|Also known as||PS5|
|Developer||Sony Interactive Entertainment|
|Type||Home video game console|
|Release date||Q4 2020|
|Media||Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray, DVD|
|CPU||8-core AMD Zen 2, variable frequency, up to 3.5 GHz|
|Memory||16 GB GDDR6 SDRAM|
|Storage||Custom 825 GB SSD|
|Removable storage||Internal (user upgradeable) NVMe M.2 SSD, or external USB-based HDD|
|Display||Video output formats HDMI: 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p, 1440p, 4K UHD, 8K UHD|
|Graphics||Custom AMD RDNA 2, variable frequency, up to 2.23 GHz|
|Sound||Custom Tempest Engine 3D Audio|
|Online services||PlayStation Network|
|Most PlayStation 4 and PlayStation VR games|
The PlayStation 5 (PS5) is an upcoming home video game console developed by Sony Interactive Entertainment. Announced as the successor to the PlayStation 4 in 2019, its launch is scheduled for late 2020.
In a Wired magazine article in April 2019, Sony lead architect Mark Cerny revealed information on the then-unnamed successor to the PlayStation 4. This new console has a specialized solid state drive, a custom AMD GPU capable of ray tracing, backward compatibility with most PlayStation 4 and PlayStation VR games, and support for both digital and disc-based games.
The first news of the PlayStation 5 came from lead architect Mark Cerny, in an interview with Wired magazine in April 2019. In early 2019, Sony's financial report for the quarter ending March 31, 2019, affirmed that new next-generation hardware was in development but would ship no earlier than April 2020. In a second Wired magazine interview in October 2019, Sony said it intends to ship its next-generation console worldwide by the end of 2020. The current hardware specifications were released in October 2019. At CES 2020, Sony unveiled the official logo for the platform, which follows the similar minimalist styling of the previous PlayStation consoles and brand. Full specifications were given in an online presentation by Cerny and published by Sony and Digital Foundry on March 18, 2020. Digital Foundry spoke with Cerny in detail and published a "deep dive" on April 2.
The PlayStation 5 uses AMD's 7nm Zen 2 microarchitecture with 8 CPU cores running at a variable frequency capped at 3.5 GHz. The GPU is a customized system-on-a-chip (SoC) based on AMD's RDNA 2, featuring 36 compute units running at a variable frequency, capped at 2.23 GHz, and capable of 10.28 TFLOPS. Both the CPU and GPU are monitored by a special boost system incorporating AMD's SmartShift technology that adjusts the frequency of these systems based on the current activities of both chips, to target ideal constant power drawn and a model SoC performance profile. For example, if the CPU is running at lower activity, the boost system may reduce its frequency and increase the frequency of the GPU to allow that GPU to run at higher performance without otherwise affecting power use or cooling. The GPU supports hardware acceleration of real-time ray traced rendering. It has a new audio technology called Tempest Engine, which allows not only for hundreds of sound sources within a game to be accounted for in producing audio output compared to 50 for the PlayStation 4, but also how that audio is presented based on the end user's device and preferences. The system has 16 GB of GDDR6 SDRAM with a bandwidth of 448 GB/s.
A custom SSD storage solution was designed for the PlayStation 5 to increase data input/output rates for fast loading times and larger bandwidth. This speed allows games to be more immersive and to support 8K resolution. The base system has a 825 GB SSD connected via a 12-channel interface to the main system, achieving a 5.5 GB/s transfer rate uncompressed, and between 8 to 9 GB/s using compression with the Oodle Kraken protocol from RAD Game Tools. This atypical drive size was found to be optimal for the 12-channel pathway for the system rather than more typical 500 GB or 1 TB units. Direct storage for games is expandable through an NVM Express (NVMe) M.2 port, while additional storage can be made available through USB-compatible drives. The system includes a 4K-compatible Ultra HD Blu-ray optical drive. Though game installation from a disc is mandatory as to take advantage of the SSD, the user has some fine-grain control of how much to install, such as only installing the multiplayer components of a game.
Sony is developing improved support for suspended gameplay state, for the PlayStation 5 to consume less energy than the PlayStation 4.
The new DualSense wireless controller for the PlayStation 5 was revealed on April 7, 2020. The DualSense controller is based on the DualShock controllers but with modifications influenced by discussions with game designers and players. The DualSense controller has adaptive triggers that can change the resistance to the player as necessary, supporting an experience such as virtually drawing an arrow from a bow. The DualSense has strong haptic feedback through voice coil actuators, which together with an improved controller speaker is intended to give better in-game feedback. While the DualSense maintains most of the same buttons as the DualShock 4, it renames the "Share" button to "Create" with additional means for players to share and create content with others. A new built-in microphone array was added so players can speak to others using only the controller. It has two-tone coloring, primarily white with black facing. The light bar has been moved to the sides of the touchpad. It has USB-C connectivity, a higher-rated battery and an audio jack.
System software and features
The console has a completely revamped user interface that is characterized as accessible and informative, providing real-time updates so the player doesn't have to search or wait to discover friends' activities, available multiplayer activities, and what single-player missions and rewards are available. Cerny stated "we don't want the player to have to boot the game, see what's up, boot the game, see what's up", so all of these options will be "visible in the UI".
To transition from the PlayStation 4 to the PlayStation 5 during its launch window, Sony anticipates releasing several new games for both consoles. Electronic Arts has affirmed its games released in 2020 for the PlayStation 4 will have free updates to be playable on the PlayStation 5.
Sony has stated that PlayStation 5 will be backward compatible with the "overwhelming majority" of PlayStation 4 games, with many running at a boosted processing speed "so that they can benefit from higher or more stable frame rates and potentially higher resolutions". This is enabled in part by the similar hardware architecture of the two systems and by adding "extra logic" to the RDNA 2 GPU to ensure compatibility with PlayStation 4's and 4 Pro's GPUs. Mark Cerny explained during a March 2020 presentation and later in an interview with Digital Foundry how CPU clock timing required particular attention; while the Zen 2 CPU has an instruction set to handle the PlayStation 4's Jaguar CPU, their timings can be very different, so Sony worked closely with AMD when developing the Zen 2 CPU to adjust the timings so they can more closely match that of the Jaguar. Cerny described the results as "excellent" but noted boosted frequencies can lead to occasional problems and so they are evaluating performance of each game to spot any remaining issues that need attention by the software developers. To illustrate the engineering team's progress, Cerny provided a snapshot of the top 100 PlayStation 4 games based on play time and is expecting "almost all of them" to be compatible at launch. The new console is also expected to be compatible with PlayStation VR.
Marketing and release
Sony plans to launch the PlayStation 5 by the end of 2020, as to be available for end-of-year holiday sales.
Bloomberg reported in February 2020 from people with knowledge of Sony's manufacturing process that the current bill of materials selected for the unit were estimated to be about US$450 total, driven by the current higher costs of flash memory, which was in high demand by cell phone manufacturers for the rollout of 5G wireless connectivity. Bloomberg estimates the PlayStation price will be at least US$470, however increased revenue from online subscription services may allow Sony "greater flexibility" on final hardware pricing.
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The next-gen battle is set for 2020
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