PlayStation 5

A new report from Wired provides us some of the first confirmed details for the next-generation PlayStation console. Though it's not confirmed to be called "PlayStation 5" we'll do so for the time being until we know otherwise.

The online magazine sat down with Sony's Mark "Knack's Baby Daddy" Cerny to talk about the upcoming Sony hardware. Though a lot of specifics were omitted, we did learn a bunch of tasty new details.

We know that the system will include backwards compatibility with PlayStation 4 games. The system will not ship in 2019. The PlayStation 5 will include a solid sate drive (SSD) to drastically speed up load times and environmental streaming. Interestingly, the type of SSD they are using in the PlayStation 5 seems to be a fair bit faster than most commercially available drives.

To demonstrate, Cerny fires up a PS4 Pro playing Spider-Man, a 2018 PS4 exclusive that he worked on alongside Insomniac Games. . . On the TV, Spidey stands in a small plaza. Cerny presses a button on the controller, initiating a fast-travel interstitial screen. When Spidey reappears in a totally different spot in Manhattan, 15 seconds have elapsed. Then Cerny does the same thing on a next-gen devkit connected to a different TV. (The devkit, an early “low-speed” version, is concealed in a big silver tower, with no visible componentry.) What took 15 seconds now takes less than one: 0.8 seconds, to be exact. . .

On the next-gen console, the camera speeds uptown like it’s mounted to a fighter jet. Periodically, Cerny pauses the action to prove that the surrounding environment remains perfectly crisp.
The PlayStation 5 will also make use of AMD's third-gen Ryzen line for the CPU. The one made for the PS5 will feature eight cores of the 7nm Zen 2 architecture. The GPU will be a custom-built offering from AMD Radeon's Navi lineup. Yes, real-time ray tracing will be included. Cerny also notes that the PlayStation 5 will have support for 8K graphics, a resolution that nearly nobody actually has access to just yet. Hopefully this translates into a machine that can do a guaranteed 1080p 60fps at the very least, and 4K 60fps in most other cases. Of course, higher framerates for lower resolutions would also be incredibly nice to have. Maybe they'll include a 1080p at 120fps mode? Who knows.

There will also be some big improvements to the audio courtesy of a custom 3D audio unit from AMD.

“As a gamer,” he says, “it's been a little bit of a frustration that audio did not change too much between PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4. With the next console the dream is to show how dramatically different the audio experience can be when we apply significant amounts of hardware horsepower to it.”

The result, Cerny says, will make you feel more immersed in the game as sounds come at you from above, from behind, and from the side. While the effect will require no external hardware—it will work through TV speakers and virtual surround sound—he allows that the “gold standard” will be headphone audio.
Interestingly, Cerny notes how ray tracing can actually be utilized to enhance the audio for a game. Instead of simulating light waves as is common, it will also help to simulate sound waves throughout an environment.

Cerny says that "VR is very important to (them)" but added very few additional details as it applies to PlayStation VR. Just know that current PSVR headsets will work on the new console.

We'll naturally have more details on the PlayStation 5 or "next-generation PlayStation console" as they emerge.