PlayStation's next console will have an SSD, feature ray tracing, and more

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Sony is gearing up for the PlayStation 4's eventual successor. While development on the PlayStation 4's successor has likely be...

Sony is gearing up for the PlayStation 4's eventual successor.

While development on the PlayStation 4's successor has likely been going on for years, Sony has officially confirmed that it's in the works. Here's everything we know about it so far.

The latest information

We'll keep this article up to date with any new information that comes out regarding the PlayStation 5. We'll try to stay away from unsubstantiated rumors, but we will occasionally update this with speculation from industry analysts or quotes from developers teasing future hardware.

April 16, 2019 — PS5 will include an SSD, support ray tracing, and more

PlayStation's Mark Cerny spoke exclusively with Wired to detail what fans can expect from the upcoming next-generation console. Though he did not refer to it as the PlayStation 5, it's a good bet that that will be its name.

Cerny is of course the lead architect on the PS4, so it makes sense that he would lead the design of the PS5. According to him, the CPU will be based on AMD's third generation Ryzen line, with eight cores of the new new 7nm Zen 2 microarchitecture. It will also apparently include a custom unit for 3D audio. The GPU, which is a a custom variant of Radeon's Navi family, will support ray tracing, and this is a huge win for Sony. Ray tracing is a rendering technique that models how light travels and interacts with virtual objects. Wired notes that this is something Hollywood employs in big budget movies, but it has not made its way to any video games consoles yet.

Ray tracing doesn't just deliver visual benefits, though, according to Cerny. "If you wanted to run tests to see if the player can hear certain audio sources or if the enemies can hear the players' footsteps, ray tracing is useful for that," he said. "It's all the same thing as taking a ray through the environment."

The crème de la crème is that the PS5 will come packed with an SSD as opposed to an HDD. SSDs are historically more powerful, faster, and make for a much better gaming experience. Cerny demonstrated what took 15 seconds to fast travel in Spider-Man on PS4 took only 0.8 seconds on a next-gen devkit.

What about PSVR? Well, Cerny would not comment on PlayStation's upcoming VR plans other than saying that "VR is very important to us and that the current PSVR headset is compatible with the new console."

And no need to worry about backward compatibility. Cerny confirmed that since the next-generation console is based in part on the PS4's architecture, you will be able to play your PS4 games on it. Yes, even if you have physical discs. The PS5 will not be a digital-only machine.

If you were hoping for a release date, you'll be disappointed. Cerny repeatedly said that the next-generation console won't be hitting stores this year. He did not provide a window as to when we could expect it.

February 9, 2019

A new patent may indicate that the PlayStation 5 will support backward compatibility. Filed all the way back in 2017, the patent was recently published by Sony last week. The patent details a method for newer hardware to register when it is running legacy software from older devices. Though the patent does not reference the PlayStation 5, nor any specific hardware for that matter, Mark Cerny, lead architect on the PS4, is listed at this patent's inventor.

The Xbox One already has remarkable backward compatibility support, and it's something that PlayStation fans have been asking Sony for for the past few years. If Sony wants to stay relevant, it's certainly the type of technology the company wants to invest in.

January 9, 2019

Do we have any solid facts about the PlayStation 5 yet? Unfortunately, no. And since Sony is skipping E3 2019 this year, we may have to wait until another official event from the company takes place. While it appears that it's too early for Sony to play their cards, that's not stopping industry analysts from giving their takes on what they believe the next-generation PlayStation hardware will entail.

According to Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter and another report from Kotaku, we may not be seeing the PlayStation 5 until 2020 despite job listings indicating a potential release this year.

Speaking with Variety, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said that he believes mainstream consoles may only have one generation left before they make way for streaming services.

"I think we will see another generation, but there is a good chance that step-by-step we will see less and less hardware," Guillemot said. "With time, I think streaming will become more accessible to many players and make it not necessary to have big hardware at home.

"There will be one more console generation and then after that, we will be streaming, all of us."

Though previous reports stated that the PS5 would not be a drastic departure from its predecessor's architecture, indicating that streaming capabilities wouldn't be a strong focus, multiple developers have spoken about next-generation hardware being streaming friendly. Sony even put up a job listing recently for a software engineer on its Cloud gaming team.

And if Sony wants to keep with the times, the PS5 could be backward compatible as well.

What form will it take?

Despite Microsoft's rumored plans to create two separate next-gen Xbox consoles, one specifically designed for streaming through the power of the Cloud, Sony appears to be going the traditional route compared to its competition. According to a report from the Financial Times, sources familiar with Sony's plans have stated that the future console "might not represent a major departure from the PS4, and that the fundamental architecture would be similar."

This indicates that Sony may not be working on a streaming platform, though the future does look to be more streaming-friendly as internet speeds and connections improve around the world.

From an interview with Wired, we now know that the PS5 will be backward compatible and players will be able to use physical media with it.

Specs

Sony's Mark Cerny revealed that the PS5 will contain a CPU based on AMD's third generation Ryzen line, with eight cores of the new new 7nm Zen 2 microarchitecture; a GPU—a custom variant of Radeon's Navi family—that will support ray tracing; and come with an SSD instead of an HDD. Aside from that, we don't yet know the exact specs.

What will it be named?

The likely answer is simple: PlayStation 5. However, Sony has declined to comment on an official name of any sort. For now, what we know that it will be the successor to the PS4.

There was some speculation that its codename internally at Sony is Erebus, following the naming conventions of Greek-themed codenames for some of the company's previous products, but an Epic employee struck this rumor down by stating that Erebus was simply their codename for the Switch version of Fortnite in Unreal Engine 4 before it was announced.

What will it cost?

Again, we don't know for sure, but it's safe to say likely over $400 given the technology that may be utilized and the prices of previous hardware.

When will it release?

The PlayStation 5 has no definitive launch date, but people are expecting it within the next few years. According to Mark Cerny, it won't be 2019, despite previous speculation.

There was speculation that a release could come as early as 2019 based on a job listing from Infinity Ward. According to LinkedIn, the company is looking to hire an Associate Game Designer for an "unannounced next-gen title." Call of Duty fans will note that next year's Call of Duty release should be coming from Infinity Ward if the series' studio development pattern holds true. This is leading many to believe that the next year's Call of Duty will be a next-gen title. This, of course, is making the assumption that Infinity Ward—if the studio is indeed developing next year's Call of Duty for next-gen systems—will release both current-gen and next-gen versions simultaneously, and assuming that this is referring to Call of Duty and not some other project entirely.

Thurrott reports that Microsoft is planning to release the next-generation Xbox in 2020. Plans can change, but if true, Sony will stick with a similar time frame.

Updated April 2019: PlayStation's Mark Cerny has detailed what to expect from the next-generation console, which should include an SSD, support ray tracing, and more.



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