The PlayStation has always offered more to the AV world than just games. It has scored well with DVD playback, Blu-rays, and 4K streaming over the years. So what will the PlayStation 5 have to offer at launch? Will it be an 8K machine? Will it still support optical media? When is the PS5 release date? How much will the PS5 cost?
We’ve been reporting all of the PS5 news as it’s been released and now have more concrete information than ever before thanks to the just-streamed PS5 games event (which was postponed to respect the Black Lives Matter movement following the death of George Floyd).
Perhaps surprisingly, given that the event focused on games, the PS5 console itself has now been revealed. In fact, make that consoles, because there are actually two versions of the PS5 on the way: one with an optical disc drive and a ‘Digital Edition’ that does without.
Like the already-revealed ‘DualSense’ controller, the PS5 consoles are exceptionally stylish. In fact, we’d argue that this could be the most strikingly sculpted games machine ever created. For once, the myriad fanboy-created concepts were too conservative.
The event also revealed a number of new accessories, including a new Pulse 3D wireless headset, a DualSense Charging Station in which you can dock two controllers at once, and an HD Camera that mimics the look of the console itself.
Of course, with this being an event about games, we now know loads about the PS5 games line-up, too. From an expanded and enhanced version of GTA 5 (yes, really), to yet another entry in the Resident Evil franchise and the hotly anticipated Horizon II, there’s loads to get excited about.
We’ve been waiting a long time to get to this point. PlayStation’s lead architect and console producer, Mark Cerny, got the PS5 info-ball rolling back in an April 2019 interview and has since, alongside Sony CEO Jim Ryan, expanded on what we can expect from the games console in October.
We got another grand PS5 info dump courtesy of Mark Cerny at the March 2020 tech-heavy Road to PS5 presentation. Sony’s live-streamed PS5 “deep dive” on the PlayStation 5’s architecture focused heavily on the inclusion of SSD storage and cast some doubt over whether or not the PS5 will be supporting Dolby Atmos. More on that below.
Sony officially confirmed some details, including the official name and release date (of sorts), back in October 2019, and at CES 2020, Sony confirmed the official PS5 logo. Since then, Sony has also leaked information about the PS5 DualShock 5 controller.
So, where do we stand now, after the biggest PS5 event to date? Read on and absorb all of the PlayStation 5 details currently available, and start saving for your next console.
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PlayStation 5 price
The PS5 price wasn’t revealed during the June games event and is likely to remain under wraps until closer to launch. The original PlayStation and PS2 launched at £299/$299, the PS3 started at £425/$499 and the more recent PS4 came in at £350/$399. It’s widely believed that a price north of £400/$400 is a recipe for trouble but, given the technological envelopes being pushed by the PS5, we wouldn’t be surprised to see Sony take the risk.
The trade war between China and America may also have an effect when it comes to manufacture and shipping. Indeed, back in June 2019, Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft issued a joint statement warning of such price rises if the trade war continues. Enjoy that one at your leisure.
In fact, according to Bloomberg, Sony is having significant troubles in keeping the cost of the PS5 down. It’s due to the cost of the components inside with DRAM and NAND flash memory, in particular, proving expensive what with smartphone manufacturers gearing up for their own next-gen devices. The upshot is reportedly a manufacture price of $450 (£350), and that will lead to a higher ticket at retail too.
The result could mean a considerably more expensive device, another reason, perhaps, that Sony has chosen to take the two-console approach, offering a full-fat, disc-playing PS5 and a (presumably) more affordable disc-less ‘Digital Edition’. Perhaps the aim is that the Digital Edition will dip below the £400/$400 barriers, while the version with the disc drive will get closer to £499/$499.
It’s worth noting that, while not confirmed, we’re expecting both consoles to have performance parity, with the disc drive (or lack thereof) being the only difference between the two models, so we’re not talking about the standard and ‘Pro’ editions predicted by YouTuber ReviewTechUSA.
PlayStation 5 release date
While a specific date is yet to be revealed, Sony has confirmed that the PS5 release date is Holiday 2020, setting up a battle royale between the PS5 and new Xbox Series X for Christmas 2020.
