PS5 (or PlayStation 5) is the next-generation PlayStation, releasing in late 2020, after a long and incredible decade that saw Sony emerge as the clear winner in the home console wars in the eyes of many (sorry Xbox).
So what do we know about the PS5 so far? The hysteria started in early 2019, when Mark Cerny, the chief architect on Sony’s next console, confirmed that the company was working on the successor to the PS4 Slim and PS4 Pro.
We wouldn’t get the official name or release date until much later, but Cerny did shed some light on the next-gen console’s capabilities, revealing that it would retain a disc drive, and would have something to do with Sony’s game streaming ambitions; other than that there was little else to go on.
Since then, Sony has been feeding us juicy tidbits such as an official PS5 release window, logo, name and a few key details about features. According to Sony, the PS5 still has big surprises to come – but it won’t be revealing them at E3 2020, as the company has confirmed it won’t be attending this year, again.
That’s not to say we won’t see the PS5 anytime soon – the official PS5 website is now live, further fueling rumors that Sony is planning a PS5 reveal event in the near future, although this hasn’t been confirmed.
In addition, we’ve had some surprising leaks, in the form of a Sony-registered patent that seems to show off the PS5’s general shape, button inputs, and cooling vents – this was confirmed to be the PS5 dev kit in a leaked photo. However, we expect the end product design will be different for the PlayStation 5’s official launch later in the year.
Sony can only keep the finer details of the next-generation PlayStation a secret for so much longer – especially with Microsoft having officially unveiled the Xbox Series X, and a number of notable features like quick-loading games and Smart Delivery that allows gamers to play the “best possible version” of an Xbox game, no matter the platform. But between the rumored specs, likely next-gen titles, and official features we are aware of, there’s plenty to keep us busy for now.
Here’s everything we know about the PS5 so far – and what we hope will be revealed the closer we get to launch.
[UPDATE: Turns out, the PS5 and Xbox Series X could use the same AMD RDNA 2 technology for 4K ray-tracing, a feature Sony has confirmed in the past. Read on to find out more.]
PS5: key facts
- What is it? The Sony PS5 is the next-gen PlayStation console, replacing the PS4 Slim and PS4 Pro.
- When will it release? “Holiday 2020” in the US, says Sony, so between October and December 2020.
- What can I play on it? Only a few titles have been confirmed, but expect all of Sony’s big franchises, as well as in-development exclusives like Ghost of Tsushima.
- Will PS5 have VR? Oh yes. The next-gen console will be compatible with current PSVR hardware, and there are also rumors of PSVR 2.
- What will the PS5 cost? The PS4 and PS4 Pro were both $399 / £349 at launch, but we expect the PS5 will cost somewhat more. Leaks have suggested around the $499 mark.
- Can I play PS4 games on the PS5? The PS5 will definitely be backwards compatible with “almost all” PS4 games – earlier generations are still to be confirmed.
PS5 release date
Sony has officially confirmed that the PS5 will release “in time for Holiday 2020” in the US, so likely some time between October and December 2020. A leak has suggested that the release date will be November 20, 2020 but that’s yet to be confirmed – but it’s in the right window, and it would leave time before Christmas to get those orders in.
This would put the PlayStation 5 in direct competition with Microsoft’s Xbox Series X (formerly Xbox Project Scarlett), which is releasing during the same period. Game on.
However, there have been rumors that the coronavirus will delay the release date. But we don’t think that’s likely.
We’re expecting to find out the PlayStation 5’s release date when the next-gen console is officially revealed. Hopefully we won’t be waiting long, as a launch event seems imminent. Read on to find out why.
Sony hasn’t officially confirmed a PS5 price yet and, according to the company, that’s because it hasn’t actually decided how much the next-gen console will cost.
In a quarterly earnings call (via Spiel Times), Sony’s chief financial officer Hiroki Totoki revealed the company still hasn’t nailed down the PS5 price.
“What is not very clear or visible is because we are competing in the space, so it’s very difficult to discuss anything about the price at this point of time, and depending upon the price level, we may have to determine the promotion that we are going to deploy and how much costs we are prepared to pay,” Totoki explained.
“First, we must absolutely control the labour cost, the personnel cost, it must be controlled, and the initial ramp up, how much can we prepare initially, we will work on the production and the sales and we will have to prepare the right volume as we launch this,” Totoki continued.
“It’s a balancing act it’s very difficult to say anything concrete at this point of time,” Totoki said. But we do know that Sony is aiming for “the best balance so that we will be profitable in the life, during the life of this product.”
While Sony may not have a price nailed down, there have been rumors about how much the PS5 could cost. One such rumor has suggested that the console will cost $499 in North America when it launches.
