The internet is once again awash with rumours about the impending release of the PlayStation 5.
There have been whispers PlayStation intended to steal a march on the competition in the impending console generation.
A majority of fans considered the PS4 Pro to be a lacklustre mid-tier upgrade. Especially in comparison to the far superior Xbox One X. This led to rumours that Sony was holding off on a lot of bells and whistles as they were close to launching the PS5.
Sony will also, interestingly, be absent from this year’s E3 for the first time in the exhibition’s history. This raised more eyebrows with Nintendo’s Switch still going strong early in its life-cycle and Xbox promising to ‘go big’.
PlayStation is the current market leader in the console wars and we can’t imagine they intend to let that slip. So what is Sony planning? And what do we already know about the PS5?
PlayStation 5 Technical Specs
It’s important to take a few of these details with a pinch of salt but we do know certain things that are seemingly confirmed. PlayStation Chief System Architect Mark Cerny revealed a few details in a recent Wired exclusive.
“The key question is whether the console adds another layer to the sorts of experiences you already have access to, or if it allows for fundamental changes in what a game can be,” – Cerny told Wired.
Amid talking up the impending console, Cerny also unveiled a few technical specifications.
The console will feature a purpose-built Navi brand graphics processing unit (GPU) featuring ray tracing.
Ray tracing is an emerging trend in digital graphics that effectively creates more realistic patterns of light reflection. Optimising visuals and casting intuitive shadowing to create a greater sense of life in the image.
The promised GPU Cerny is talking about would be similar to the current industry standard for CGI in Hollywood movies. So, quite the upgrade.
The console also features an eight-core CPU and custom solid state drive (SSD) that will vastly improve framerate and performance.
Cerny showed off a demonstration of Spider-Man running on this next-gen software. Reducing the time it took to fast travel from 15 seconds on the PS4 to a staggeringly fast 0.8 seconds.
These new features could produce much faster gameplay and a much greater scope for in-game worlds if Sony can pull it off.
PlayStation 5 Additional Confirmed Features
Aside from the technical features that will go over many gamer’s heads, Cerny also revealed some more digestible information.
The PlayStation 5 will support 8K displays and 3D sound even though most TV’s don’t even currently meet this standard.
Cerny also promised the console will have backwards compatibility with PS4 titles, quashing the ‘disc-less’ rumours. Xbox are also rumoured to be working on a download-only model for the next-gen, but Sony will still offer physical releases.
The PlayStation 5 plans to be fully compatible with the PlayStation VR headset. “VR is very important to us,” Cerny added, but he refused to be drawn into further details on future plans.
Rumoured Pricing and Release Date
Those were the last of the confirmed rumours but there are a few other believable conclusions to draw. Cerny didn’t reveal a release date but he did confirm we won’t be seeing the PlayStation 5 this year.
That means a 2020 release date still looks a very strong possibility, likely Q3/Q4 to capitalise on the Christmas market, complying with the usual Sony trend.
Totalling up the already promised technical specs of the PS5 also reveals an expensive manufacturing cost of each unit.
That’s led to experts drawing an estimated retail value of £450-£500 ($580-$650) for the PlayStation 5. Sony has undercut pricing expectations in the past though, most notably with the infamous ‘299’ E3 conference that destroyed the SEGA Saturn.
SEGA was one of the industry leaders in 1995 and had big expectations after their own shock reveal of the Saturn that went immediately on sale following the E3 conference. Retailing at $399, the Sony spokesman simply uttered one word in his conference, 299, and PlayStation never looked back.
It would be surprising if something similar happened here…but who knows with Sony.
PlayStation 5 Rivals
The question remains that if Sony is sitting on this revolutionary new console, why aren’t they going to E3 this year? Especially when the talk of the town is that Microsoft subsidiary, Xbox, could be preparing to release their own big news.
Meanwhile, Nintendo’s growing venture will benefit further from the impending release of the first-ever console mainline Pokemon game.
Pokemon is the second largest video game franchise in history and only grew in popularity with the monumental success of Pokemon Go. Not to mention the upcoming Detective Pikachu movie, fandom will be at an all-time high heading into an E3 announcement.
We recently spoke of the Switch’s impressive cloud capabilities as well. With Xbox and Google viewing the concept as the future of gaming. Nintendo may also be on the cusp of a similar venture, adding third-party AAA titles to the Switch’s repertoire.
Possible Reveal and Launch Titles
There’s never been a better time to act for PlayStation if they do want to cast shadows over the competition. The Wired interview is a timely start but when can we expect an official release?
There’s one simple answer and it’s another potential marketing masterstroke.
Sony plans to do their own exclusive reveal on the eve of E3 this year. A spectacle of a presentation devoted solely to the PS5. Getting fans talking and stealing the premature limelight from Xbox, Google and Nintendo.
An ambitious idea? Sure. But it would certainly garner the attention they’d be looking for.
If Sony is confident the PS5 will once again be the go-to console, an early reveal would make it a very tough act to follow for their rivals at E3. Not going to the conference could, therefore, be a power play from Sony to promote the PS5.
In terms of launch titles, they may have already been revealed as the hype train enters its final stretch. We know two major PlayStation exclusives that are already in development: Death Stranding and The Last Of Us 2.
The critically-acclaimed Spider-Man is also certain to have a sequel and it was, of course, the game used in Cerny’s demonstration, so we’d say Spider-Man 2 is another good shout. On top of that, we wouldn’t be at all surprised to see CD Projekt Red delay Cyberpunk 2077 until a new console generation is revealed.
That’s four very strong releases during the launch period, three of which will be console exclusives.