Previously, in an interview with Wired, Cerny had only said that the PlayStation 5 would not be available before April 2020, but at CES 2020 the company finally went on record with an end of the year PS5 release.
When will we get the official release date? Having spurned the opportunity to put us out of our misery during its June PS5 games event, it’s now anyone’s guess, and perhaps the chaotic nature of a COVID-riddled globe is encouraging Sony to keep its cards close to its chest until much closer to launch, although Sony has claimed that the coronavirus pandemic has not effected the expected late 2020 PS5 release date.
Either way, we expect to see a steady stream of PS5 information from this point forth, so we could get a date as soon as July, or perhaps it will be announced as part of the virtual GDC 2020 in August
Whenever it comes, the aim of Sony is to go big and go big quickly. Pre-Coronavirus, the plan was to reach sales of six million units by March 2021. Doubtless, those plans will have shifted in light of the global economic impact of COVID-19, but Sony has clearly invested hugely in PS5 and will be banking on huge sales.
Games consoles themselves generally sell for very small, if any, profit and Sony will be looking to the content and services to help recoup costs. The more PS5s the company has out there, the faster that can happen.
PlayStation 5 design: what does the PS5 look like?
After months of rampant speculation, leaks and renders, we finally know what the PS5 looks like, and it’s not as anyone predicted. To these eyes, it’s better: the utilitarian looks of the Xbox Series X and Xbox One (and, to a lesser extent, the PS4) have been eschewed in favour of something altogether bolder, more sculpted and more sci-fi. It will almost certainly prove divisive and may age quickly, but we’re impressed at first glance.
That high, wide collar is separated from the black body of the machine by finned gaps that are almost certainly designed to allow the hot air generated by the console’s processing bits and pieces to escape. Rather than hide this functional part of the design, Sony has chosen to highlight it with some lovely blue lighting. This is form and function working as one.
For what it’s worth, the slenderness and symmetry of the PlayStation 5 Digital Edition make it undeniably the better looking of the two consoles, with the standard version’s disc drive looking a little awkward, particularly when they’re stood side-by-side. You might even assume that the Digital Edition was designed first, with the disc drive reluctantly added afterwards. That said, even this bigger model looks smooth and sleek compared to the boxy Xbox Series X.
The design includes two slim slots or buttons (they could also be lights but neither was illuminated during the reveal) towards the bottom of the console’s front, plus a standard (presumably 3.0-certified) and USB-C socket further up. The rear of the machine has not yet been revealed, so the sockets it has back there remained a mystery for now.
Crucially, the final PS5 design is vastly different from that of the many leaks we’ve seen in the last few months. On 13th August, a patent was registered as a Sony electronic device and listed Sony technical director Yasuhiro Ootori as its designer, as filed, apparently, back in May 2019. And below, thanks to LetsGoDigital, is a coloured in and graphically rendered version of the black and white sketch which accompanied the patent.
To call that wide of the mark would be an understatement: this huge, flying V console was almost certainly a developer machine, or a concept for one, and was probably never considered as the final design.
That didn’t stop ZoneOfTech publishing, on 10th October 2019, a leaked image of a developer version of the PS5 that looked very similar to the patent sketch from August.
Here’s the official PS5 logo
Sony started its CES 2020 press conference with a segment on the forthcoming PS5 and while no new specs were released or images shown, Sony did confirm the official PS5 logo.
The design… won’t shock you. It stays in line with previous PlayStation logos, keeping it simple with white lines on a black background.
Will the PlayStation 5 have a 4K Blu-ray drive?
Yes, the PS5 will play 4K Blu-rays. Cerny initially only confirmed the PS5 will have an optical disc drive, but we now have confirmation that the disc drive of the standard PlayStation 5 will indeed play 4K Blu-rays.
It was disappointing that the PlayStation 4 didn’t include a 4K Blu-ray drive, so we’re glad to see Sony supporting the 4K disc format in the new console. Currently, both the Xbox One S and X come with 4K disc drives which gives them extra appeal over the PS4 for home cinema enthusiasts. But the PS5 will bring the Ultra HD Blu-ray fight to Xbox.
