Sony has been holding back some big PS5 surprises, and SIE president Jim Ryan teases the console's most differentiating features have yet to be revealed.
Sony's actually revealed quite a bit about the PlayStation 5 already. The next-gen PS5's most dramatic jump over the PS4 is raw graphical and compute power and blinding-fast loading speeds, both of which are made possible by a powerful new Navi GPU- and Zen 2 CPU-outfitted SoC and custom SSD storage. On paper, the PS5 is similar to the Xbox Series X in terms of functionality.
But apparently there's a lot more to the PlayStation 5. Sony Interactive Entertainment president Jim Ryan hints the best is yet to come, and the PS5 will have "special appeals" not found in any other system.
"Each time a new console is released, the processor and graphics improve. Those are enticing, but we need to have special appeals as well. We have already confirmed the use of an solid state drive. Having load times that are next to nothing is a major change," Sony Interactive Entertainment president Jim Ryan told Business Insider Japan (translated by Gematsu).
"There are still more unique elements for PlayStation 5 to come that separate it from previous consoles. The bigger differences have yet to be announced."
So far Sony has confirmed the following PlayStation 5 features (leaks and other unconfirmed spec info is farther along in the article):
- Custom AMD SoC with Navi GPU (RDNA) and 8-core, 16 thread Zen 2 CPU
- Ray tracing support for improved lighting effects
- Custom ultra-fast SSD
- 8K gaming support
- Backwards compatibility with PS4 games
- 3D audio support
- New DualShock 5 with improved haptic feedback
So...what's better than zero loading times, higher-end console gaming with expanded frame rates, and 4K-8K resolution support? Honestly we don't know. It'll be hard to top the PS5's current spec sheet and impressive details, but one thing that stands out is backward compatibility.
Backward compatibility is massive for PS5
The PS4 launched without PS3 backward compatibility and was a sore spot for Sony. Instead, PS3 games were streamed to the PS4 via PlayStation Now, but not a lot of people signed up. I've said many times backward compatibility is immensely important for the PS5.
Sony could go further though. Reports say the PlayStation 5 could be retro-compatible and play every console generation from PS1, PS2, and PS3 games onward. The PS5 could even natively play old-school game discs too.
Then there's claims that every playable PlayStation game could be enhanced on the PlayStation 5 under the misleading nomenclature of a "remastering engine."
We think this is far less likely, but it's possible the PS5 sports a Boost Mode that upscales any supported game while tightening up frame rates. PlayStation 4 games are likely to see more dramatic enhancements on the PS5 though, and we could even see developers update existing current-gen games with ray tracing and optimize them for the new SSD tech.
Leaked info suggests the PS5 has three separate GPU profiles optimized for next-gen and backward compatibility. Two of the profiles downscale the PS5's GPU to natively emulate the PS4 and PS4 Pro.
The unverified PS5 GPU modes include:
- Gen2 mode - Fully unlocks the Navi GPU at 2GHz for next-gen games
- Gen1 mode - Downscales the GPU to 911MHz, 218GB/sec bandwidth, and 64 ROPs to emulate the PS4 Pro
- Gen0 mode - Drops the GPU to 800MHz with 176GB/sec bandwidth and 32 ROPs to emulate the base PS4
It's possible existing PS4 games could run in Gen2 mode and take advantage of aforementioned new features like variable rate shading, ray tracing, native 4K textures, and of course the loading time-destroying SSD.
Other than backward compatibility, Ryan is probably referring to details like:
- Exact GPU and CPU specifications (compute units, clock speeds, etc)
- Ray tracing and variable rate shading specifics (lighting effects and new FPS optimization techniques to boost frame rates in-game)
- More demonstrations on flexible SSD tech (raw speeds, unique functionalities like using SSD as a cache for Virtual RAM)
- RAM info (GDDR6, bus, etc)
- New services info
For now we'll just have to wait and speculate what kind of special sauce Sony is brewing up in its hardware kitchens.
Sony is expected to reveal the PS5 in a special event in February 2020. The console will release in Holiday 2020, and it may cost $499.
