It's finally happened a source directly related to Sony finally confirmed that the work on PlayStation 5 is not only underway but actually nearing the end. And quite a source it was! In a recent conversation with Wired, Mark Cerny, the Lead System Architect of the PS5 system (if that's what the new platform will be called) let us in on the subject of the hardware in development by the Japanese company, thereby starting another round in the struggle for dominance in the upcoming, ninth generation of consoles.
We can expect the official presentation of PS5 during the PlayStation Experience 2019, particularly since Sony is supposed to skip the June E3 exhibitions for the first time in the last twenty-four years. Reading the news coming from Sony, it's hard to escape the impression that the company is really preparing for something big. In view of the existing official data and unofficial leaks we shouldn't be surprised. The first reports about PlayStation 5 sound great, although not in any case revolutionary.
At this point, I can say that having a new generation of equipment will be a necessity.
Kenichiro Yoshida, CEO of Sony, October 2018
The key point is whether the console adds another layer to the experience you already have access to, or allows for fundamental changes in what video games can be.
Mark Cerny, Lead System Architect of the new PlayStation system, April 2019
The original version of the text appeared on the website on May 14th, 2019.
PLAYSTATION 4 IN NUMBERS
- Since November 2013, the device sold in more than 91 million copies, securing the fourth place in the list of the top selling consoles of all time. And while Sony can still hope to beat the results of the Wii and PSX (respectively 101, and 102 million), overcoming PlayStation 2 and its 155 million (!) copies just won't happen.
- In a report published at the end of 2018, Sony revealed that PlayStation 4 has sold 876 million games this means an average of 9.6 games sold per console.
- Since the debut of PlayStation 4 Pro in November 2016, every fifth console sold is the improved version. According to representatives of Sony, this result exceeded their expectations.
- As many as six titles exclusive to the PlayStation 4 boasts an average rating of 90/100 or above on Metacritic.
We decided to gather all the information we found reliable enough, and present it to you like the preliminary vision of what the next Sony console could look like. The sources are, above all, the statements made by Mark Cerny, Lead System Architect of the PlayStation 5, who revealed the first details about the new console including its specification. However, in matters such as the release date or launch titles, we needed to resort to unconfirmed reports, patents or statements, in which info about the upcoming hardware can be traced. This is, perhaps, not the most solid bedrock for speculation, but fret not as soon as there's any new information, we will come back and alter the text accordingly so that the information about the PS5 contained here remains up-to-date.
The release date of the PlayStation 5
- Autumn 2019 this date was ruled out by Mark Cerny, the Lead System Architect of the system, who announced that the debut of the PS5 in 2019 is out of the question.
- Spring 2020 the March premiere of Nintendo Switch showed that spring can be a good time for releasing a new console, so we're not crossing this one out. However, we assume that it is less probable than the following date.
- Autumn 2020 in our opinion the most probable time for the release of PS5.
- 2021 some people consider such a remote release date the most probable, though we think it a bit late.
The first information concerning the release date was revealed by the head of Sony Interactive Entertainment, John Coder. During the May meeting of investors in 2018, he admitted that PlayStation 4 is already in the final stages of its life cycle and that until March 2021 and thus before the end of the fiscal year 2020 the company will be ready for the future. This, in turn, means that the new console is likely to debut at the turn of 2020. The date that's mentioned most often is November 2020 the previous two versions of PlayStation hit the market around the same time of the year, and PS2 was launched in late October.
This theory would correspond to the information published by RuthenicCookie on Reddit, who claims that Sony's new hardware will be revealed in 2019, and then presented at the PlayStation Experience exhibition a couple of months after that and that its premiere will take place in March or November 2020. And while we usually have no reason to believe the assumptions of an anonymous user of the Internet, the same person had previously revealed or simply accurately predicted that Sony will refuse to participate in the E3 expositions, where it has appeared every year for twenty-four years. Since that information turned out to be, the leaks seem to bear some credibility. Moreover, the same release date is also assumed by the analysts from the NPD Group, as well as from Lee IDC, and the first prediction the official announcement of PS5 in 2019 was true.
HOW LONG DO CONSOLES LIVE?
How big were the gaps between the debuts of subsequent Sony consoles so far?
