The console wars are on, motherfuckers. Microsoft has its Smart Car-sized new Xbox all set to release for Holiday 2020, so you know what that means—Sony will be unveiling some high-powered competition of its own around the same time. Unlike the Xbox Series X, which is one X away from sounding like an adult video service, the PlayStation people have opted for a much sleeker, much simpler name. PS5. Sony recently unveiled its new logo for the upcoming console. Whereas every new Nintendo product comes with at least twelve new colorful logos, Sony decided once again to keep things uniform. It looks just like the logo for the PS4. And the PS3. But this time, it’s a bit rounder. Take that, Microsoft.
While we don’t have official images of the new box yet, we have gotten confirmation on a few key details. It’s going to debut in the same timeframe as the new Xbox. The specs inside the console blow the PS4 out of the water. It’s going to have backwards compatibility. And Sony won’t be showing it off at the E3 gaming conference this summer. Beyond those stray bits of info, we don’t really know too much else about the mysterious new PS5 console, but here’s a rundown of everything we do.
It’s a powerhouse under the hood.
3D audio. 8K graphics. A lightning-fast solid state drive. Like the Xbox Series X, the biggest draw of a new console is the stupefying tech specs. Nintendo has long relied on its crafty first-party games to fill its new consoles with long-lasting life. Sony and Microsoft, while purveyors of some huge first-party games of their own, have always put more emphasis on the industry-leading technology inside their machines. The PS5 will be replacing the hard drive of the PS4 with a solid state drive, which means faster—or even nonexistent—load times. In a Wired interview with Sony lead system architect Mark Cerny, a demo of Insomniac’s Spider-Man was said to load up in .8 seconds, compared to the 15 seconds it takes on the PS4. That’s fast as hell.
The hardware inside the console may sound like a bunch of gibberish to you, but based on how excited everybody seems about it, the PS5 looks to be packing some major firepower. Wired reports, “The CPU is based on the third generation of AMD’s Ryzen line and contains eight cores of the company’s new 7nm Zen 2 microarchitecture. The GPU, a custom variant of Radeon’s Navi family, will support ray tracing, a technique that models the travel of light to simulate complex interactions in 3D environments.” All of this means 8K video resolution—if for some reason you have a TV that can support it—superior visual quality, and better audio, too. Like, so good, it’s never been heard from a console before.
There’s no word about the games, but there will be games.
Backwards compatibility has become a pretty heated subject with these new consoles. Some companies have opted to make players pay monthly subscription prices to enjoy older games, while others, like Microsoft, are promising that multiple generations of video games will be ready-to-play on their new consoles right out of the box. It’s not clear how, exactly, the PS5 will handle backwards compatibility. At least, for PS4 games. Mark Cerny said in the Wired interview that backwards compatibility will happen on the PS5. Which means we’ll have a lot of games to start with, when the console debuts in 2020. But beyond that, we don’t really know what the hell we’re going to be playing on the PS5. You’d expect a game like Marvel’s Avengers by Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics—which was pushed back to later into 2020—to just premiere on the PS5 instead of the PS4. But that hasn’t been made clear just yet. Hopefully we get a new Crash Bandicoot, at least.
The PS4 UI is getting a neat overhaul.
One really fascinating detail that Cerny revealed in the Wired interview was about “joinable activities.” It sounds like the PS5 is going to be changing how we get into online video games, making for a much quicker, more efficient way to hop right on and start playing. You’ll be able to join games right off the home screen of the PS5. No more loading up Fortnite, jumping through a bunch of hoops to get into the Squad Battle Royale mode, waiting for the matchmaking to situate you into a game—according to Cerny, that’ll all happen in the background (somehow). He said there will be a “joinable activities in real time.”
New console, new controller.
The new PS5 DualShock controller will have a “voice-driven AI assistant.” That’s not the only new function of the updated controller, though. It will also have a Mountain Dew™ soda dispenser and a physical sniper scope for elevated gaming experiences!! (Just kidding.) Wired reported that the controller will have more complex haptic feedback, in addition to triggers with programmable tension, to make a “machine gun feel far different from a shotgun.” Sony recently debuted a back peripheral for its PS4 controller, which adds two new buttons to the DualShock. It seems safe to predict that the PS5 controller will incorporate these buttons right out of the box as well.
Since Sony’s not showing up at E3, we don’t know exactly when we’re going to be getting more information. But it better be soon–the console is coming out this holiday season, and my gamer family is starving. Hopefully, more PS5 info will be announced alongside a Spider-Man sequel. I’d buy the new console just to play that.