PlayStation 5 specs and details:
- Custom SoC with second-gen Navi GPU, Zen 2 CPU
- 8-Core, 16-thread Zen 2 CPU at 3.2GHz
- Navi GPU at 2.0GHz with 36 Compute Units
- Navi, Zen SoC uses new AMD RDNA 2.0 architecture
- Ultra-fast SSD
- Support for 4K 120 Hz TVs
- Ray-tracing enabled
- 8K output support (for gaming)
- Plays all PS4 games
- Separate games that ship on BD-XL Blu-ray discs
- New controller with extensive haptic and tactile feedback
PlayStation 5 Coverage:
- A $399 PlayStation 5 will conquer next-gen
- PlayStation 5 to outsell Xbox Series X in 2020, analyst predicts
- PS5 may only enhance PS4 games, legacy PS1, PS2 and PS3 games unlikely
- PlayStation 5 prototype dev kit console gets V-shaped clean
- PlayStation 5 GPU emulates PS4, PS4 Pro with special modes
- Sony: The future is coming at CES 2020
- PlayStation 5 GPU: 9.2 TFLOPs with 36 custom Navi compute units
- PlayStation 5 GPU emulates PS4, PS4 Pro with special modes
- PS5, Xbox Series X SSD may use software-defined flash to boost speeds
- PS5's SSD is 'exceptionally powerful,' may beat Xbox Series X speeds
- DualShock 5 renders show new trigger design, USB-C, ergonomic shell
- PlayStation 5 to support 8K gaming, Sony confirms
- New PlayStation 5 renders show off radical different design, again
- Leaked PlayStation 5 ad prices console at $1,000, is totally fake
- Sony seeks a new Head of Strategy for Worldwide Studios
- Leaked PlayStation 5 devkit photos show new DualShock controller
- PS5, Xbox Scarlett SSD may use Optane-like ReRAM to supercharge speeds
- NVIDIA G-Sync monitors to improve PlayStation 5 and Xbox Scarlett
- PlayStation 5: Everything We Know So Far
- PlayStation 5 confirmed to have 8C/16T Zen 2 CPU from AMD
- PS5, Project Scarlett may use Samsung's 6th gen V-NAND NVMe SSDs
- PS5 backward compatibility confirmed, will play PS4 games
- Sony's next-gen PlayStation 5 has 4K 120Hz output support
- PS5, Project Scarlett to hit over 10TFLOPs of power, sources say
- PS4 will be supported into 2022, to live alongside PS5
- Sony: ultra-high-speed SSD is 'the key' to next-gen PS5
- PS5 dev kit rumor: 'ultra-fast RAM', Navi GPU with 13 TFLOPs
- PlayStation 5 rumored to ship with 2TB of super-fast SSD for $499
- Insider: PlayStation 5 dev kit faster than Xbox Scarlett right now
- PS5 cartridges aren't real, patents are for Sony kids toys
- PS5's SSD may benefit PS4 games the most
- PS5 powered by Navi in 2020, AMD making Navi with Sony input
- Cloud-powered PlayStation controller may let you play free game demos
- Gran Turismo 7 is a PlayStation 5 launch title: launches Nov 20, 2020
- PS5 confirmed to support 8K video, ray tracing, all on Navi
- PlayStation 5 rumored to cost $499, launches November 20, 2020
- PlayStation game demos are coming back with Sony's ambitious new plan
- PS5 controller: Built-in mic, USB-C, no lightbar, ergonomic design
- PlayStation 5 concept video shows totally new design
- Sony solves PS5's biggest issue
- Sony: PS5 development going according to plan
- New Viking Assassin's Creed may be next-gen console launch game
- AMD working on 'secret sauce' for next-gen Xbox/PlayStation
- The first real photo of a PlayStation 5 dev kit appears
- Next-gen PS5/Xbox Scarlett open-world game: 'best real-time graphics'
- Sony restructures workforce to prepare for PS5
- PlayStation VR 2: built-in cameras, wireless, ready for PS5
- PS5 games will ship on 100GB Blu-ray BDXL discs
- PS5 and Xbox Scarlett will both handle ray tracing differently
- PlayStation 5 could feature AI-powered 'PlayStation Assist'
- Sony won't abandon singleplayer story-driven games on PS5
- PS5 rumor: GPU is nearly as powerful as RTX 2080, GPU clocked at 2GHz
- PlayStation 5 rumored to be unveiled on February 12, 2020
- Sony to raise PS5 cost thanks to U.S. tariffs
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