Naturally this should be treated with skepticism, but it would be welcome news if the console did launch at this price, as it’s only $100 more than the launch price of the PS4 and PS4 Pro.
However, a report in Bloomberg suggests that the rising costs of DRAM and NAND flash memory parts – crucial for the smooth functioning of the console’s onboard processor, and also in high demand for new smartphone releases – makes balancing the books for the PS5 retail price difficult, and that Sony may even be putting off its pricing decision to figure out what cost to put on consumers.
The report states that manufacturing costs are expected to hit $450 per console unit – around £350 / AU$670. That makes it highly likely the RRP will start above that, not lower than £470, and probably closer to the $499 price tag that the Xbox One (and Xbox One X) first launched with.
Microsoft’s plans for the Xbox Series X are key here, as Sony could well decide to sell the hardware at a slight loss to stay competitive with the other console. The PS4 benefited from a lower cost than the Xbox One, and Sony likely won’t be keen to reverse that for this generation.
We can expect that the console’s price will be in line with the technology it uses, but Sony will also have to be aware of its competition. It’s unlikely, with the Xbox Series X, that Microsoft will repeat the mistake it made by launching the Xbox One at a prohibitively high price point, so Sony will have to ensure that it doesn’t make a similar mistake by making the PS5 too expensive.
When it comes to the PS5 and Xbox Series X, players see ‘affordable price’ as the most important factor according to a Twitter poll by Mortal Kombat co-creator Ed Boon. Boon asked Twitter users what the most important thing was for them when it comes to next-gen consoles.
The poll received a total of 50,295 responses, with a 37.5% majority of users saying ‘affordable price’ was the most important factor. ‘Plays last-gen games’ (AKA backwards compatibility) came second with 30%, ‘better graphics’ received 19.2% of votes, while ‘exclusive games’ was the least important with just 13.2% of votes.
It’s worth noting that a Twitter poll isn’t exactly reflective of the overall player base, especially as it’s unlikely younger players will be on the platform. So, while this poll can be useful as a steer, the reality is likely to be a lot more complex. Regardless, we expect price to be a key factor in whether players pick up a PS5 or Xbox Series X – even if it’s not the most important.
- Bespoke 8-core AMD chipset (based on third-generation Ryzen architecture and with Navi GPU)
- SSD storage system
- Backwards compatibility with PS4 games and PSVR hardware
- 3D audio
- 8K TV support
So what is the PS5 packing under the hood? We don’t know a huge amount about the PlayStation 5’s specs, but here’s what we do know.
That AMD one-two punch of CPU and GPU unlocks the powers of ray tracing, an advanced lighting technique that can bring next-level immersion to gaming visuals. It’s Hollywood tech that’s used in big-budget CGI spectacles, putting into context the levels of visual fidelity you can expect from the PS5.
Ray tracing is enabled by GPU hardware rather than software level, Mark Cerny told Wired. “There is ray tracing acceleration in the GPU hardware,” he explained.
Sony has confirmed that the PS5 will support 8K gaming, and we think AMD SmartShift could be the secret sauce that makes this possible.
With 8K TV support comes far more detailed textures, and much larger-scale ones at that. The news of a bespoke SSD drive will be heartening then – just because the games will be getting more complex, that doesn’t mean they’ll be slower to load. It’s estimated that the new SSD is 19 times faster than traditional SSD storage methods (but given the speed difference between the SSD and the optical drive, installation of games will be mandatory).
Not only that, but by harnessing the power of the SSD, developers could potentially reduce the install sizes of games because, as Cerny told Wired, “there is no need to duplicate data to compensate for slow seek times that optical drives and HDDs have”.
The PS5 will benefit from simplified data management due to its SSD, and this will allow players to have more control over installing and removing games, for example by allowing players to install (or remove) only certain parts of a game – so instead of installing the full game, you could choose to just install the single-player mode and then do multiplayer later, or vice versa.
Physical games for the PS5 will use 100GB optical disks, inserted into an optical drive that doubles as a 4K Blu-ray player, and the next-generation hardware will boast a completely revamped UI.
Speaking about the new UI to Wired, Cerny said: “Even though it will be fairly fast to boot games, we don’t want the player to have to boot the game, see what’s up, boot the game, see what’s up.
“Multiplayer game servers will provide the console with the set of joinable activities in real time. Single-player games will provide information like what missions you could do and what rewards you might receive for completing them – and all of those choices will be visible in the UI. As a player you just jump right into whatever you like.”
Audio will reach a new “gold standard” on PS5 too, according to Cerny, thanks to a new audio engine that will deliver immersive sound – particularly if you’re using headphones. While the details remain unclear, expect something resembling the experience of a Dolby Atmos setup.
Sony’s PS5 next-generation console will also offer improved cloud gaming performance, and “dramatically improved graphics rendering” power.