- PlayStation 6 years (1994-2000)
- PlayStation 2 6 years (2000-2006)
- PlayStation 3 7 years (2006-2013)
- PlayStation 4 6 to 7 years old (considering that the premiere in 2020 seems realistic)
Apart from players, journalists, street oracles, and would-be prophets, the biggest fishes of the electronic entertainment industry are also trying to make their own predictions. During the May meeting with investors, the President of Take-Two, Strauss Zelnick, announced that he expects a new console in 2020, although he noted that this surmise is not based on any specific information. However, we can assume with reasonable confidence that major publishers are aware of the plans of console manufacturers in advance. Developing games is a process that takes years and needs to be done with specific hardware in mind.
Work's in full swing
As we can read in a recent Wired interview with the Lead System Architect of the new system, Mark Cerny, a fairly large number of external developers already have access to the so-called "dev-kits" of the new console, i.e. sets of tools designed for enabling developing games tailored to a specific hardware environment. And if developers can already make games designed for another system, its premiere can't be too far away. Cerny has emphatically denied rumors of an early, 2019 debut, hence we consider 2020 the most probable.
WHAT WE KNOW FOR SURE:
- The works on PlayStation 5 is supervised by Mark Cerny, who was also responsible for the PlayStation 4;
- The developers Sony's internal teams, and external studios alike already have access to the dev-kits, allowing them to create games in the new environment;
- The new Sony console will be equipped with an octa-core AMD Zen 2 processor and a graphics processing unit based on the AMD Radeon Navi architecture; these components should enable gameplay in a resolution of up to 8K with support of ray tracing;
- PlayStation 5 will also get an SSD, increasing the speed of games and download;
- The new Sony console will be backward compatible with the PlayStation 4.
Remember how awful was the list of games available on PlayStation 4 right after its release? Knack, Killzone: Shadow Fall, flOw these are not really genre-definers. Sony apparently doesn't believe it was a killer setup either. If the leaks are to be believed, the company is going to do everything to convince people that the console will be worth the buck since day one. According to the aforementioned Reddit thread, the release of PS5 will be concurrent with premiers of Death Stranding, The Last of Us: Part II and The Ghost of Tsushima. There are also mentions of Knack III but the previously listed games, of course, hold a much stronger punch.
If the next Sony console would really take off with such an offer, Sony would set the bar exceptionally high for Microsoft. And that's quite possible none of these games have a specific release date yet, and although we've seen them on various industry events, it doesn't mean they're anywhere near completion.
Much indicates, however, that the Japanese do not intend to stop there. During the Star Wars Celebration Convention, actress Janina Gavankar, known from the game Horizon Zero Dawn, admitted that the studio Guerrilla Games is already working on a sequel. This, in turn, coincided with rumors that the second part of Aloy's adventures would be one of the launch titles for PS5. Soon after, the atmosphere was additionally heated by developers from a subsidiary studio, Sony Santa Monica, who shared a God of War PS4 theme. There, written in the runic alphabet, a message was concealed it said: "Ragnarφk is coming." Ragnarφk is the "twilight of the gods" in the Norse mythology, and its first chapter begins exactly at the end of the last game with the bearded god killer Kratos. Death Stranding, Ghost of Tsushima, The Last of Us: Part II, Horizon Zero Dawn 2 and Sony's God of War 2 at the very launch of the ninth generation would let PS5 to really hit the ground running. As if the above set wasn't enough, there are also rumors of Battlefield: Bad Company 3 and temporarily exclusivity of Grand Theft Auto 6 (which could be overkill).
WHAT'S THE ANSWER FROM REDMOND?
"Our hardware team, the one that delivered the incredibly powerful Xbox One X, is working on the new Xbox family consoles," Phil Spencer said during last year's E3.
It is hard to imagine an announcement of PS5 without a prompt response from Microsoft. The giant from Redmond is already preparing for the next chapter of the console war. And they'll probably want to do that full-throttle because according to an anonymous source the American company is working on not one, but actually three platforms, so far only known by their codenames: Anaconda, Anaconda Cloud and Lockhart.
