Now that the PlayStation 5 reveal event has come and gone, concrete details about the new gaming console are finally public, including its price, release date, and launch lineup. After years filled with newer versions of the PS4 with only slight technical upgrades, such as the PS4 Pro and PS4 Slim, a new system will release during the holiday season of this year. And it won’t be alone: Microsoft is hard at work on a next-generation Xbox, called the Xbox Series X, and the Xbox Series S as well. Which new game console should you buy?
From hardware to games, here’s everything you need to know about Sony’s next console, the PlayStation 5.
Price, pre-orders, and release date
On September 16, Sony finally revealed the price and release date of the PS5 after months of waiting. Both versions — the Standard and Digital Editions — will launch on November 12, 2020, in the United States and Japan, and on November 19 in other territories. This comes just two days after the release of Microsoft’s new Xbox Series X and Series S systems, which will release worldwide on November 10.
As for the PS5’s price, the Standard Edition will be $500, and the Digital Edition will cost $400. The company stated that these prices were set in stone toward the beginning of the year, though many believe Sony was waiting for Microsoft to reveal the prices of the new Xbox systems first. Nonetheless, these prices are competitive and will make it tough to choose a console this holiday.
The pre-order situation is a bit trickier, as many retailers have already sold out of both PS5 systems. Sony did state that we’d have ample warning before pre-orders would go live, but so far, that has not been the case — indeed, pre-orders are an admitted mess. The company sent out pre-order invitations to select PlayStation users, but not everyone received their invites. Sony acknowledged the issues with PlayStation 5 pre-orders and promised to give players more opportunities to secure a console ahead of and after its November 12 release.
Let’s be honest: PS5 preorders could have been a lot smoother. We truly apologize for that.
Over the next few days, we will release more PS5 consoles for preorder – retailers will share more details.
And more PS5s will be available through the end of the year. pic.twitter.com/h1TaGsGBun
— PlayStation (@PlayStation) September 19, 2020
We’ll be getting not one, but two PS5 systems
As we have come to expect from Sony, the company didn’t reinvent the wheel when naming the next PlayStation. It’s called the PlayStation 5, also known as the PS5. With the name, Sony showed it’s taking a true jump into the next generation, rather than a half-step like with the PS4 Pro.
Sony first confirmed that it was actively working on a new console in an interview with the Financial Times. CEO Kenichiro Yoshida confirmed that it is “necessary to have next-generation hardware.” The same Financial Times report said the PS5 wouldn’t be radically different in design than the PS4. This falls in line with what system architect Mark Cerny told Wired during an April 2019 interview. As you’ll find below, Sony’s next console will get a significant upgrade in power.
The interesting thing is that we’ll be getting not one system but two — the Standard Edition, which will read discs, along with the Digital Edition, which will only allow for digital downloads. This is a huge move in the direction of an eventual all-digital future. Not only that, but it offers a more affordable way to get into the next generation.
PlayStation 5 specs
The PS5 console itself is white and black and can be laid vertically or horizontally. Buyers will be able to decide if they want to purchase the digital model or not, assuming the retailers have stock. After pre-orders went live on September 16, 2020, consumers were met with frustration as each retailer quickly sold out of PS5 systems. Hopefully, you’ll have an easier time picking between the two as it gets closer to the system’s release.
In a blog post, Sony said, “The PS5 gameplay experience will be the same, so the choice is all yours. While there are some slight differences in the look of each model, for the overall design, we wanted to deliver a console that’s bold, stunning, and unlike any previous generation of PlayStation.”
The system will have accessories like an HD camera, a media remote, a Pulse 3D wireless headset, and a DualSense charging station that will charge two controllers.
Here are the specs:
390 × 260 × 104
Black and white
8-core, 3.5GHz Custom Zen 2
36 CUs, 10.3 TFLOPS, 2.23GHz
825GB custom SSD
4K UHD Blu-ray drive
Includes USB and NVME slot
November 12, 2020, in the U.S. (November 19 in other territories)
Digital Trends review
In the Wired interview, Mark Cerny revealed that the PS5’s CPU and GPU are AMD chips that will support 3D audio, 8K graphics, and ray tracing, a feature currently found on very powerful PCs. The CPU will be an eight-core chip based on the Ryzen line and use Zen 2 microarchitecture. The GPU will be based on the Radeon Navi line.
