Considered a big year in the gaming industry, 2020 anticipates two of the latest, next generation consoles from Sony and Microsoft. PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X are slated for release during this year’s holiday. However, gamers anticipating their launch will have to wait indefinitely to get their hands on them.
Historically, when a new console is released, it always attracts very high demand. Gamers want to be the first to try a new technology along with some bragging rights, sales skyrocket especially during the early months. But this time around, things might be different.
The widespread disruption due to the coronavirus pandemic has led Sony to push back the launch of PS5 consoles. Aside from delayed debut, Sony announced to its partners its plans to roll out only around 5 to 6 million units by March 2021. This is considerably fewer compared to the number of PS4 units sold in 2013.
But even with this unwanted development, Sony has released several details about the much-awaited console and has also green-lighted the official website. We know that the next-generation PS5 comes with a new DualSense controller, more powerful technical specs, and an awesome initial list of games. The early teasers have definitely left gaming aficionados salivating for more.
What We Know So Far?
Unsurprisingly, we now know that Sony’s newest flagship console will get the official name, PlayStation 5. And as expected, it bears the same logo. The eponymous gaming symbol appears both on the game box and the controller.
The controller is aptly called DualSense which reflects its expanded capabilities, improved haptic feedback and variable trigger resistance. With its two-tone black and white color, DualSense looks sporty and modern. Previous announcements revealed that PS5 will have SSD storage, PSVR support, and backward compatibility. It also comes with eco-friendly and energy-efficient initiatives.
Sony has been very generous with information on PS5 specifications. For the chipset, it will house an AMD chip equipped with 3rd generation Ryzen. It is equipped with e-core, seven-nanometer AMD Zen 2 CPU with 3.5 GHz variable frequency. Based on AMD’s RDNA 2 architecture, the custom GPU features 10.28 teraflops and 36 compute units with speed of up to 2.23 GHz. For the memory, PS5 gets a custom 825GB SSD and 16 GB of GDDR6 RAM.
Given the console’s powerful main hard drive, it guarantees amazingly faster load times in game play. In a speed test between PS4 and PS5, both consoles where loaded with Spider Man. The demo showed PS5 loading faster (just a fraction of a second) compared to PS4 (at around eight seconds).
Custom version based on Radeon’s Navi line is fitted to the graphics drive. It supports advanced ray tracing which is a relatively new technology in the film and video games. According to the official PlayStation website, “ray tracing simulates the way light moves in real life, and how it bounces off various surfaces.” This major feature allows PS5 to showcase objects much more vividly, even looking more realistic.
Alongside improving the graphics, there is an astonishing revamp in the console’s audio capabilities. Equipped with Tempest 3D AudioTech, PS5 offers gamers a much deeper sense of immersion through compelling audio experience. This audio driver guarantees highly immersive, real-like sound effects and produces a greater sense of presence. When playing, you’ll feel like you’re really within the game environment. This feature is not just limited to those with high-end speaker systems but even to those with average audio systems.
The powerful system memory contributes to the spectacular load time of PS5. The ultra-high-speed SDD and integrated custom I/O system allow the console to handle more on-screen objects simultaneously, compared to older consoles running on HDD drives. These technologies offer gamers an entirely new experience where cameras and characters move faster and environments load instantly.
For game developers, this allows them to maximize creativity and develop larger, richer environments and new play experiences for their future PS5 games. Plus, the system memory enables faster installation of patches and new games. Basically, Sony removed one of the most common pet peeves of gamers, specifically lags and poor loading screens.
PS5 will be equipped with a disc drive, a move away from Xbox One S All-Digital Edition. This ensures that you’ll be able to use physical games in it. If you have a TV that supports 4K visuals at 120 Hz or 4K Blu-Rays, PS5 is compatible with it. Televisions with 120 Hz have a refresh rate that is double the rate of regular TVs.
Lastly, the official website confirms the backward compatibility features of PS5. They have started compatibility testing and have been great so far. Come launch; expect that you’ll be able to play your favorite PS4 titles on this console.
Here’s a chart of the PS5 specs according to the official PlayStation website:
|CPU||x86-64-AMD Ryzen™ “Zen 2”
8 Cores / 16 Threads
Variable frequency, up to 3.5 GHz
|GPU||AMD Radeon™ RDNA 2-based graphics engine
Ray Tracing Acceleration
Variable frequency, up to 2.23 GHz (10.3 TFLOPS)
|System Memory||GDDR6 16GB
5.5GB/s Read Bandwidth (Raw)
|PS5 Game Disc||Ultra HD Blu-ray™, up to 100GB/disc|
|Video Out||Support of 4K 120Hz TVs, 8K TVs, VRR (specified by HDMI ver.2.1)|
|Audio||“Tempest” 3D AudioTech|
Early April, Sony unveiled the PlayStation 5 controller, which it called DualSense. The new wireless game controller imbibes Sony’s vision to “deepen the feeling of immersion” when playing virtual games. While DualSense attempts to move out of the shadow of its predecessor – the DualShock. It is rounder, two-tone colored. Instead of a single light bar, it has been split between the sides of the central touchpad. Despite its new, sleek look, DualSense retains the basic principles and the input layout.