Of course, if you’re not interested in playing 4K Blu-rays (or buying disc-based versions of games) you can go for the disc drive-less PlayStation 5 Digital Edition instead.
Will the PlayStation 5 support 8K video?
The PS5 will support 8K video, at least to an extent. The PlayStation 5 will ship with an AMD Ryzen chip — a 7nm chip on Zen 2 architecture — and a GPU from the Radeon Navi-family. It will also come with SSD storage. The promise from this trio of hardware is fast load times, large bandwidth capabilities and oodles of graphics grunt.
Enough grunt for true, native 8K gaming? Perhaps, but possibly only when dealing with simpler titles. Big budget blockbusters might well employ a new version of the sort of checkerboard upscaling that Sony currently uses to make PS4 Pro games look ace on a 4K display.
We know, for example, that Gran Turismo 7 will not be in 8K. The game’s creator, Kazunori Yamauchi, said: “I think, display resolution-wise, 4K resolution is enough.”
Instead, the Polyphony Digital studio boss told GTPlanet that he is more interested in raising the frame rate to 120 or 240fps to really add to the experience.
Both the PS4 and PS4 Pro are already HDR-enabled, supporting the HDR10 format, and there’s no reason to believe that this would be any different for the PS5. Will we see a more advanced version of HDR, such as HDR10+ and Dolby Vision, also employed? We certainly wouldn’t rule it out, particularly as the current Xboxes already support the latter, but nothing has so far been announced on that front.
It was for a time suggested by the likes of YouTuber Zenj Nishikawa that Sony would announce a PS5 Pro alongside a standard PS5, and that the Pro version would support, among other things, 8K video and higher frame rates. However, no PS5 Pro has so far been mentioned.
PlayStation 5 audio: will the PS5 support Dolby Atmos?
We hope so. Again, the current crop of Xbox One consoles outstrips the PS4 in the audio department, certainly on paper, with Sony’s consoles limited to 7.1 audio.
Microsoft’s machines, on the other hand, both come with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X audio for gaming and for 4K Blu-ray playback, although Cerny has promised that the PS5 will herald a new ‘gold standard’ in audio.
At the end if the Sony’s March 2020 PS5 update, Cerny left his audience with the distinct feeling that the PS5 would not be supporting Dolby Atmos. The PS5 will output native 3D audio using a newly-designed ‘Tempest Engine’ with Cerny stating that he wanted to include far more than just the 34 speakers that Atmos can manage. It also means that many more TV sound devices will be able to leverage the PS5’s surround virtualisation and not just Atmos-certified ones.
Make of that what you will. Could this mean the console will be compatible with Sony’s own 360 Reality Audio format? We think so. We also think that, in the short term at least, the newly announced Pulse 3D headset will be how Sony deliver’s the PS5’s 3D Audio, with the format potentially in line for greater availability in the future.
In all likelihood, this approach to sound will be specific to the gaming side of things and that the disc player and video streamer portions of the PS5 could well be Atmos-certified.
Of course, you’ll still need a compatible AV receiver and speaker set-up to truly appreciate the extra dimension of height that Dolby Atmos adds, but if you’ve already got a tasty 5.1.2 system installed or are planning to do so, this would be the icing on the cake.
PlayStation 5: DualSense controller
With each new PlayStation normally comes a new DualShock controller, except this time it doesn’t. Sony has gone to the next level and created the DualSense controller to partner the PS5.
It’s a sleek and modern-looking design with a two-tone finish instead of the standard single hue of the DualShock. Sony has promised that the new controller “will captivate more of your senses as you interact with the virtual worlds in PS5 games. The features of DualSense, along with PS5’s Tempest 3D AudioTech, will deliver a new feeling of immersion to players.”
That added immersion is set to come across primarily through a more evolved sense of touch. Haptics have replaced the rumble technology to create a broader range of more realistic feedback. Players will now get more nuanced sensations such as the slow grittiness of driving a car through mud. The L2 and R2 trigger buttons feature adaptive, programmable resistance so that players can feel more or less tension through certain actions.
