step consoles that offered more power in the same console generation – the new PlayStation “allows for fundamental changes in what a game can be,” Mark Cerny, Sony’s lead system architect, told Wired.
Core to that mission is the new console’s processing chips: a new central processing unit and a graphics processing unit from AMD. The former is based on AMD’s Ryzen line, while the latter is part of Radeon’s Navi GPU line.
What that means for you: The PlayStation 5 is built on chips that are yet-to-be-released.
2. It will have much faster — or almost non-existent — load times.
When you think of flashy new video game consoles, you probably don’t think too much about hard drives – the thing you store games and game saves on.
But Cerny told Wired that the next PlayStation’s hard drive is, “a true game changer.” Why’s that? Because, for the first time ever, the next PlayStation will come with a solid state drive.
What’s different about that? It’s much, much faster than a traditional hard disc drive. In a demonstration of the new drive, 2018’s “Marvel’s Spider-Man” was loaded up on an early development kit for the next PlayStation – it demonstrated a reduction in load times from 15 seconds to less than a single second.
That indeed could be a game-changer. Just imagine all the time you’ve wasted waiting for games to load – now, imagine that being erased permanently.
3. It’s capable of producing 8K visuals.
8K? Yes, 8K – as in “the next step for television resolutions after 4K.” And yes, you probably just got a 4K television. (Even more likely: You still don’t have a 4K television!)
That’s fine. Though the PlayStation 5 will apparently be capable of producing 8K visuals, we don’t expect that any games will take advantage of that for some time. After all, there are barely any 8K sets available for sale, let alone a large audience of people waiting for 8K content.
This capability seems more like a measure of future-proofing against what will come next rather than a new standard for visual fidelity.
4. It can produce a new type of visuals, called “Ray Tracing.”
Forget about 8K: What’s this “ray tracing” business?
The long and short is it’s a jargon term for what is essentially “more accurate lighting.” A core component of video game visuals – like all other visual mediums – is how lighting is applied.
To that end, the next PlayStation will support the emerging form of virtual lighting.
5. It plays PlayStation 4 games as well as PlayStation 5 games.
Backwards compatibility is a hugely important feature of any game console, and it’s one that the PlayStatio 4 completely whiffed. Sony is correcting that with the PlayStation 5: Your PS4 games will outright run on the next PlayStation generation.
Whether this applies to your entire digital game library in addition to disc-based games remains to be seen, but we’re betting it does.
6. It works with PlayStation VR.
There will almost certainly be a new, higher-fidelity version of Sony’s virtual reality headset, PlayStation VR, for the PlayStation 5. When asked about a new headset, Cerny told Wired, “VR is very important to us,” but wouldn’t elaborate. He did confirm, however, that the existing PlayStation VR headset for PS4 will work on the next PlayStation.
Sony didn’t confirm this, but it stands to reason that the next PlayStation also supports PlayStation Move controllers and the PlayStation Camera – crucial components of the PlayStation VR system.
7. It might cost a lot of money.
The PlayStation 5 sounds like it could be a more expensive console than usual.
“I believe that we will be able to release it at an SRP [suggested retail price] that will be appealing to gamers in light of its advanced feature set,” lead architect Mark Cerny told Wired’s Peter Rubin.
When Rubin pushed on what that meant, Cerny demurred. “That’s about all I can say about it,” he said.
Given that the PlayStation 5 is running on brand new, yet-to-be-released processors and uses more expensive solid-state storage, it’s likely to land on the higher side in terms of price. For context, the nearly three-year-old PlayStation 4 Pro model still costs $US400 – the PlayStation 5 could cost even more.
8. It’s not coming out this year — it’s expected to arrive in 2020.
There is no release date for the next PlayStation. Sony hasn’t even officially named it yet, even though it’s widely expected to be named “PlayStation 5” – the historic precedent is certainly there.
What we know for sure is this: The next PlayStation won’t arrive this year.
But we also know that the next PlayStation has been in development for years at this point, and that Sony is sending out development models of it to game makers at an increasing clip.
Moreover, Sony simply wouldn’t be speaking in this much detail about its forthcoming PlayStation console without a decent amount of confidence that it will arrive in the not-so-distant future.
Next year, 2020, is a pretty good bet – likely in the fall, just in time for the holidays.
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