This first one is supposedly the garden-variety home gaming system, using advanced technologies, and allowing, in particular, gameplay in 4K @60fps. The second, in turn, should serve primarily for streaming games stored in the "cloud," and its components will have to offer enough firepower to keep up with the continuous processing of high-quality images. Lockhart, on the other hand, is expected to be a slightly weaker version of the ninth-generation hardware, which will offer a lower price at the expense of less impressive guts. The system is allegedly slated to release as soon as in 2020.
THE FUTURE OF PLAYSTATION 4
To everyone concerned about the releases of The Last of Us: Part II, Ghost of Tsushima and Death Stranding on PS5 nothing so far indicates these games should not be available on PlayStation 4. It would be quite strange, even, if Sony sacrificed three such big titles exclusively to the new platform; these games were all announced as PS4 exclusives, after all. The current version of the console has already found more than 90 million customers, and it is difficult to imagine that the Japanese would risk war between their own platforms. On the other hand, though, this would be a very strong argument for upgrading.
Here, we again have to resort to a mysterious source a person going by the nickname RuthenicCookie who, writing about the specification, release date, and launch titles, also mentioned the price allegedly no more than $500. Let's remember that the PS4 cost $399.99 in the US and the same number of Euros on the other side of the pond. The question of the price was carefully deflected in the Wired interview by Mark Cerny, who said only that the price of the new console will be "appealing." This, however, was not enough for the editors of the website Digital Trends, who made their own assessment, taking into account previous Sony platforms, as well as the cost of individual components. According to their estimates, PS5 will be released in three versions: costing 450, 500 and 600 dollars (with 256 GB, 512 GB and 1 TB of internal memory respectively). However, this is still a mere surmise, and perhaps Sony will decide to lower the price and pay a bit extra for each produced console in order to lure as many players as possible.
In the April Wired interview, Mark Cerny revealed the specifications of PlayStation 5 and I must admit that it looks impressive. The components are delivered by AMD, which will furnish the upcoming console with an octa-core processor based on the third generation of Ryzen, and a modified version of the Radeon Navi graphics-processing unit. Such specs should make the console capable of supporting ray tracing, so far only available to owners of powerful PCs, and running games in 8K.
60 FRAMES OF TROUBLE
There's absolutely nothing preventing a console from displaying an image in 60fps. Even the first PlayStation was able to deliver that (some games on PSX run in 60 frames, for example, Rapid Racer from 1997). However, game developers have to decide how to utilize the finite power capabilities of consoles. Compromises have to be made; on the one hand, we have games that run as smoothly as possible on the other, stunning graphics quality. Technically, you could have both, but the consensus among publishers is that spectacular graphics sell the game, and 60 frames of animation dont. It is very possible that many titles on PS5 will still run at 30 frames per second, but they'll offer much better graphics than if they would run in 60fps.
The console will also be equipped with an SSD, even faster than those on personal computers. This affects primarily the loading times which should be reduced to an absolute minimum as well as the rendering of the elements of the environment PS5 will require much less time to constantly generate all the objects in the game world. Improvements will also affect the audio, as Sony decided to equip its console with a device dedicated to getting you that surround sound. To reassure those who fear a complete takeover of the ninth generation of consoles by digital distribution, Cerny has also disclosed that PlayStation 5 will support physical media.
Accessories and backward compatibility
Leaks also mention additional "hardware." First of all, after the financial success of PlayStation VR (in the middle of last year, Sony reported that it had managed to sell three million goggles and almost 22 million games and apps), the Japanese are going to develop an upgraded version of the set. It's supposed to have a built-in camera and headphones, and we'll handle it with special gloves and a new edition of the PlayStation Move controller (the existence of the latter confirms the patent obtained by the company at the beginning of last year). Another finding, revealed in September, concerns the technology designed to minimize discomfort and eliminate nausea.
Moving away from virtual reality, but remaining in the subject of patents, we should add that in October, we learned that Sony is actively working on a technology called "remaster through emulation." The principle here is replacing textures from older games with their more modern versions all in real time, with no additional downloads. It's thus possible that Sony is trying to come up with the most efficient solution for backward compatibility. So far, we only know that PS5 will allow playing all the games from PS4, and will support older VR sets.
WAITING FOR MORE
So far, this pretty much wraps up all we know about PS5. As soon as there's something new, we will update this article.