DualSense is, of course, wireless. So far, there are no details on how long you get from a single charge but Sony has stressed that it’s tried to maintain strong battery life.
There are a built-in microphone array and speaker, which means players can chat to their friends without the need for a gaming headset, and the ‘Share’ button has been replaced by a new ‘Create’ button. It’s to “create epic gameplay content to share with the world” according to Sony. More details on what that entails are promised closer to launch.
To fit these new components, the style and shape of the new controller have been tweaked. The angle of the hand triggers has been changed and the grip updated too The aim is to make the DualSense still feel light and small. The light bar has also shifted to the sides of the touchpad from its position on top of the DualShock 4, which is a rather pleasing aesthetic if nothing else.
If, for whatever reason, you can’t stand the thing, then the PlayStation 5 should be backwards compatible with the PS4 controller.
PlayStation 5: SSD storage
According to Cerny’s March 2020 PS5 update, an internal SSD was the most requested feature by game developers and, as expected, that’s exactly what the PS5 is confirmed to deliver. According to Cerny, compared to an HDD, it offers 100x faster load speeds which means no load screens, ultra-fast streaming and ultra-fast boot speeds too.
In real terms, streaming is apparently so fast that a game can load all the graphics and textures behind an online player faster that the player can around.
The capacity of the internal SSD has still not yet been revealed (perhaps because there will be multiple options), but Cerny did confirm that storage will be expandable through the addition of third-party M2 SSDs.
The catch is that they will have to fit the dedicated slot and connections of the PS5 and hit a minimum speed so as not to slow down the new PS5 games. Interestingly, Cerny says that no drives so far tested have hit Sony’s minimum spec, but they are expected to do so by the end of the year, and specific recommendations will be offered post-launch.
One thing we do know for sure is that the PS5 will be a more environmentally-friendly games console than the PS4. The Head of Sony Interactive Entertainment, Jim Ryan, revealed a feature called “suspended gameplay” which gets through less power than the current console. If it was used by one million PS5 owners, that would represent a reduction in electricity consumption equivalent to 1000 US households.
PlayStation 5: accessories
As well as revealing the design of the PS5 console itself, Sony used its June PlayStation event to reveal a number of PS5 accessories.
The most interesting of the bunch is undoubtedly the Pulse 3D headset, which we expect Sony to push as the primary way to enjoy the PS5’s new 3D audio. In design terms, it doesn’t look dissimilar to the current Platinum Wireless Headset, albeit with much more matte white on show. Given how good Sony’s last couple of gaming headsets have been, we’ve got high hopes for this new model.
Sony’s also made a reassuringly big deal of its new Media Remote, which looks designed to make using the PS5 as a 4K Blu-ray player and video streamer all the more intuitive.
We’ve also now seen the DualSense Charging Station (for docking and charging two controllers at once) and HD Camera (which is presumably for use with PlayStation VR), and yet more accessories will surely be announced closer to launch.
On top of the official news, a patent that leaked on 5th November 2019 showed sketches of a mystery cartridge that many believe is an expandable SSD storage module for the PS5.
On the one hand memory modules are not new to PlayStation consoles, but having easy slot-in/slot-out external hardware could be a game-changer when talking units of 500GB or more. Rather than just saved game data and other media, it could well offer the storage for game libraries instead.
That frees up the need for buying a PS5 with an enormous hard drive to begin with and could make for a much cheaper console.
PlayStation 5 VR: will the PS5 be PSVR compatible?
Most definitely. Comments from Mark Cerny point towards an even bigger VR push from Sony with the PS5. VR technology is set to be hard designed into the build of the GPU. He didn’t mention whether there would be a PlayStation VR2 headset launched to go with the PS5, though.
Given PSVR is not as strong on the resolution as other headsets such as the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive it could make sense to launch a suitably powerful and impressive next-generation headset with the new console.
One interesting twist is Sony may be working on a 3D hologram accessory for the PS5 for multiplayer games. A light emitter with an eye tracker could project an image directly to the user’s retina to give the impression of a hologram floating in mid-air. Exactly what images Sony has in mind is another thing but you may want to reconsider multiplayer gaming in your pants.
