While many of us are still getting hyped for PlayStation 4-exclusive games like The Last of Us Part II and Death Stranding, Sony is getting its next piece of gaming hardware ready for the market. Now, Sony has offered up a release date and some all-important hardware details. You can expect to get your hands on one in time for next Christmas, Sony says.
But it’s the hardware details we care about, right? Speaking to Wired, which broke the original PlayStation 5 news earlier this year, Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan and System Architect Mark Cerny confirmed some interesting details.
Back then, they said the console will use a CPU based on AMD’s Ryzen line and a GPU based on the Navi family. Sony is dropping the spinning rust for an ultra-fast SSD.
New details on the PlayStation 5
First and foremost, Cerny confirmed that, yes, the ray-tracing technology in the PlayStation 5 will be hardware-accelerated. His wording at the time was a bit wishy-washy, while Microsoft specifically said “hardware-accelerated” in their E3 presentation for Xbox Project Scarlett.
Cerny also spoke more about the SSD. He talked before about how it would accelerate loading times significantly over that of a traditional spinning drive, which is something we’re well-acquainted with here.
The speed limitations of these hard drives increase loading times, of course. But they also limit how fast we can move around in games; the system can only stream data from the spinning drive so fast. Developers come up with ideas like slow-opening doorways or specific max speeds to hide that loading. Jak in Jak and Daxter would occasionally trip to allow the game to catch up.
Cerny now says that another benefit is that developers don’t have to duplicate game assets to keep things loading.
“If you look at Marvel’s Spider-Man, there are some pieces of data duplicated 400 times on the hard drive,” he says. That likely means smaller install sizes for games along with that faster loading.
Install in chunks
Speaking of install sizes, Sony is following Microsoft’s lead on the PlayStation 5 with regard to game install options. Microsoft has been looking at ways to optimize game installs, primarily by letting you choose what parts to install.
If you only play the Call of Duty multiplayer, why bother with the single? If you’re never going to take Gears of War online, why install the multiplayer? Sony is doing just that; you’ll be able to install the parts of a game that you plan to play. With both Sony and Microsoft taking this approach, we might see it in PC gaming more frequently, too.
Sony also offered up details on the PlayStation 5 controller. With the DualShock 4 a fan-favorite not just for PlayStation users but for those of us firmly on the PC gaming side of things, there’s a lot to digest here.
Sony is bringing what it calls “adaptive triggers” to the system that will “offer varying levels of resistance to make shooting a bow and arrow feel like the real thing,” or to make firing different guns feel substantially different. The haptic feedback in the controller will also be far more detailed than traditional spinning rumble motors.
The Wired article details a demo that takes the writer througha variety of surfaces and tactile experiences; sand felt slow, ice felt slippery, and so on. I can’t help but think of the “Impulse Triggers” on the Xbox One here.
These triggers added extra rumble motors to the Xbox One controller and, on games like Forza Motorsport, add a lot of additional detail to rumble feedback. But outside of those first-party games, very few games use them. Sony and Microsoft will most likely have to both offer this increased haptic fidelity for the hardware to get significant attention from third-party developers.
The controller will also use a USB Type-C connector for charging, but Sony says it will be lighter than the current Xbox controller.
More PlayStation 5 details to come
Sony is keeping quiet on many details about the PlayStation 5. We don’t know what it will look like or how much it will cost. We don’t know how big the hard drive will be. It sounds like the system might have an AI voice assistant (like we need yet another), but Sony isn’t talking about that yet, either.
But we have a name and a release window of Holiday 2020. If the past is anything to go by, that’ll put it somewhere between mid-October and mid-November 2020. Start saving now, kids.