So, what details do we know about the chips? In a follow-up interview, Cerny confirmed that the GPU would be capable of hardware-based ray tracing, rather than a software-side solution. The PS5 will also be ditching a hard-disk drive in favor of a solid-state drive with higher bandwidth than those used in current PCs. With the move to an SSD drive, loading times should be reduced significantly when compared to Sony’s latest PS4 model, the PlayStation 4 Pro.
In an investor briefing, Sony shared that content that takes more than eight seconds to load on the PlayStation 4 Pro can be done in less than a second on the next-generation console. It is also rumored to be more powerful than Xbox’s Project Scarlett, but this is currently unconfirmed.
The PlayStation 5 will support Blu-ray discs, as well as digital downloads and game streaming. The console will be equipped with a 4K Blu-ray player, just like the Xbox One S and Xbox One X, and it will use games with a data capacity of 100GB.
To help mitigate installation times brought on by huge file sizes, Sony will make use of the SSD and allow you to install only the parts of games you want to play, such as a competitive multiplayer mode or campaign. Games can also be loaded to specific modes from the dashboard, so you can join your friend in a match without having to go through the entire starting process as you would on games for PS4.
Sony recently showed off the PS5’s internals as part of a teardown video. The video confirmed that the PS5 will include two USB ports on the front — a USB-A and a USB-C — giving you a little more flexibility with how you charge or connect external devices. The back of the system also features two more USB-A ports, along with an Ethernet port. In the video, we also got to see just how easy it is to remove the stand and side panels, which can be done with a flat-head screwdriver. While Sony hasn’t shown off any other official side panels for purchase, many third-party side panels are already showing up ahead of the system’s launch.
Once the side panels are removed, you can look inside the system where you’ll find the memory unit, which is easy to upgrade with an M.2 NVMe PCIe 4.0 SSD. The video also showed off the PS5’s motherboard, its fan, and cooling system. These parts contribute to the PS5’s massive size as one of Sony’s main goals was to ensure the system would not overheat while remaining quiet.
Let’s be clear, the PS5 is basically a gaming PC — and that’s a good thing for gamers.
The next PSVR?
Though Sony has not outright confirmed a successor to the PlayStation VR yet, the company has been clear that it intends to improve on the headset’s design with future iterations. Speaking to CNET at the Collision Conference in Toronto, PlayStation’s global head of R&D Dominic Mallinson said that Sony aims to make future versions of PlayStation VR lighter and less encumbered by wires. There may even be a completely wireless version released in addition to a more traditional model, with the wireless version costing more.
The CNET report also said PlayStation is considering using eye-tracking technology in its headset. This is something we’ve seen in premium headsets like the Vive Pro, and it would make way for more sensitive and intuitive control schemes in virtual reality (VR) games.
The PlayStation VR successor will likely not be ready to launch alongside the PS5 itself, particularly because the original headset will be compatible with the new system. When it does arrive, Sony is planning on using a different controller than the PS3-era PlayStation Move. With the Vive and Oculus ecosystems both making use of touch controls, Sony could be using finger-tracking technology on a new controller. If a patent filing is indicative of final designs, the controller could feature multiple sensors and will be adjustable based on hand sizes.
Cloud gaming will be possible on the PS5, though the exact extent of this remains unknown. The PlayStation Now subscription service makes game streaming possible on legacy Sony consoles as well, but Sony will face stiff competition. Microsoft plans to test its Project xCloud service later this year, and Google has unveiled Stadia, a streaming service designed to combine the best elements of game players, developers, and content creators.
In its May 2019 investors briefing, Sony shared that it has a three-point approach to game distribution in its next-generation system: Blu-ray discs, downloads, and streaming. For streaming, it is focusing on doing so “with or without a console.” Most curiously, Sony recently announced a partnership with Microsoft on cloud technology, which will be used both for video game content and artificial intelligence.
Microsoft’s announcement said that it will be exploring the use of its Azure data centers for Sony’s own game streaming services. The company has more than 50 data centers globally, which is more than triple the number currently being used for PlayStation Now.
We know Sony wishes to further invest in mobile platforms for PlayStation Now, which could ultimately lead to something similar to what Microsoft has planned for Project xCloud. PlayStation Now will support at least 1080p resolution in the future, and its 5Mbps requirement is far below that of Google Stadia.