Inside the DualSense are some incredible advancements and changes:
- Built-in microphone
No need to wear separate earphones with microphone; the DualSense has a built-in audio input that enables you to chat with friends seamlessly and quickly.
- Adaptive triggers
Adding to the immersive experience, the R2 and L2 buttons match with the tension of in-game actions. For example, if you are firing a heavy machine gun, you’ll feel the same tension. The angle of the triggers has also been tweaked slightly for more realistic feel.
- Haptic feedback
DualSense goes a notch further from DualShock 4’s rumble functionality. This next generation controller provides more subtle and varied powerful sensations. For example, you’ll be able to feel the grittiness of driving over mud.
- Create button
DualSense introduces a new button, the Create button which replaces Share button. It serves similar function which is to create epic game-play content.
PS5 Expandable Storage
Sony enables users to install additional storage, including non-Sony proprietary devices. You can purchase off-the-shelf parts and introduce them into the unit. But while most expandable storage devices are compatible with PS5, many lag behind in terms of technology. Hence, they might not work properly. Because of this, Sony does not recommend people to buy drives ahead of PS5 launch.
What’s In Store?
With every teaser issued by Sony, the anticipation continues to build up. But even with these tidbits of information, we still don’t know everything about the next generation console. Here are other important PS5 details that we’re still waiting to hear about:
PS5 release date
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Sony announced an original plan to launch PS5 this holiday season. In its reveal of the DualSense gamepad, it again reiterated the earlier schedule. Development models have been sent out to game designers so they can begin working on the upcoming roster of PS5 launch games.
The PS5 website, which went live on February 4, is also mum about a possible release date, but simply states “holiday 2020”. The official website showcases the technical and hardware components of the game console. Below the short statement is an email sign-up form for those who want to receive future updates.
Considering the current situation and the future’s uncertainty, Sony might have to push back the release date. Or perhaps, this has already been planned out, but Sony just won’t announce it yet.
The price of PS5 is still unknown. According to Sony’s Chief Financial Officer, they are still in the process of studying the cost, and the market competition, to come up with an acceptable price. The statement gives reassurance that it won’t be as exorbitant.
Perhaps, Sony has learned from its bad experience when it unveiled PS3 and sold it with a very high price tag. PlayStation 3’s debut resulted in poor market reception and struggled in terms of sales. In contrast, PS4, which was sold at a more reasonable price, enjoyed better sales and subsequent successes.
Gaming industry insiders estimate that the PS5 will be sold around $400 to $500. This takes into account the cost of building such gaming console that is equipped with “advanced feature set.” In an interview with Wired, PS5 chief architect Mark Cerny underscored the technology as the main determinant of the price.
In a February Bloomberg report, it estimated the cost of manufacturing a unit of PS5 to run at around $450. The limited supply of NAND and DRAM flash memory, commonly used in smartphones, significantly contributed to its steep cost. This early, some retailers are reportedly pricing PS5 at around $400. Other retailers have put up preorder sign-ups but without price yet.
But here’s some good news to gaming aficionados: Sony will most likely keep the price tag lower as PS5 will go head-to-head with Microsoft’s upcoming Xbox Series X. Again, the final price would greatly depend on two factors: the competition and the price of the components during its launch.
While a development kit has been released, it won’t necessarily mean the final console would be exactly like that. There are leaked pictures that suggest PS5 won’t have the unusual V styled design although the colors might be the same.
In terms of backwards compatibility, PS5 might not be compatible with technologies lower than PS4. However, this is still uncertain as there are trials being done, particularly “re-mastered by emulation.” This would allow PS5 to work on the textures from old games and convert them into the new, compatible graphics.
Voice controls are still unconfirmed. Despite the inclusion of audio input in the controller, Sony has not mentioned anything about voice control. The only hint so far is that Sony holds patents for voice control technologies. If these would be incorporated to the PS5, remains questionable.
Lastly, we don’t have a full list of games that can be played on PS5. As of date, only Godfall is the confirmed PS5-compatible game. This loot-based action RPG is slated for release in 2020. Many believe that it will be the tie-up game of the PS5. It might be safe to presume that top picks, such as Call of Duty and FIFA, would be available in PS5. Other game developers are also working on PS5-playable versions. These include Square Enix’s Final Fantasy VII, and Bluepoint Games’ Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection and Shadow of the Colossus.