First PlayStation 5 real-time gameplay looks absolutely amazing

Epic showcases the first-ever real-time PS5 gameplay with an Unreal Engine 5 tech demo that pushes 8K textures.

1 minute & 51 seconds read time

Today Epic Games announced Unreal Engine 5, a new toolset that's specifically optimized for next-gen consoles, and debuted the first-ever PlayStation 5 gameplay.

The new Unreal Engine 5 footage is a tech demo, but it showcases what the PlayStation 5 can do. And the results are stunning. The footage is amazingly technical and has a cinematic quality, using 8K textures via virtual texturing in the new high-end geometry polygon technology called Nanite. And it's all fully playable with live code on a PS5 devkit.

The demo runs over a billion polygons in every frame that are condensed into 20 million triangles per frame, and the demo clocks in at hundreds of billions of triangles. Epic says Nanite allows for limitless geometry and photorealistic visuals and allows devs to get to the sub-pixel level of quality and adequately portray the original high-end cinematic-quality assets that were scanned, all without any LoD or texture pop-ins.

Unreal Engine 5's new Lumen tech allows for next-gen lighting effects and global illumination, complete with dynamic lighting that reacts and bounces off of surfaces in real-time. The tech also reacts to changes in geometry--light from the surface will bounce through holes created by falling rocks, for example.

First PlayStation 5 real-time gameplay looks absolutely amazing 23First PlayStation 5 real-time gameplay looks absolutely amazing 24

Other effects and new enhancements include:

  • Sound improvements - Sound field rendering is another new trick, and lets developers capture spatial audio and play it back during specific scenes. This will create much more immersion in PS5 games.
  • Next-gen water - New adjustments in the Niagara effects system allow more freedom in how particles interact, allowing for more dynamic environments. Water is also next-gen thanks to beefed up fluid simulations.
  • Chaos system - UE5's Chaos physics system has been tweaked to make interactions more realistic
  • Animation - Epic boosted UE5's animation system with advanced warp techniques and seamless contextual animation events

"Lumen in the Land of Nanite" - a real-time demonstration running live on PlayStation 5 showcasing two new core technologies that will debut in UE5: Nanite virtualized micropolygon geometry, which frees artists to create as much geometric detail as the eye can see, and Lumen, a fully dynamic global illumination solution that immediately reacts to scene and light changes."

Remember this is a tech demo, not an actual game. But it does showcase what the PlayStation 5's higher-end 3.5GHz Zen 2 CPU, 10TFLOP 2.23GHz Navi 2X GPU, 16GB of GDDR6 RAM, and 5.5GB/sec PCIe 4.0 SSD is capable of.

The engine will be out in 2021, so don't expect launch PS5 games to utilize this tech.


Derek joined the TweakTown team in 2015 and has since reviewed and played 1000s of hours of new games. Derek is absorbed with the intersection of technology and gaming, and is always looking forward to new advancements. With over six years in games journalism under his belt, Derek aims to further engage the gaming sector while taking a peek under the tech that powers it. He hopes to one day explore the stars in No Man's Sky with the magic of VR.

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