The DualShock 4 did its job this generation, but it felt like an iterative step from the PlayStation 3’s DualShock 3, with the two main updates coming in a more ergonomic shape and a new touchpad button. The new controller is called the DualSense and will be the biggest update Sony’s given its proprietary controllers in years.
Speaking to Wired, Sony said that the new controller would feature a larger-capacity battery, which should help to alleviate the battery life issues that have plagued the DualShock 4 for the last generation. The controller will use an “adaptive trigger” that offers different resistance based on the activity you’re doing in a game, and the new haptic feedback replaces traditional rumble. It’s capable of providing feedback to the analog sticks, meaning it will feel different to walk on mud versus snow or grass.
The button layout is similar, however, with Share and Options buttons still located on both sides of the touchpad. The LED light bar moves from the top of the controller to the touchpad to give it a larger look and feel. Sony said the controller is a “radical departure from our previous controller offerings and captures just how strongly we feel about making a generational leap with PS5.”
Sony confirmed that the PlayStation 5 will be backward compatible with PS4 and PSVR games. This will not include PS3, Ps2, or PS1 games, but will include nearly every PS4 title. The reason for this, Cerny cited, was the PS5 and PS4’s similar architecture. Sony later said it planned to use backward compatibility to help players transition into the next-generation system from the PS4. Recently, Sony released a list of PS4 games that will not work on PS5, and thankfully, it’s short. The list is as follows:
- Afro Samurai 2 Revenge of Kuma Volume One
- TT Isle of Man — Ride on the Edge 2
- Just Deal With It!
- Shadow Complex Remastered
- Robinson: The Journey
- We Sing
- Hitman Go: Definitive Edition
- Joe’s Diner
Every other PS4 game (perhaps with the exception of the P.T. demo) will work on PS5, though not all of them will include next-gen enhancements. At least you can rest easy knowing your purchases and digital downloads will still be available when you transition to the next generation.
At the recent PS5 showcase, we also learned of the PS Plus Collection — an additional component to PlayStation Plus. It will allow PS5 users to download and play the most defining PS4 games, such as Uncharted 4, Persona 5, Bloodborne, The Last of Us: Remastered, God of War, and more. This means PS5 players will already have a huge library of games to play on day one, provided they are PS Plus members.
No information on a potential PSVR 2 has been released, but the PS5 will support the current headset. This means that instead of needing to keep your PS4 and PS5, you could trade in or sell your earlier system. Also, Sony recently filed a patent for a finger-tracking controller with sensors that could potentially be for the system.
“This controller device is worn on the hand of a user and includes: a plurality of sensor units that detect the fingers of the user; and a sensor support part that supports the sensor units,” the patent description reads. “The sensor support part supports the sensor units so that the distance between adjacent sensor units can be changed.”
PlayStation 5 games
Now that we’re only a couple of months away from the launch of the PS5, we have a much better idea of what to expect from its library of games. And luckily, there will be no shortage of them to play. A slew of PS5 games will launch on day one and beyond, including Final Fantasy XVI, a God of War sequel, Horizon 2: Forbidden West, and a lot more.
The Witcher 3‘s developer, CD Projekt Red, is hard at work on its next epic, Cyberpunk 2077. At a 2018 conference in Bergen, the studio heads gave a presentation about the game, which included a slide with the phrase, “Rich, true-to-life visuals built on current and next-generation technology.” That could mean a lot of things, of course, but one could interpret that as a nod to the fact that they are simultaneously developing the game for both current- and next-generation consoles, of which the PS5 would have to be one.
We do know that the game is expected to launch on PS4 in late 2020. We also received confirmation of numerous launch titles for the PS5, including the Demon’s Souls remake, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Godfall, Astro’s Playroom (pre-installed), and Sackboy: A Big Adventure. Destruction All-Stars was supposed to be a launch game, but has now shifted to February 2021, when it’ll be released as a PS Plus game.
Similarly, Gran Turismo 7 will also launch for PS5 at an unannounced date. On a studio tour, the game’s developer, Polyphony Digital, told Finder.com that new cars take so long to develop because they are “building for future versions of the console rather than the one we see today.”
It has also been reported that the majority of Sony’s own internal development teams have shifted their focus to the PlayStation 5. Industry analyst Daniel Ahmad said that “most” of Sony’s teams were now on the unannounced system, and that it was possible that certain games developed for PlayStation 4 could also see a release on PlayStation 5. Because the system will be backward compatible, Sony could also simply market the PlayStation 4 releases alongside the PlayStation 5, and it recommitted to The Last of Us: Part II, Ghost of Tsushima, and Death Stranding releasing on PS4 during its May 2019 investors briefing.
