Entertainment Technology Explained

Everything You Need to Know About the PlayStation 5

Ben Stegner Updated 09-04-2020

It’s hard to believe, but the PlayStation 4 launched way back in 2013. To jog your memory, Sony launched the PS4 in the same year that Battlefield 4, BioShock Infinite, and Grand Theft Auto V released.

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So it’s about time for a new console generation to begin, and Sony is slowly releasing details about the new PlayStation 5. Here’s everything we know about the PlayStation 5, the next-gen Sony console and successor to the PS4.

What Is the Next-Gen PlayStation Called?

Unlike Microsoft, which has used a unique name for each of its Xbox consoles, Sony plans to stick with the straightforward numbered approach. The next PlayStation is simply called the PlayStation 5.

While it’s not particularly exciting, it does make sense.

When Will the PlayStation 5 Launch?

Sony has confirmed that the PlayStation 5 will launch “in time for Holiday 2020.” This is a bit vague, but we can guess when it will become available based on trends from the past systems.

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The PlayStation 4 launched on November 15, 2013 in North America, and the PS4 Pro came out on November 10, 2016. Meanwhile, the PlayStation 3 first became available on November 17, 2006.

Therefore, it’s a good guess to say the PS5 should launch sometime in November 2020. This allows the console time to generate some excitement and build a library of games before the all-important holiday season.

The New PlayStation 5 Controller: DualSense

A console’s controller affects how you interact with everything in a game, so new controller features are always exciting. Sony has mentioned that it wants to “deepen the feeling of immersion when you play games,” and the new controller reflects this.

DualSense PS5 Controller
Image Credit: The PlayStation Blog

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The new PlayStation 5 controller is called the DualSense. While it doesn’t have the Share button seen on the DualShock 4, Sony has replaced this with a new Create button. It plans to unveil more details about how this works in the future.

Interestingly, the DualSense will feature a built-in microphone array. This means that you can chat with friends even when you don’t have your headset connected.

You’ll also notice that this controller includes a light bar similar to that seen on the DualShock 4. However, the DualSense has the light bar on either side of the touchpad, instead of sitting at the top of the controller. It also uses a modern USB-C connection for charging.

The company has mentioned a few major innovations with the PS5’s controller, which we explain below.

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Haptic Feedback

The first change is a switch from the classic “rumble” feature to haptic feedback. If you’re not familiar, haptic feedback refers to a specific set of vibrations that make you feel a particular sensation. This is in contrast to rumble, which is simply a constant vibration at various strengths.

For example, you might feel a light tap when your character knocks on the door, but a heavy “slam” when you’re tackled in a football game. This provides developers with better ways to make you feel like you’re part of what’s happening in a game.

If you want to test out how this feels, the Nintendo Switch’s controllers offer HD Rumble, which is a fancy name for haptic feedback. Nintendo promoted this by saying you could feel the ice cubes in a virtual glass.

Adaptive Triggers

Adaptive triggers are the other new development in the PS5 controller. These allow game developers to adjust the resistance of your controller triggers (the L2 and R2 buttons) based on in-game events.

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For instance, you might have to push harder to pull back a bow and arrow, or to accelerate a vehicle over rough terrain. Combined with the haptic feedback, this should go a long way in helping you feel like the elements of the game are real.

What Specs Will the PS5 Have?

Seven years is a long time in the technological world, so you can expect some beefed-up components inside the PS5. In March 2020, Sony held a developer-focused conference that confirmed what the PS5 will pack inside.

CPU and GPU

The PS5 will boast a custom eight-core AMD ZEN 2 CPU. Sony has stated that it’s clocked at a variable 3.5GHz frequency. This variable frequency means that the CPU can adjust its frequency on-the-fly based on the demand at any moment.

Meanwhile, the GPU is also a custom unit. It’s based on AMD’s RDNA 2, and is said to hit 10.28 teraflops. It has 36 compute units, is clocked at 2.23GHz, and is also variable frequency.