Which PlayStation 5 games have been announced?
After a huge amount of guess-work and speculation, we now have titles for a whole bunch of games that are coming to PS5. Here’s the list of games confirmed during the June PS5 games event:
Astro’s Playroom (Japan Studio)
Demon’s Souls (Bluepoint Games / Japan Studio)
Destruction All Stars (Lucid Games / XDEV)
Gran Turismo 7 (Polyphony Digital)
Horizon Forbidden West (Guerrilla Games)
Marvel’s Spider-Man Miles Morales (Insomniac Games)
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart (Insomniac Games)
Returnal (Housemarque / XDEV)
Sackboy A Big Adventure (Sumo Digital / XDEV)AdvertisementBugsnax (Young Horses)
Ghostwire (Tokyo (Bethesda)
Godfall (Gearbox Publishing / Counterplay Games)
Goodbye Volcano High (KO-OP)
Grand Theft Auto V and Grand Theft Auto Online (Rockstar Games)
Hitman 3 (IO Interactive)
JETT : The Far Shore (Superbrothers)
Kena: Bridge of the Spirits (Ember Lab)
Little Devil Inside (Neostream Interactive)
NBA 2K21 (2K, Visual Concepts)
Oddworld Soulstorm (Oddworld Inhabitants™)
Project Athia (Square Enix/Luminous Productions)
Resident Evil Village (Capcom)
Solar Ash (Annapurna Interactive / Heart Machine)
Stray (Annapurna / Blue Twelve Studio)
Tribes of Midgard (Gearbox Publishing / Norsfell)
The Pathless (Annapurna Interactive / Giant Squid)
These games are all either exclusive to PS5 or will arrive on PS5 before any other console. We are also aware of other games that are on the way, including Assassin’s Creed for PS5.
CD Projekt Red, the developer behind the popular Witcher franchise, has confirmed that its dystopian future game Cyberpunk 2077 is being developed for next-generation consoles, which will doubtless include the PS5.
Other than those, it’s all educated guesswork at the moment. However, there’s plenty of talk around the likes of post-apocalyptic adventure The Last of Us: Part 2, Starfield, a brand new space RPG from Bethesda Studios and, the next instalment of Bethesda fantasy epic, The Elder Scrolls 6.
PlayStation 5 games: will the PS5 be backwards compatible?
‘Incredibly powerful’, that’s how Sony has described the backwards compatibility of the PS5, which is potentially good news for both PS5 owners and PS4 owners who don’t wish to upgrade just yet but still want to play online with their friends that do.
What’s not clear is whether this backwards compatibility will be a blanket implementation, or whether it will only work for certain titles. We’d guess a large number of PS4 titles will be compatible, but it will be hit and miss with older PlayStation games.
One online report suggests that the PlayStation 5 will be able to act as an emulator for PS4, PS3, PS2, and even original PlayStation games but we’ll have to wait to see how much truth there is in that. Fingers crossed.
PlayStation 5 gaming
It’s believed Sony will increase its focus on the subscription-based PlayStation Now cloud gaming platform and its Remote Play feature too.
Microsoft and Sony recently announced that they’re working together on cloud computing technologies, which will almost certainly give a boost to PlayStation Now. Until now the platform has been incomplete as far as top gaming titles go and there have been issues with lag and disconnects.
Sony also filed a patent back in 2014 for a service whereby PlayStation games on the platform could be streamed to user devices other than the console itself; something to rival the upcoming Google Stadia and Microsoft cloud platforms.
Sony is looking to 5G technology to help out while gaming on the move with Remote Play. The service currently allows players to stream games from their consoles to other devices such as tablets, mobiles and the handheld PS Vita. However, this might be bundled in as part of an all-new online platform.
Another interesting part of the connectivity proposal is that it could link players up to a voice assistant. Rumours are that Sony is working on a service which can provide in-game help including whereabouts of game objects as well as hints and tips. If applied with the proper contextual cues, it should be far more efficient than a separate internet search. “Ok, PlayStation. Give me the cheat codes!”
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