The future of gaming has arrived. Sony’s PlayStation 5 (PS5) console has finally been revealed to the world, finally ending months of speculation about the next-generation console. Boasting 4K graphics at 120Hz, 3D audio support and backwards compatibility, the PS5 has an impressive set of features.
Here are 7 things you need to know about the PS5.
1. Supports 8K graphics and 4K at 120Hz
The PS5 is one powerful game console. Sony has packed in a custom eight-core AMD Ryzen “Zen 2” CPU that is clocked at 3.5GHz and on a custom GPU based on AMD’s Radeon RDNA 2 architecture is promised to deliver 10.28 teraflops and 36 compute units at 2.23Ghz. It is also reported to have 16GB of GDDR6 RAM.
Sony has said that the PS5’s is capable of delivering games at 4K resolution at 120Hz. It is also reported to support 8K graphics though it is unclear what is the targeted frame rate for this resolution.
All this power allows the PS5 to support ray tracing, a rendering technique that simulates light as it interacts with virtual objects. To put it simply, this allows for more photo-realistic graphics with prettier reflections on surfaces like glass, metal and water.
The PS5 faces stiff competition from Microsoft’s Xbox Series X. Both consoles use the same AMD processor and graphic architectures, but the Xbox Series X edges the PS5 as its CPU clocks at 3.8Ghz while its GPU is said to deliver 12 teraflops and 52 compute units.
Though both consoles are said to output games at 4K resolutions and support ray tracing, Sony’s console has one differentiating factor. Its CPU and GPU are said to be able to run at variable frequencies, which allows the hardware to shift unused processing power between the CPU to the GPU should it require more power.
While Microsoft’s console edges over Sony’s in terms of raw numbers on paper, we will have to wait until they are officially released to see their real-world performance.
2. Blazing fast SSD: Loads 2GB of data in 0.27 seconds
The inclusion of an SSD is a big deal for the PS5 as it is will represent a major step up from the PS4’s HDD. The limitations of the HDD meant that players often had to bare with loading screens when playing games.
Using an SSD, developers are able to load game assets incredibly fast thus making experiences more seamless. It would mark the end of loading screens, the elimination of geometry pop-in when you explore open world games and fast travel would be near-instantaneous in large game worlds.
At the same time, game developers would be able to create larger and richer worlds. We may even see the creation of new types of games.
On a technical level, Sony touts that the PS5’s custom NVMe SSD would be able to load 2GB of data in just 0.27 seconds. It is highly likely that the PS5’s NVMe SSD slot will open the door for users to add more storage in the future.
But the PS5 won’t be limited just to the SSD that it comes equipped with. Just like the PS4, it will support USB hard drives too but this slower expandable storage will primarily be used for playing backwards compatible PS4 games.
3. An immersive experience with 3D Audio
Another major big feature of the PS5 is 3D audio. While a lot of emphases has been placed on visuals in video games, audio often gets left out. No more. Sony is aiming to deliver a compelling audio experience for all users and not just those who own high-end speaker systems.
Using a custom Tempest 3D Audio Engine that is specially made for audio rendering, gamers can expect a greater immersive experience that puts them in the game itself. This includes hearing the sound of raindrops hitting surfaces all around you while allowing players to precisely locate where an enemy is coming from the sound of his footsteps.
4. A digital only variant
Just when we thought the presentation was over, Sony announced a second variant of the PS5 that loses the optical drive. This disc-less model eliminates the hump on the side of the regular PS5, giving it a sleeker and more refined design.
Sure you lose the ability to play 4K Blu-rays but when was the last time you went out to buy a piece of physical media? Besides that, there are plenty of streaming services for binge-watching all your favourite TV shows and movies.
We definitely can see why Sony would launch this second model as it just makes sense as we consume more media digitally. But we still don’t how much this digital only PS5 costs or whether it will come with more onboard storage. Given the fact that players will need to download all their games from the PlayStation Store, this variant should ideally come with more storage.
5. A plethora of accessories
Sony also announced a range of accessories to complement the PS5. This includes a wireless headset, camera, media remote and charging dock for its new DualSense controller.
The HD camera is made for players to stream footage from their living rooms while playing games. It possesses dual 1080p lenses that will no doubt make it easier for streamers to livestream their PS5 gaming sessions.
There is also a new Pulse 3D wireless headset that offers 3D audio support – a major new feature of the PS5. Dual noise-cancelling microphones eliminate background noise so others can hear you better when engaging in multiplayer games.
Those who prefer to use their PS5 as an entertainment hub will find a use for the new media remote. Though it appears like any ordinary remote, it comes with a built-in microphone for accepting voice commands. Aside from the standard remote navigation buttons on top, not much else is known about the remotes’ features.
To help keep your DualSense controllers charged and ready for use, Sony has introduced a charging station that can charge two controllers at once. Though the controllers have a USB-C port on the top, they connect to the charging station via another accessory dock on the bottom. It keeps the white and black aesthetic of the console and controller to match them on your TV console.
Sony has not announced prices for any of the new accessories yet but it is highly likely that they will go on sale with the PS5 when it launches at the end of this year.
6. You can play your PS4 games on the PS5
Backwards compatibility was a feature that was sorely missing on the PS4. That meant having to keep the old PS3 out if you wanted to play older games. Fortunately, Sony is not repeating that mistake with the PS5 as the new console is capable playing classic PS4 games.
According to a post on the PlayStation blog, Sony said that “the overwhelming majority of the 4,000+ PS4 titles will be playable on PS5”. Having PS4-exclusives titles like God of War, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and Marvel’s Spider-Man playable on the PS5 is a definite plus point.
On top of being able to play many great PS4 games, the PS5 is said to play them even better than before. According to Sony in the same blog post, backwards compatible titles will benefit from more stable frame rates and potentially higher resolutions. This isn’t the first time Sony has enhanced older games on its newer system. Back in the days of the PS2, the console was able to play some PS1 games and even upscale the graphics.
Sony said it is currently evaluating games on a title-by-title basis, having already tested hundreds of titles and are preparing test thousands more as the launch approaches.
7. Strong first-party and third-party games in launch line-up
Games are what sell consoles and Sony has paid close attention to its launch line up. The company spent nearly half of the PS5’s livestream event talking about its launch line-up of games.
Sony has cherry-picked some very strong titles to lead its charge into the next-generation of games. Titles like Horizon Forbidden West, Gran Turismo 7, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart all look amazing and we can’t wait to see them in 4K.
Let’s not forget to mention a number of great independent games that are coming to the PS5. Just to name a few, there is Stray where players take control of a cat in a futuristic walled city, Kena: Bridge of Spirits a story-driven action-adventure game and Jett: The Far Shore a bittersweet interstellar trip that mixes emotional storytelling with world exploration.