In an exclusive interview with Wired, Sony finally teased details about their as-yet-unnamed next-gen console (which will probably be called the PlayStation 5, but Mark Cerny is refusing to confirm). Cerny, who was lead system architect for the PlayStation 4, confirmed that the new console is partly based on the PS4 architecture, which means it will be backwards compatible. This is exciting news for anyone who doesn’t want to buy Skyrim for the third time.
It will copy its predecessor in being a dual-media device, accepting both digital download and physical media games. Upcoming games will be released for both systems for a while to create a “gentle” transition. If you haven’t quite saved up enough by launch day, you can still enjoy the new titles on your PS4 before taking the plunge with the new console.
So if you don’t need a PS5 right away to play next-gen titles, what’s the point in getting one? Well, the beefed up new systems, of course! The new console will have an AMD chip with a CPU based on the third-generation Ryzen, eight cores of the seven-nanometer Zen 2 microchip, and 8K support, although the latter will depend on screen technology catching up. The AMD chip will enable 3D sound, a feature that is meant to create a more immersive gaming experience.
Sony is making a custom version of Radeon’s Navi line for the graphics which uses ray tracing, something that is already being used in movies. Ray tracing follows light as it bounces off objects, making for more visual realism. But it also has other video game applications, such as tracking if a player can hear certain sounds, or if enemies can hear a player’s footsteps. Although it hasn’t been confirmed if a new VR headset will be released, Cerny confirmed that the new console will support the existing one. This is also an exciting use for the 3D sound; what could be more immersive than VR?
Of course, the upgraded hard drive is one of the key differences in any new console. The new hard drive includes a solid-state drive that is specialized to the console’s hardware. SSDs are what you would typically find in current laptops, as opposed to the slower hard drives usually found in gaming consoles. This can reduce load times and make faster rendering, allowing for faster gameplay and camera movements. It also allows for bigger, more expansive games without the lag that often accompanies it. Dev kits are already making the rounds so dev studios can work on or update games in production.
There’s no word yet on when Sony will give us a full reveal, or even a release date. They traditionally make this presentation at E3, but we already know that Sony won’t have a press conference at the expo this year. That leaves PlayStation Experience or a stand-alone announcement for us to get the first real look at the new console.
What do you think? Is the next-generation different enough for you to start saving up for the pre-order? Or will you keep buying new games on PS4 until they stop cross-platform releases?