PlayStation 5: Everything We Know From The Wired Reveal

Backward compatibility, ray tracing, etc.

This week, Sony executive and PlayStation 4 architect Mark Cerny revealed to Wired the first details of their next-gen console. We assume it’s called the PlayStation 5 (PS5), but the official name has yet to be announced. Here’s what we know about the PS5!

The Specs

Cerny was quoted as saying the PS5 is “no mere upgrade,” and plans for the system’s specs seem to confirm the notion. Here’s what’s inside the new beast.

  • CPU AMD Ryzen 3rd Generation
    • 8 7nm Zen 2 cores
    • 3D audio upgrades from last generation
  • GPU Radeon Navi variant
    • Supports ray tracing
  • Storage special SSD drive

The final point about using a specialized SSD drive instead of the current generation of storage is a notable one. Cerny demonstrated the benefits of the new SSD architecture with Marvel’s Spider-ManWhen using fast-travel to move from one side of the open world map to another, a PS4 Pro took 15 seconds to teleport Peter Parker. With the PS5 (encased in a large silver box), this took 0.8 seconds.

Cerny emphasized the specialized nature of the PS5 SSD. It’s unclear if it uses the current PCIe 4.0 standard, but Cerny says that if you install a SSD into a PS4 Pro today, you’d see a noticeable but ultimately small difference in performance. On the other hand, PS5’s SSD is roughly 19 times faster than the current generation.

Not only does this have far-reaching ramifications for load times, but for player movement and texture loading.

Ray tracing, a technique used to hugely enhance interaction fidelity between rendered 3D objects, is something before now only available to extremely high-end PCs. The PS5, as far as we know, would be the first and only console to achieve this new standard. We speculate that this will cause an increase in the amount of customizing we’ll be able to do on a game by game basis.

The Services

Though Cerny remained quiet about much outside of hardware capabilities, he was able to let slip three important details about the experiences we can expect to have with the PS5. A PSVR sequel or expansion is expected with the new hardware, made even more impressive by the aforementioned hardware in the console.

The increase in audio fidelity via the new CPU chip will allow for a more immersive experience when donning the PSVR headset.

The PS5 will also allow for backward compatibility with the PS4 due to their similar architecture. Death Stranding was used as an example, though Cerny’s body language suggested to Wired that it would be a two-platform release. We can only speculate, but that would make a lot of sense. Backward compatibility has been a sticking point with PlayStation customers for many years. The original PlayStation 3, of course, offered full backward compatibility with PlayStation 2 and PlayStation games.

This feature was removed not long after release. If the PS5 is indeed backward compatible, there’s no need to toss those PS4 physical discs in lieu of a digital copy. The PS5 will accept physical media, despite speculation that the next generation of consoles will be digital only. Even this week, Microsoft announced a disc-less Xbox One S console (SKU is SAD, by the way), which many believe is a sea change for consoles as a whole. Google Stadia, for example, is a totally cloud-based digital package.

Sony isn’t moved. Physical media is staying with them.

So what do you think of the first PS5 details? Exciting? Same old same old? Let us know what you think!

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John Warren

I miss Texas sometimes. Wheelchair person. Professional wrestling is humanity's greatest achievement. He/his, y'all.

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