Everything we know about Sony’s PlayStation 5 so far

Emilee Geist

Photo credit: Sony
Photo credit: Sony

From Digital Spy

The year is 2020 and all of a sudden it feels like the future has arrived. Automated cars are now not so farfetched, everybody is commanding their house with their voice using smart speakers (hello, HAL 9000), and we’re now supposedly living in the dystopian Blade Runner era, having surpassed the far-flung year of 2019.

For gamers, this is nothing but good news, as the video games industry is about to hold the Sprint Button and make a massive stride forward into the next decade with its line-up of next-gen consoles.

Google’s Stadia might not have made the waves it was hoping for (we’d almost forgotten it had come out already) and Microsoft is teasing us all with the Xbox Fridge… *cough* we mean Xbox Series X, and now we have Sony’s Goliath gaming machine getting us all wobbly at the knees with more details on the PlayStation 5.

In an exclusive reveal with Wired magazine in the US, the world was introduced to some early details about the next version of the PlayStation. We also now have exciting first gameplay footage and specs from Sony’s Future of Gaming Event on June 11, explaining new tech for the controller, and details about a vague release date.

We’ve taken the time to gather all the details, so read on to discover when we’ll be seeing it – and if it’ll be worth your time.

PlayStation 5 logo – Sony unveils official imagery and it’s exactly what you’d expect

The year 2020 brings a bunch of new details about Sony’s upcoming next-gen console, but unfortunately, there’s nothing here that will particularly surprise you.

During a Sony CES event in early January 2020, the world was introduced to the official logo we’ll be seeing plastered all over every bit of PS5 marketing for the next few years and it looks, well… exactly the same as the PS4 logo.

Photo credit: Sony
Photo credit: Sony

We’re not sure what we expected here, but something with a bit more “joie de vivre” would have been welcome. The disappointing reveal was also a lonely nugget of info on stage, as Sony declined to give us any more juicy details on the new console.

What we did get was some details on sales numbers from previous PlayStations, if you’re interested. Sony claims to have sold more than 106 million PS4 consoles, 1.15 billion PS4 games and more than 5 million PSVR headsets, so good on you, gamers.

PlayStation 5 release date – When will we be seeing it?

Photo credit: Sony
Photo credit: Sony

So we finally have an official release date for the PlayStation 5, and it’s perilously close to the release of it’s biggest rivals, the Xbox Series X.

However, the PS5 has a split release date, coming out in different countries on different days. We presume this is down to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic restricting production of the gaming machine, but we have had no confirmation from Sony on that one.

For those living in the US, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea, you’ll be getting the PS5 on November 12, while the rest of the world, including the UK, will be getting their grubby paws on the console on November 19.

If you’ve been keeping tabs on the ongoing console war, you’ll know that Microsoft recently revealed that both the Xbox Series X and the Xbox Series S consoles will be releasing at the same time world wide on November 20.

We just love the subtle games these giant console manufacturers are playing, as they fight to win out your hard-earned cash and bring you over to team Sony or Team Microsoft.

Just a single day can make all the difference between us regular gamers making the choice to go with the PS5 or the Xbox Series X.

PlayStation 5 price – How much is it going to cost?

Photo credit: Sony
Photo credit: Sony

And now we also have some pricing information for the gaming tower, though it’s interesting that Sony revealed plans for two consoles, depending on your needs.

There is the vanilla version of the PS5 going for £449, and there’s also an all-digital version of the PS5 with no disc-tray for £359.

We find it very interesting that Sony kept this second console a secret and that they have priced it £110 higher than the Xbox Series S, which is Microsoft’s all-digital console.

Yes, we realise that the XSS has dumbed-down graphics and less power, but it’s still a super-affordable middle-ground console for gamers who don’t have the money to commit to full-on 4K gaming.

The PS5 all-digital will be just as powerful as the disc-tray version, with presumably a similar internal storage which leaves the door open for Sony to bring out either a budget console somewhere between the PS4 Pro and the PS5, or they could go the other way and bring out a premium, more expensive PS5 Pro in a year or two, with better graphics and a larger price tag.