Sony’s staff have also confirmed that the PS5’s GPU will support ray tracing (how real-time ray tracing changes gaming Nvidia's RTX GPU Series: How Real-Time Ray Tracing Changes Gaming Real-time ray tracing will soon replace rasterization in graphics technology. But what is it and how will it improve games? Read More ). This is an advanced graphics technology that renders extremely realistic lighting and shadows. It simulates each ray of light from a source, which is an intensive process.

Storage and RAM

Notably, the new system is leaving behind hard disk drives (HDD) in favor of faster solid-state drive (SSD) storage. As you probably already know, SSDs have no moving parts, so they can load data much faster than a traditional hard drive.

Sony plans to use a special 825GB NVMe SSD in the PS5. Having an SSD means developers won’t have to build artificial walls into their games to slow you down and let the game load.

For comparison, Sony mentioned that while the PS4 takes about 20 seconds to load 1GB of data, it’s aiming to have the PS5 load 5GB of data in just one second.

Switching to an SSD has additional benefits aside from speed. To minimize the amount of seeking an HDD has to do, developers sometimes duplicate generic assets all over the disk.

This leads to games taking up more space, which won’t be necessary with an SSD. As a result, game developers will be able to cut down the size of games and patches, or add more detail into the same amount of space.

Also reassuring is the fact that the system comes with a spare NVMe slot, meaning you can expand your available storage when you run low. This won’t require a proprietary storage type, but you will have to purchase a drive certified by Sony to work with the system.

Additionally, the PS5 will come with 16GB of DDR6 RAM.

Physical Games and the Disc Drive

The PS5 will use 100GB BDXL discs, which offer more storage than the PS4’s 50GB Blu-ray discs. If you buy physical games, you’ll still be required to install them onto the drive, since loading from an SSD is much faster than doing so from discs.

However, you’ll have control over what you install. If you don’t care about the single-player part of a game, you could just install the multiplayer portion and worry about single-player later.

Sony has confirmed that the PS5 will have a 4K Blu-ray drive. It will also support external USB drives, but since they’re slower than the SSD, that compatibility is mainly for backwards-compatibility with PS4 titles.

More PlayStation 5 Information

We’ve covered most of the known information about the PlayStation 5, but there are still a few tidbits worth mentioning.

Sony has mentioned that the PS5 will feature a fresh interface for its home screen. This includes more readily available information about what multiplayer matches are available with friends, or rewards for completing certain single-player missions. You’ll also be able to jump into the action much more quickly.

You’ll be happy to hear that the PlayStation 5 is confirmed as backwards-compatible with PS4 games. This is welcome news, as the PS4 wasn’t backwards-compatible at all. However, the company has been vague about this functionality.

In the March 2020 presentation, Sony’s Mark Cerny said that “almost all of […] the top 100 PS4 titles” are expected to be playable at launch on the PS5. This likely means that backwards compatibility will work on the console at launch and grow over time, but we’re not certain.

Sony has also discussed a new “3D audio” feature on the PS5, which offers greater sound fidelity. For example, you’ll be able to hear the difference in raindrops hitting various surfaces around you.

Finally, the PS5 will support PSVR. The system can also handle 4K visuals at 120Hz, which means even smoother games if you have a compatible TV.

Can’t Wait for the PlayStation 5?

That’s the lowdown on the PS5 for now. There are rumors about various games being developed for the PlayStation 5, but we don’t have any concrete details yet.

Sony is bound to release more information about the PS5 soon, including how it looks and what games will be available at launch. Bookmark this page for more PlayStation 5 details as and when they’re released.

In the meantime, don’t forget that the PS4 has an excellent catalog of exclusive titles The 12 Best PS4 Exclusives You Need to Play The PS4 boasts some amazing exclusives, and everyone deserves to play titles such as Uncharted 4, God of War, and Spider-Man. Read More to play. You may as well play the best PS4 games while you wait for the PS5 to arrive!

Related topics: Gaming Consoles, Gaming Culture, PlayStation, PlayStation 5.

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  1. malika
    June 6, 2020 at 12:50 pm

    Great work๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž