Sony’s upcoming PlayStation 5 looks like it might be a mother of a console, a report from Wired indicated this morning. Featuring a solid state drive and—yes!—backwards compatibility with the PlayStation 4, the PlayStation 5 seems big and bad, although it won’t arrive this year (maybe in 2020, as Kotaku previously reported).
As is expected, the PlayStation 5 will have more powerful specs to match the increased graphics and storage needs for next-gen games. The most exciting bit of news from today’s report is that the PlayStation 5 will have a solid state drive (SSD), a piece of technology that can dramatically speed up loading times between zones in games and rendering time for game environments. Sony did not reveal the SSD’s specs or manufacturer. PlayStation 5 lead system architect Mark Cerny did say, however, that its raw bandwidth should exceed that of what’s currently available for PCs. According to Wired:
To demonstrate, Cerny fires up a PS4 Pro playing Spider-Man, a 2018 PS4 exclusive that he worked on alongside Insomniac Games. . . On the TV, Spidey stands in a small plaza. Cerny presses a button on the controller, initiating a fast-travel interstitial screen. When Spidey reappears in a totally different spot in Manhattan, 15 seconds have elapsed. Then Cerny does the same thing on a next-gen devkit connected to a different TV. (The devkit, an early “low-speed” version, is concealed in a big silver tower, with no visible componentry.) What took 15 seconds now takes less than one: 0.8 seconds, to be exact. . .
On the next-gen console, the camera speeds uptown like it’s mounted to a fighter jet. Periodically, Cerny pauses the action to prove that the surrounding environment remains perfectly crisp.
If you’re wondering about the PlayStation 5's CPU and GPU, we heard those details, too:
PlayStation’s next-generation console ticks all those boxes, starting with an AMD chip at the heart of the device. (Warning: some alphabet soup follows.) The CPU is based on the third generation of AMD’s Ryzen line and contains eight cores of the company’s new 7nm Zen 2 microarchitecture. The GPU, a custom variant of Radeon’s Navi family, will support ray tracing, a technique that models the travel of light to simulate complex interactions in 3D environments. While ray tracing is a staple of Hollywood visual effects and is beginning to worm its way into $10,000 high-end processors, no game console has been able to manage it.
Audio improvements will be a big focus, Wired continued. While “ray tracing” is primarily used for graphics, Cerny notes it can have audio benefits. ““It’s all the same thing as taking a ray through the environment,” he said. It might help players hear small, subtle sounds coming from sneaking-around enemies, for example. “With the next console the dream is to show how dramatically different the audio experience can be when we apply significant amounts of hardware horsepower to it,” said Cerny.
Cerny didn’t give more details about PlayStation 5's VR capabilities, but did note that “VR is very important to us,” adding that the current PSVR headset will work with the upcoming console.
Sony execs are avoiding calling it the “PlayStation 5, instead preferring “next-gen console,” even though every prior model followed the same naming pattern. The PlayStation 4 was released in 2013, seven years after the launch of the PlayStation 3. Should the PlayStation 5 release in 2020, as we’ve reported, then it too will wind up having been Sony’s lead console for seven years.
While Google, Microsoft and, to an extent, Sony have all promoted game-streaming services of late, concrete details confirming the new Sony console reaffirm that the model of owning a box to play games isn’t going away any time soon.
You can read the full report here.