PlayStation 5 specs – How powerful is it?

Photo credit: Sony
Photo credit: Sony

Okey dokey. Let’s get into the complicated, nitty-gritty of the new console.

Before we go into this, you shouldn’t expect a simple upgrade to the PS4 – this new console will be a significant shift in how games are presented to you and how you explore them, and it does seem like Sony is committed to providing a “true next-gen experience”.

Having said that, there is a big upgrade on both the CPU and the GPU of the next PlayStation, meaning faster speeds, better graphics and more efficiency.

The CPU is derived from the 3rd gen AMD Ryzen series, which has an 8-core processor featuring the new 7nm Zen 2 microarchitecture. This technical jargon roughly translates to “extremely powerful CPU”. This is then paired with a custom Radeon Navi GPU, which will reportedly handle the awesome-sounding ray tracing.

Ray tracing is a new piece of tech to come to gaming – though it is commonly used in movie VFX – and is a more realistic rendering of how light interacts with a 3D world. This means better reflections, lighting, and ambience – all things that make games look wicked.

Photo credit: NVIDIA
Photo credit: NVIDIA

You might have seen footage of Minecraft running with ray tracing and, while we don’t think that game will make the most of that tech, it does make it look incredible.

During the Sony Road to PlayStation 5 livestream on March 18, Mark Cerny talked us through all the complicated computing power in more detail and gave us some direct comparisons from the PS4 to the next-gen PS5.

Photo credit: Sony
Photo credit: Sony

There was a lot of technical jargon that was thrown at us during the live stream, and we won’t pretend we understood all of it, but Mark spent much of his time singing the praises of an SSD and its ability to load data at incredible speeds.

A standard HDD hard drive has to constantly send checks, or ‘seeks’, examine the files, pull the data needed to build the game world, and then present it on the screen to you, which can take time (even if it is infinitesimal).

This then has a knock-on effect with load-times –which can stretch up to 30 seconds while the game seeks out the files needed– or in level design, where game developers have to find clever ways of twisting the level to hide the loading sections.

Photo credit: Sony
Photo credit: Sony

The new SSD allows for incredibly fast load-speeds, as it doesn’t have to send out any ‘seeks’ to grab the data it needs to present on screen. The data is already filed and organised and pinged to your console almost instantaneously.

In practice, this means geometry and assets in the game will load in tenths of seconds rather than half a minute. Think back to a game that has suddenly paused as you pass into the next area because the console is bringing in new assets, or those tedious loading screens that stretch on forever between levels.

With the PS5, that should be completely eradicated, and geometry will instead load directly around the player in an instant, meaning no matter how fast you turn around, the game world will be fully rendered without any need for the console to go and ‘seek’ that data and bring it to you.

That might all sound really confusing, and it is, but just keep in mind that games will load faster, show on your screen way more efficiently, and will open up to jumping right into the game from firing up the console.

Photo credit: Sony
Photo credit: Sony

Sony is also playing around with the AMD chip to change how audio works in gaming, allowing for more realistic interactions in-game for where sound sources are in relation to the player.

This reportedly also affects how sound interacts with the 3D environment in-game. So footsteps thumping down a hallway, or explosions cracking across the horizon will have more realistic effects across the game world.

Most importantly is the notion of improved loading screens. We’re sure you’ve seen the videos whizzing round online showing Marvel’s Spider-Man on an early-build PS5 pinging Spidey across the map in a mere 0.8 seconds rather than the cumbersome 15 seconds for the current PS4, all without giving our friendly neighbourhood hero severe whiplash.

If this is actually the case and the PS5 can pull assets from the hard drive and push them onto your screen that quickly, then it truly is a next-gen console. Whether it can actually do that consistently, particularly when rendering in 8K, remains to be seen.

The Wired article goes a little deeper on how we should expect the SSD to interact with the console. For example, you will be forced to install games onto the hard drive to play them, but this gives you more selection to install what you want.

Only play multilayer on CoD? Don’t bother to install the single-player campaign and save space on your hard drive for other stuff. There is more freedom to play what you want to play, and those games you do install will be richer, fuller and more detailed.

Mark Cerny also went on to talk about how 3D audio will be changing in the new PS5, and to be honest, this is where we got a bit lost in all the techno-babble.

Photo credit: Sony
Photo credit: Sony

Mark certainly flexed his giant brain on us when it came to how the console renders audio and makes extremely complex computational equations to directly work out how your ear is designed and how the audio should be presented to you.

This means that individual games will be able to push specific noises through your headphones in an exact location around your ears and provide exact areas so you’ll know precisely where that enemy is, or where that bullet is coming from.

Sony clearly care way more about the immersion of their games and placing you inside the console’s environment, as most of the GDC discussion was around making sure the gamer felt a part of the experience.

PlayStation 5 graphics – So what exactly will our games look like?

Well we might not have full on gameplay from the PlayStation 5 so far, but we were recently teased with a tech demo on the new Unreal Engine 5, which is supposedly one of the resources PS5 developers will be utilising to build their next-gen games.

Photo credit: Epic Games
Photo credit: Epic Games

During a new Gamesfest livestream hosted by Geoff Keighley and featuring some of the more powerful figures from Epic Games (the developers behind the mammoth Fortnite), we were given a few nuggets of info on the new engine, as well as how it benefits developers and you, the player.

They delivered a tech demo that showed off some of the graphical power of the PS4, including how light illuminates polygons in the game world and how that transforms your games into ultra-realistic, true-to-life imagery.

The stuff we saw during a recent Gamesfest livestream hosted by Geoff Keighley livestream was also incredibly impressive, and gamers are rightly getting a little weak at the knees at the prospect of how this will impact video games in the future.

Light ripples across the game world and moves across objects almost exactly how it behaves in the real world, with objects able to bounce light particles off it’s surface to give it that gorgeous reflection effect that has evaded developers for years.

Photo credit: Epic Games
Photo credit: Epic Games

It’s the first real footage we have seen from the PS5 prior to June 11’s unveiling and, while it was still a tech demo –and you’d be wise to take tech demos with a hint of scepticism as to if that’s how games will look in the future– it’s still an impressive show and an insight into what we could be playing within the next year.

Epic Games also confirmed that Fortnite would be one of the first games to be moving over to Unreal Engine 5 when the PS4 finally releases, which should totally revolutionise how the game look in the future.

PlayStation 5 controller – How does the new set-up work?

Sony gave us more details about how their new controller will interact with games and the console, and its all making us rather excited for the new tech.

There are two new pieces of tech to come, according to the Wired article. The first is a new haptic feedback system that replaces the “rumble” vibrations of the controller.

The haptic motion of the controller will give you better feedback on what is happening in-game – whether it’s a grenade going off nearby, an engine revving beneath your feet, or the thud of a punch in a fighting game.

Supposedly, these sensations will even stretch to walking through grass, or fighting through mud (though we have no idea how a controller can convey the feeling of grass moving around your legs).

The second update is to the triggers, and Sony has followed Microsoft’s lead with adaptive trigger technology. This means that the triggers have better resistance and feedback to what you’re doing in-game.

Whether you’re slowly accelerating in a car, or drawing a bow and arrow, you will feel the triggers resist to what you are doing realistically and it’ll compliment the haptic feedback to let you know – through your fingertips – exactly what you are doing.

This will mean individual guns will fire differently in your hands – a shotgun will feel more like a pressure-trigger than a full-on assault rifle – or you will feel actual resistance if you need to use the trigger to push open a door.

PlayStation 5 exclusives – What games will come out on PS5?

Speaking of all this hardware and technical wizardry is all fine and good, but what we’re all concerned with is the games themselves.

