Sony has revealed the first details of the PS5, giving a wide-ranging look at what’s inside the brand new console.
The console will include a whole host of new hardware including CPUs and GPUs that can power technologies never before seen outside of the highest end computers, PlayStation claimed. But perhaps it’s a most significant new feature, which it says will be “a true game changer”, is a new hard drive.
The much faster solid state drive will allow the console to work far more quickly than existing hardware. An operation that once took 15 seconds will now take less than one, according to its architect Mark Cerny, who revealed the plans in an interview with Wired.
That could change some of the fundamental ways that games work, Mr. Cerny suggested, and developers are still working out how to use that extra power. For instance, various games use long title sequences or make players wait in lobbies so they have something to do while the console pulls data from its hard drive – but the new console could do away with that entirely since that data arrives so much more quickly.
In that way and others, the PS5 will be a truly next-generation console, not in line with upgrades like the PS4 Pro or the Xbox One X, PlayStation said. It will not simply add another layer to games but allow for entirely new experiences, Mr. Cerny told the site.
The console is not ready to be released this year, PlayStation said. But the new interview suggests it is further along than some might expect, with early versions already created that allow developers to create games for the platform.
Mr. Cerny refused to reveal details about how much it might cost, what games and other features it will have. It did not say what it might look like – with the demonstration reportedly using an early version that lives in a large silver tower – or what it might be called, though PlayStation 5 continues to seem like a safe bet.
It will not reveal those at the E3 event in June, either, since for the first time it will not be holding a presentation on the new show.
But PlayStation did reveal a host of details about the hardware that will power the new console and the kinds of new capabilities that could provide.
The extra processing power in the CPU and the GPU will allow for a technology called ray tracing, something which until now has been largely limited to Hollywood film studios and which allows a computer to model the movement of light and create very precise and realistic models of real environments. As well as allowing for far more immersive games, but also to improve the VR experiences available for the PlayStation.
The new console will be compatible with PS VR, Mr. Cerny said. While he refused to give details on the strategy for virtual reality, he confirmed that compatibility and said that “VR is very important to us”.
It will also be backward compatible with the PlayStation 4 since it is based partly on its architecture. Initially, as with other console releases, games will be released on both platforms until the new one has matured.
That release could include the much-hyped Death Stranding, by Hideo Kojima. While Sony confirmed that the new game will still be released for PS4 as previously announced, it did not say that it would not arrive on the new console too.
Mr. Cerny also refused to give details on Sony’s plans for streaming games, which some have suggested could do away with the need for consoles in the living room by having them live in data centers and send the games over the internet. That does not appear to be the case with the PS5, though Mr. Cerny said: “we are cloud-gaming pioneers, and our vision should become clear as we head toward launch”.