During the same briefing, the technical demonstration to show off the new console’s capabilities used Spider-Man as an example. Though it was showing an identical game comparison between the new console and the PS4 Pro to highlight the newer system’s faster loading sequences, it’s possible the game could be getting an enhanced version.
Don’t expect Sony to stop its games-as-a-service initiative, despite the PlayStation brand’s reputation for single-player games. The briefing touched on “improving competence” in this area, with the MLB: The Show series highlighted as an example. Currently, American players spend more cash on the game than on any other sports title.
In keeping with the “One Sony” model the company is using as a whole, expect PlayStation 5 games to rely more heavily on Sony-produced soundtracks. Sony will also be working with its own artists to bring more VR content to the system.
Bethesda Softworks appears to be one of the game companies most open about its ambition to release upcoming games on next-generation systems. Speaking to Eurogamer at the Gamelab conference in Spain, Bethesda game director Todd Howard revealed that the science-fiction game Starfield will be next-generation in both hardware and software. Given that Bethesda is releasing Starfield before The Elder Scrolls VI, which it also announced at E3 2018, there’s very little doubt that The Elder Scrolls VI will also release on PlayStation 5.
Finally, a new IP called Godfall was announced at The Game Awards 2019. It will be an action game based in a universe in which knights fight heavenly forces. It’ll also have (surprise!) a heavy focus on loot and progression.
Here are all the confirmed titles so far (games in bold will be available as launch titles):
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
Dragon Age 4
Hood: Outlaws and Legends
NBA Live 21
Sackboy: A Big Adventure
Dying Light 2
Horizon: Forbidden West
Observer: System Redux
The Elder Scrolls Online
Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One
Far Cry 6
Immortals: Fenyx Rising
JETT: The Far Shore
Overcooked: All You Can Eat
Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War
Final Fantasy VII Remake
Just Dance 2021
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League
Final Fantasy XVI
Kena: Bridge of Spirits
Little Devil Inside
Tribes of Midgard
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
Planet Coaster: Console Edition
Unknown 9: Awakening
The Lord of the Rings: Gollum
Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2
Goodbye Volcano High
Vampire the Masquerade – Swansong
Demon’s Souls Remake
Rainbow Six: Quarantine
Watch Dogs: Legion
Gran Turismo 7
Rainbow Six Siege
The Witcher III: Wild Hunt
Grand Theft Auto V
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition
Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales
Resident Evil: Village
Yakuza: Like a Dragon
Mortal Kombat 11
PS5’s user interface
We recently got a look at the PS5’s user interface in the form of a short, 11-minute video from Sony (which you can watch above). Thankfully, it seems to be an upgraded version of the UI available on the PS4, which has become slow and clunky over the years. Aside from the PS5’s UI doubling down on speed and ease of use, it also comes packing with many new features. The most noticeable change comes with the UI’s card system, displaying a bunch of information about the games you’re playing (or following). The cards show news about the games you’re following, your collection of screenshots, activities that show your progress in-game, and an estimate of how much time it will take to complete those goals.
One of the other features shown off is the system’s in-game guide system, which can show a video of how to complete certain objectives. This seems like something that might be implemented on a developer-by-developer basis, so don’t count on skipping out on visiting sites like ours for help. Sony will also be focusing on sharing with others, as evidenced by the easy picture-in-picture mode that allows you to watch your friends’ games while still playing your own.
The PS5’s home screen was shown off and while it resembles the PS4’s, it seems a lot cleaner, with an emphasis on speed. One of the biggest improvements comes with the PS Store, which is now integrated into the home screen instead of as its own app. If you’ll recall on PS4, trying to boot up the PS Store is clunky and takes way longer than it should, so we look forward to how snappy it’ll be with Sony’s new system. Not everything about the UI was shown off, but it seems to be a massive improvement from the PS4.
It could be the last PlayStation system
Game streaming services could replace traditional consoles in the future, at least if you ask Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot. Speaking to Variety, Guillemot expressed his belief that there will “one more console generation” before the industry completely moves to a streaming-only model.
Guillemot added that this technology would become more accessible to more players over time. Still, with the loss of net neutrality and data caps in place at many internet service providers, the market for a traditional console with physical media is still strong.