The 8 most important details we already know about PlayStation 5, Sony’s next-generation video game console

Who's ready for the PlayStation 5?

After months of speculation, Sony finally confirmed the name of the PlayStation 5 in a blog post on Tuesday and set a release window for the 2020 holiday season. The company first detailed the successor to the PlayStation 4 in an interview with Wired in April, where it discussed the specific chips and hardware powering the console without revealing its name.

Though the console is still more than a year away, more details about the PlayStation 5 have emerged slowly but surely.

Here are all the most important things we know about the PlayStation 5 so far:

1. It will have much nicer graphics.

cyberpunk 2077

An upcoming game named "Cyberpunk 2077," seen above, is widely expected to land on next-gen consoles like the PlayStation 5.
CD Projekt Red

Unlike the PlayStation 4 Pro and the Xbox One X — half-step consoles that offered more power in the same console generation — the PlayStation 5 "allows for fundamental changes in what a game can be," Mark Cerny, Sony's lead system architect, told Wired.

Core to that mission is the new console's processing chips: a new central processing unit and a graphics processing unit from AMD. The former is based on AMD's Ryzen line, while the latter is part of Radeon's Navi GPU line.

What that means for you: The PlayStation 5 is built on chips that are yet-to-be-released.

2. It will have much faster — or almost non-existent — load times.

Spider-Man (PS4)


Sony/Marvel

When you think of flashy new video game consoles, you probably don't think too much about hard drives — the thing you store games and game saves on. 

But Cerny told Wired that the next PlayStation's hard drive is "a true game changer." Why's that? Because, for the first time ever, the next PlayStation will come with a solid state drive. 

What's different about that? It's much, much faster than a traditional hard disc drive. In a demonstration of the new drive, 2018's "Marvel's Spider-Man" was loaded up on an early development kit for the next PlayStation — it demonstrated a reduction in load times from 15 seconds to less than a single second.

That indeed could be a game-changer. Just imagine all the time you've wasted waiting for games to load — now, imagine that being erased permanently.

3. It's capable of producing 8K visuals.

Death Stranding


Kojima Productions

8K? Yes, 8K — as in "the next step for television resolutions after 4K." And yes, you probably just got a 4K television. (Even more likely: You still don't have a 4K television!)

That's fine. Though the PlayStation 5 will apparently be capable of producing 8K visuals, we don't expect that any games will take advantage of that for some time. After all, there are barely any 8K sets available for sale, let alone a large audience of people waiting for 8K content. And that doesn't even get into the absurd price tags on the 8K TVs that do exist.

This capability seems more like a measure of future-proofing against what will come next rather than a new standard for visual fidelity.

4. It can produce a new type of visuals, called "Ray Tracing."

The Elder Scrolls VI


Bethesda Softworks

Forget about 8K: What's this "ray tracing" business? 

The long and short is it's a jargon term for what is essentially "more accurate lighting." A core component of video game visuals — like all other visual mediums — is how lighting is applied.

To that end, the PlayStation 5 will support the emerging form of virtual lighting.

Read more: Sony's next-generation PlayStation will come with 'ray tracing' — here's what that looks like in action

5. It plays PlayStation 4 games as well as PlayStation 5 games.

The Last of Us: Part II

"The Last of Us: Part 2" could end up on both the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5.
Sony

Backwards compatibility is a hugely important feature of any game console, and it's one that the PlayStation 4 completely whiffed. Sony is correcting that with the PlayStation 5: Your PS4 games will outright run on the next PlayStation.

Whether this applies to your entire digital game library in addition to disc-based games remains to be seen, but we're betting it does.

6. It works with PlayStation VR.

PlayStation VR


Sony

There will almost certainly be a new, higher-fidelity version of Sony's virtual reality headset, PlayStation VR, for the PlayStation 5. When asked about a new headset, Cerny told Wired, "VR is very important to us," but wouldn't elaborate. He did confirm, however, that the existing PlayStation VR headset for PS4 will work on the PlayStation 5.

Sony didn't confirm this, but it stands to reason that the PlayStation 5 also supports PlayStation Move controllers and the PlayStation Camera — crucial components of the PlayStation VR system.

7. It will have a new controller with improved feedback.

Playstation 4 PS4 controller

How about controllers? It's likely that the next version of the PlayStation gamepad will look a lot like previous "DualShock" controllers from the company.
George Dolgikh/Shutterstock

In an October blog post, Jim Ryan, Sony Interactive Entertainment's president and CEO, shared new information about the PlayStation 5's controller. The new controller will use haptic feedback instead of traditional "rumble," allowing developers to program more sensitive responses.

This is meant for players to feel different vibrations in their controller when they fire a gun or hold the wheel of a car. The PlayStation 5 controller will also have adaptive triggers that can be programmed to have a different level of tension depending on the action, the post said.

8. Sony will release the PlayStation 5 during the 2020 holiday season.

PlayStation 4


Sony

There isn't a set release date for the PlayStation 5 yet, but Sony plans to launch it during the 2020 holiday season. Sony has already sent development models out to game designers so they can start building games for the console's launch next year.

9. It might cost a lot of money.

PlayStation 4


AP Photo / Nam Y. Huh

The PlayStation 5 sounds like it could be a more expensive console than usual.

"I believe that we will be able to release it at an SRP [suggested retail price] that will be appealing to gamers in light of its advanced feature set," lead architect Mark Cerny told Wired's Peter Rubin.

When Rubin pushed on what that meant, Cerny demurred. "That's about all I can say about it," he said.

Given that the PlayStation 5 is running on brand new, yet-to-be-released processors and uses more expensive solid-state storage, it's likely to land on the higher side in terms of price. For context, the nearly three-year-old PlayStation 4 Pro model still costs $400 — the PlayStation 5 could cost even more.

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SEE ALSO:

A bunch of PlayStation 5 details just got unveiled: Here's everything we know

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