Sony’s Future of Gaming event on Thursday, June 11 unveiled dozens of titles coming to the PS5. We could tell you about them, or you could watch the teasers and gameplay footage for yourselves below:

Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales

Photo credit: Insomniac Games
Photo credit: Insomniac Games

Grand Theft Auto V and Grand Theft Auto Online

Project Athia

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

Stray

Returnal

Destruction AllStars

Sackboy A Big Adventure

Oddworld Soulstorm

Kena: Bridge of Spirits

Goodbye Volcano High

GhostWire: Tokyo

JETT: The Far Shore

NBA 2K21

Gran Turismo 7

Solar Ash

Demon’s Souls

Pragmata

Resident Evil Village

Little Devil Inside

Horizon Forbidden West

Astro’s Playroom

God of War 2

Hogwarts Legacy

Final Fantasy XVI

Alongside this, Sony keeps dropping new content updates via their State of Play livestream, which gives us gameplay footage of some of the new games. The most recent one was a bit of a disappointment to be honest, and left fans scratching their heads at some of the stranger looking third-party games coming to the PS5 in the months after launch.

Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time

Hitman 3 VR

Braid Anniversary Edition

Spelunky 2

Control Expansion 2 Alan Wake Edition

Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series

Aeon Must Die

Hood: Outlaws & Legends

The Pedestrian

Bugsnax

ANNO: Mutationem

The Pathless

Genshin Impact

Auto Chess

Temtem

GodFall

As you can see, none of them are particularly stunning, and even GodFall looks to be another generic slasher/looter-shooter. We are disappointed to see Sony fall so low from Microsoft who had such a strong showing during their July Xbox 20/20 showcase, but we still have a while to go until the new console releases.

Now, let’s go through which other games we think will be on PS5… eventually.

Cyberpunk 2077 – Almost certainly getting a next-gen release. CD Projekt Red will 100% not be releasing this game in 2019, which means it will likely miss the window to scoop up interested gamers if it’s released on the wrong generation of console.

Plus, it looks far too ambitious and big to be able to cope on PS4 software.

Photo credit: CD Projekt Red
Photo credit: CD Projekt Red

Ghost of Tsushima – The samurai slasher from E3 2018 made us all catch our breath with excitement, but will probably still be a little while away.

The game looked beautiful, but we have no idea how far into development this game is from Sucker Punch.

If it wants to maximise sales, it needs to release it in the next few months, which seems unlikely. So expect battles on the PS5 instead.

Marvel’s Avengers – We will find out more details about this Square Enix project at E3, but we would be VERY surprised if you weren’t shooting up aliens as Iron Man on the next-gen console.

Photo credit: Square Enix
Photo credit: Square Enix

Elder Scrolls VI – Given the length of time this game has remained just a rumour, we could even be seeing it on the PS6…

Bethesda has remained incredibly tight-lipped about this game, and we might not see it for a year or two after the release of the PS5. But surely it will hit the PS5 some time after 2020?

God of War 2? – Nothing confirmed from SCE Santa Monica Studios on a sequel to God of War, but surely a follow up to the Game of the Year for 2018 is inevitable…

The Last of Us: Part II – This is another game that will likely come out on both PS4 and PS5, now that we know we’ll be jumping back into the action in early 2020. But that doesn’t mean the most popular Sony franchise will not get some kind of upgraded re-release when the new console drops.

GTA 6 – Slowly, the leaks and rumours about the next Grand Theft Auto game are beginning to emerge, and the early reports might suggest that Rockstar and Sony will partner up to make GTA 6 a PS5 exclusive before releasing to the rest of the consoles.

It’s been *years* since GTA 5 took the world by storm, and it’s about time for another adventure.

Rumours are that it will be set in Miami and New York, with trips to South America during the cocaine spree in the 70’s and 80’s makes GTA 6 an absolute hit already.

Exact details on the PlayStation 5 remain scarce, but we will be updating this article with all the latest news as and when we get them, so keep an eye on this page.

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