That’s the word straight from the company itself, as it showed off a sneak peak during a corporate strategy presentation.
In a statement sent out following the presentation, Sony said the “two keywords for the future direction of PlayStation are ‘immersive’ and ‘seamless'”, with the ‘immersive’ experience “created by dramatically increased graphics rendering speeds, achieved through the employment of further improved computational power and a customized ultra-fast, broadband SSD”.
The company also reinforced the importance of its cloud-gaming plans with Playstation Now, and somewhat surprisingly doubled down on its underused Remote Play feature, saying the “evolution” of this would in the future “provide a seamless game experience anytime, anywhere”.
Remote Play is already available as part of the PS4 package, enabling you to stream a game direct from the console to a computer, smartphone, tablet or PS Vita handheld console. But Sony says that going forward it will be “leveraging the latest computing, streaming, cloud, and 5G technologies” to allow it, and the performance of PlayStation Now, to improve.
If that’s not enough, Sony has confirmed the PS5’s “incredibly powerful” backwards compatibility will let you play online with PS4 players, with Ubisoft’s CEO revealing the next-gen console can play “almost all” PS4 games.
There have also been rumors that the PS5 could be backwards compatible with the PS3, PS2, and original PlayStation, meaning its games library could stretch right back to the glory days of the mid 90s.
We’ve seen several leaked images of the PS5 dev kit, with each showing the same console design, along with the above render based on one of those images, courtesy of Let’s Go Digital).
What does the render above show us? There are a number of buttons: on/standby, reset, eject (for the double-layer 100GB-reading Blu-ray drive), system initialization and network initialization, all on the front-left. There are also a number of status lights, numbered ‘0’ to ‘7’, which likely relate to CPU cores engaged, but which could also be status lights for controllers connected.
To the right are six USB ports (one USB 2.0 and five likely USB 3.0 ports – the final port being obscured by a cable). A small circle above could well be a camera built into the console, according to earlier patent filings.
Interestingly, rubber feet appear to be on the top side of the console, suggesting that devs are being encouraged to either flip the console for stress testing and convenience, or to stack them when working on demanding games.
However, these images should only really be used to speculate on what the final design of the consumer console will be, rather than considering it wholly indicative on the machine to come. If we look at older PlayStation dev kits, the final product rarely resembles the dev kit.
Dev kits are specially designed to be robust, and to support a console working under extreme load so as to allow the developers to push their creations to the maximum without frying the hardware they’re working on. They’re also designed to help developers find any flaws in the final PS5 consumer hardware design.
With Sony still several months away from the launch of the PlayStation 5, there’s plenty of time for its team to create something a little less alien-looking.
While we may not know exactly what the PS5 will look like, Sony did reveal the PS5’s official logo at CES 2020. It’s essentially just the PlayStation 4 logo with a ‘5’ replacing the ‘4’.
But Sony PlayStation president, Jim Ryan, did tease during Sony’s CES keynote that “there’s plenty to share about the PS5 in the months ahead. And we look forward to sharing more details, including the content that will showcase the platform and the future of gaming”.
The PS5 will come with a new controller, according to Sony. The PS5 controller (we don’t know the official name yet) will include haptic feedback to replace the DualShock 4’s rumble technology, designed to improve the controller’s feedback and therefore player immersion.
The PS5 controller will also feature adaptive triggers, which Sony says have “been incorporated into the trigger buttons (L2/R2)”. These adaptive triggers will allow developers to program the resistance of the triggers to simulate actions more accurately.
In an interview with Business Insider Japan (translated by Gematsu), SIE CEO Jim Ryan said: “3D audio and the haptic feedback support of the controller are also things that, when you try them, you will be surprised at how big a change they are. Even just playing the racing game Gran Turismo Sport with a PlayStation 5 controller is a completely different experience. While it runs well with the previous controller, there is no going back after you experience the detailed road surface via haptic control and play using the adaptive triggers.”
PS5: what will I be playing?
The entire PS4 library, including PSVR games, will be supported by the PS5; that much is known. But we’re now hearing more about confirmed – and rumored – PS5 games.
At this point, any first-party PS4 game in the pipeline – from Ghost of Tsushima to The Last of Us 2, would be prime candidates for PS5 cross-gen upgrades. We’ve also heard enough chatter around a Horizon Zero Dawn sequel and new God of War game to assume we’ll be seeing both land on the PS5 console.
But what about third-party titles? We’ve had confirmation that Gearbox’s new IP Godfall is coming exclusively to PS5, as is a new title from Bluepoint Studios. We will also see a remake of THQ Nordic’s cult classic Gothic, Gollum and Outriders land on PS5. In addition, Ubisoft has confirmed that Watch Dogs: Legion, Rainbow Six Quarantine, and Gods and Monsters are all coming to Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 – with a new Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry also rumored to be coming to the platforms. We also know Rainbow Six Siege will be available on PS5 and Xbox Series X from launch.
