SONY has finally unveiled the PlayStation 5's specs today – ahead of the next-gen console's launch around Christmas 2020.
The PS5 is the main rival for Microsoft's upcoming Xbox Series X, kicking off another decade of console wars.
What is the PS5?
Sony is delivering fresh PS5 news on Wednesday, March 18 at 4pm London time / 11am NYC time.
The PS5 was originally unveiled in April 2019, but didn't have a name or a release date.
All we learned at the time were details about its performance, loading times and impressive hardware.
But we now know that the PS5 – the successor to 2013's PS4 – will be here in time for Christmas.
The console will be a direct competitor to Microsoft's Xbox 2, currently only known as Project Scarlett.
PS5 specs – what's the latest news?
Sony used a special press conference in March to detail the PS5's specs.
The performance will be groundbreaking, Sony explained.
“Soon there are games that could never have been created before,” said Sony’s Mark Cerny, lead architect of PS5.
The console features a 10.28 teraflop GPU clocked at 2.234GHz.
That's fewer teraflops (or trillion operations per second), than the Xbox Series X, which is promising 12 teraflops.
Fortunately, much of game loading comes down to RAM, or fast memory.
And the PS5 boasts 16GB of nippy GDDR6 memory – just like the Xbox Series X.
PS5 release date – when is the new console out?
In a blog post, PlayStation boss Jim Ryan said: "Since we originally unveiled our next-generation console in April, we know that there’s been a lot of excitement and interest in hearing more about what the future of games will bring.
"Today I’m proud to share that our next-generation console will be called PlayStation 5, and we’ll be launching in time for Holiday 2020."
That's not a specific date, but it's effectively a promise that you'll be able to buy it in the run-up to Christmas 2020.
In reality, that probably means the new console going on sale in October or November.
That's a great time for a new console to come out, as those months are when blockbuster releases like new Call of Duty games typically happen.
So what's the likeliest date? Well the PS4 launched on November 15, 2013 – a Friday.
And the PS4 Pro launched on November 10, 2016 – a Thursday.
Based on those launches, we predict either a November 12 or 13 PS5 release date in 2020.
PlayStation releases – what's the history
Here's what you need to know…
- The original PlayStation launched in Europe in 1995
- This was followed by the PlayStation 2 in the year 2000
- The PlayStation 3 arrived over half a decade later, in 2006
- Then gamers had to wait a further seven years for 2013's PS4 launch
- Based on those dates, there's an average of six years between each new PlayStation generation
- But 2016's PlayStation 4 Pro threw a spanner in the works
- The mid-generation console offered gamers a graphical upgrade – without releasing a brand new console generation
- Sony has announced a PS5 release for 2020, four years after the PS4 Pro and six years after the PS4
Sony PS5 controller – what do we know?
The October announcement also revealed details about the PS5 controller.
Sony's new controller will feature haptic feedback that replaces the "rumble" technology typically found in joypads.
The term "haptic" literally means "relating to touch", and so it's about providing better touch feedback to your hands.
That means more vibrating motors in your controller in places like the triggers and even joysticks to give what PlayStation calls "a broader range of feedback".
"Crashing into a wall in a race car feels much different than making a tackle on the football field," said PlayStation boss Jim Ryan.
"You can even get a sense for a variety of textures when running through fields of grass or plodding through mud."
The new controller will also feature adaptive triggers – technology built into the L2 and R2 trigger buttons.
Developers will be able to program the resistance of these triggers so you can feel the "tactile sensation of drawing a bow and arrow", for instance.
Game creators are already receiving early versions of the new controller.
Will it be able to play PS4 games?
Yes, it will.
The first official revelations confirmed it would be fully backwards-compatible with all PS4 games.
A patent revealed last year but filed in 2016 outlined some pretty nifty technology for automatically increasing the quality of older games when played on a newer networked system.
It showed off the ability to replace textures and audio files on the fly with higher-quality versions as they became available.
The possibilities of this for backwards-compatible games are obvious, but the timing of the original filing doesn't suggest it's got much to do with PS5 plans specifically.
Another patent filed in 2019 suggested that the PS5 processor would be able to pretend to be the processors from older consoles, and thus play their games natively.
How fast will the PS5 be?
Loading up a game on the PlayStation 5 will be ten times faster than on PS4, according to a demo shown off by Sony.
A scene that took over 8 seconds to load on top-end PS4 Pro hardware was shown popping up in 0.8 seconds in a video shown to investors.
This demo, shown off in Japan to an audience of investors was recorded by Wall Street Journal reporter Takashi Mochizuki.
The magic happens because the PS4 has to load games off an old-fashioned spinning hard drive, the PS5 will load them straight from a solid-state drive.
Solid state drives have been found in gaming PCs and fancy laptops, like gaming favourite the Razer Blade Stealth, for some time.
They don't have any moving parts, and your computer can read the data off any part of them right away.
Normal hard drives store data on spinning magnetised plates, so the computer not only needs to spin the plate to be able to read it, it also needs to find and then physically read the correct bit of disc to get the data off it.
The downside is that solid-state drives are much more expensive than normal hard drives, and many fear it's going to push the price of the new console up.
However, the increased speed means that as well as cutting loading times at the start, things in games can also happen much faster with the new technology.
Games only load a small portion of the game at any one time, and load more as you're playing in the background.
That means that even once it's loaded up you can only move in the game's world as fast as whatever you're playing on can load the new information.
Showing Spider-Man running on both consoles, Sony demonstrated how much faster it would be possible to swing down New York's streets on the new hardware without having to stop so the game could catch up.
When the PS5 specs were revealed, Sony reportedly showed a 15-second in-game loading time cut down to less than a second, but this is the first time we've seen it in action.
In other news, Call of Duty has added a new Warzone Solos mode.
Here are some great Warzone tips and tricks.
And check out this crazy £450 "gaming bed".
Are you team PS5 or team Xbox Series X? Let us know in the comments!
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