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.