It’s likely that we’ll see the likes of Starfield and The Elder Scrolls 6 coming to Xbox Series X too.
In addition, not only has EA has said that Battlefield 6 will be coming to Xbox Series X, but the company has sung the praises of the incoming next-generation machines during an investor call.
“The power of the new consoles is gonna be substantially greater than existing consoles,” said EA CFO Blake Jorgensen.
“We can do a lot more [with PS5 and Xbox Series X]. Things we’re doing will blow people’s minds.”
While this is a good start, we’re expecting plenty more third-party games to be announced in the coming months.
According to a survey by GDC, when it comes to developer interest it seems the PS5 is already beating Xbox Series X – and the Nintendo Switch.
That’s according to GDC’s State of the Game Industry 2020 survey, which surveyed 4,000 game developers on a variety of industry topics ahead of GDC 2020 in March. And, of course, the next-gen consoles were top of the agenda.
When asked which platform they planned to launch their next project on, 23% of those surveyed said the PlayStation 5, while 17% said the Xbox Series X and 19% said the Nintendo Switch .
When it comes to the platform devs are most intrigued by, the PS5 once again leads the pack when it comes to consoles, with 38%, but the Switch only just behind on 37%. Again, the Xbox Series X is seriously lagging behind, piquing the interest of just 25% of devs.
The survey also revealed that 10% of developers are currently working on a game for the next-gen consoles.
However, while we know of a few third-party games in the pipeline for the PS5, there’s still no confirmation on what the PS5’s launch titles will be, but we’re expecting first-party games to take the lead.
In addition, Sony has confirmed that the PS5 will prioritize AAA games over indie games in an effort to focus on “serious gamers”.
PS5 reveal rumors
With Microsoft having officially revealed the Xbox Series X, we’re waiting with bated breath for Sony to unveil the PlayStation 5. While the company isn’t giving much away about when that’ll be, there are several rumors which suggest a PS5 reveal event will take place in February.
Rumors of a February reveal were ignited last year, when a ‘leaked marketing email’ from Sony found its way to 4Chan. The email claimed that a “PlayStation Meeting 2020” was scheduled for February 12, and would see the PlayStation 5 revealed in all its glory.
But that date has now passed and no PS5 reveal took place. There have been other leaks which also suggested specific dates in February for a PS5 reveal, but these dates have also passed.
A February reveal is looking less and less likely. We’re now in February and have heard nothing of an event from Sony. But perhaps that’s because the reveal event is actually in March?
One PS5 leak claims that Sony’s next-gen console will be revealed at a PlayStation Meeting in March, with pre-orders opening as early as March.
That’s according to Twitter user @PSErebus, who previously correctly leaked the Last of Us Part 2’s initial release date; however, as always, we’re treating the claim with a suitable dose of skepticism.
However there’s still a slim possibility we will see the PS5 revealed in February as Sony has suggested the PlayStation 5 will follow the release schedule of the PS4 – which was revealed at a PlayStation Meeting on February 20, 2013 before being released in November of the same year.
“It’s very difficult to really discuss this timing-wise,”Totoki said. “But as of today, we will provide the guidance at a time period which is comparable to the past. So we will not change the time schedule.”
PlayStation fans on Reddit believe that Sony’s next-gen console will be revealed on February 29, at New York City’s Sony Hall. As there’s a private event booked for that date and because they believe Sony will host the reveal event in a Sony-branded venue. But we’re not quite convinced by this theory.
Regardless of exactly when the reveal is, it looks like a PS5 launch event is imminent, especially given that Sony has now launched the official PS5 website which allows fans to sign up for updates on the next-gen console.
What about a PS5 Pro?
A rumor has cropped up suggesting that Sony will double down by launching the PlayStation 5 Pro at the same time as its base-model PS5.
As spotted by Wccftech, noted Japanese games journalist Zenji Nishikawa made the claim in a video on his YouTube channel, and while that kind of thing wouldn’t normally be considered a rock-solid lead, Nishikawa has been proven correct in the past with his predictions about the PS4 Pro and Switch Lite.
According to Nishikawa, the PS5 Pro will cost around $100-$150 more than the basic PS5 console. The report states that Sony is taking this approach because it has “acknowledged the interest in a high-end model and wants to give players what they want right from the beginning of the generation”.
While a PlayStation 5 Pro is likely onthe cards, we don’t think it’ll release at the same time as the regular PS5. In our opinion, it’s more likely that Sony will wait around three years (2023) before giving the console an upgrade – usually this happens mid-cycle and the PS5 lifecycle is estimated to be around six to seven years.