The PS5 is coming later this year, and it’s going to take gaming to the next level. Sony took to the virtual stage this week to reveal just what the console will look like.
Its big event was mostly about the games on offer but that wasn't an issue as the games look stunning. There was some new IP to look at. This included games such as first-person shooter Deathloop, Pragmata, Little Devil Inside and Solar Ash.
But, if we are being honest, it's the sequels and remasters that got us really excited. These include Hitman III, Demon Souls, an enhanced version of GTA V, a new OddWorld (Soulstorm), LittleBigPlanet's Sackboy in a new adventure and a brilliant look at Resident Evil VIII.
While the actual tech was light on the ground, we did find out that there will be two versions of the console - one with a Blu-ray drive and one that is digital only. Price and actual release date are still a mystery.
The good news is, we already know a lot about the tech inside, thanks to previous Sony reveals.
Mark Cerny, PlayStation’s ‘lead system architect’ unveiled the new core details in a livestream back in March for game developers, revealing the tech that will impact how we play for the next few years and beyond.
The ‘Knack’ developer explained that the idea behind the PS5’s design is to “balance evolution and revolution”.
Sony also revealed in a blog post way back in October 2019 that the console will come with a brand-new controller with some new haptic feedback. In April, we saw just what the controller will look like and some of the things it can do.
To get you in the mood for the big PS5 revealed, here are 10 PS5 details you need to know about so far - and why it will be a best games console contender when it's revealed.
- These are the best PS4 games around right now.
1. The PS5 WILL have a 4K Blu-ray drive
So, you may well want to hold off on buying that 4K Blu-ray as Sony has confirmed that the PS5 will run discs and these discs will be 4K. That's really good news for those looking to use the console as an entertainment device beyond gaming.
"Physical games for the PS5 will use 100GB optical disks, inserted into an optical drive that doubles as a 4K Blu-ray player," says the Wired piece.
2. Get ready for Ray Tracing
Ray Tracing is a fancy term for rending graphics so the lighting in them looks stupidly realistic. There are some graphics cards out now that offer this, but not really that many games. It's under cooked at the moment sure, but by 2020 we should see a load of games using this technology.
“There is ray-tracing acceleration in the GPU hardware,” said Sony's Mark Cerny so this is a hardware based upgrade not software.
We've also seen a demo of how the Unreal Engine will work with the PS5 and it's pretty special.
3. Game installations are set for a big change
Game installs are a pain in the proverbial. Sony knows this and is changing the way the installations happen. In the PS5 you will be able to choose a full-fat install or by game mode. So if you just want the multiplayer campaign on a game, then you will be able to install this first then the rest of the game at another time.
4. Haptics are replacing the rumble on the PS5 controller
One of the things the Sony blog goes big on is that the rumble pack is being replaced in the controller with haptics on the new DualSense controller. "We’re adopting haptic feedback to replace the 'rumble' technology found in controllers since the 5th generation of consoles," says the blog.
"With haptics, you truly feel a broader range of feedback, so crashing into a wall in a race car feels much different than making a tackle on the football field. You can even get a sense for a variety of textures when running through fields of grass or plodding through mud."
5. There are also new trigger controls
Sony has also revealed that game devs can now have the ultimate control when it comes to the triggers on your handset. The blog explains: "Developers can program the resistance of the triggers so that you feel the tactile sensation of drawing a bow and arrow or accelerating an off-road vehicle through rocky terrain.
"In combination with the haptics, this can produce a powerful experience that better simulates various actions."
6. Lightning-fast load times
Enabling game developers to drive the innovation was important, revealed Cerny, in designing the console itself. And their number one request? To add a specialised SSD. Offering a 5GB per second speed - 100 times faster than the PS4’s HDD - what that really adds up to is an increased read speed, and ultimately, super-fast load times. It’ll mean that reloads are immediate, in-game fast travel is faster, and a whole game boots in a second.
7. Backwards compatibility
You can kiss goodbye to your PS4 (or trade it in for some handy PS5 funds), because the PS5 will support PS4 games, too. Backwards compatibility was treated as a key need throughout the design of the new hardware, Cerny confirmed. Phew.
8. 3D audio is going to make it exciting to shoot baddies in the dark
3D audio is going to make gaming more immersive than ever, with the audio of your game set to be heard all around you like never before. Using ‘Dead Space’ as an example, it was shown how, with the PS4, you could hear whether your enemies were hiding to the left or right, but with the PS5’s “vastly improved” 3D audio, you can hear precisely where your enemy is lurking in the dark, spin round to find it, and take them out exactly where they are.
9. ...And it’ll work on various home sound setups
Whether you’re using headphones, a sophisticated surround sound setup, or just your TV’s speakers, you’ll experience an elevated audio experience with the PS5, Cerny revealed. Citing headphones as the “gold standard” for 3D audio on the system, which will have the audio feature available at launch.
We can expect full multi-channel audio for gamers with home cinema sound systems later down the line. If you’re simply using your TV’s built-in speakers, we can expect firmware updates for “virtual surround sound” for the PS5 - meaning that if you’re in a “sweet spot” in front of the TV, you’ll still be able to hear sound from all directions, including behind you. Conventional audio sounds are “smashed flat by comparison”, Cerny explained.
10. You can expect personalised sound
As part of that 3D audio, Sony have been working on developing HRTF for the PS5. That stands for “Head Related Transfer Function” and is basically related to how your brain specifically receives sound - having HRTF options means you can pinpoint sound more accurately. At the moment, the PS5 will offer 5 HRTF options, to best fit the sound to your own way of hearing, a bit like an eye test.
This will be developed even more specifically going forward, Cerny revealed, musing that maybe in the future you’ll play an audio game to hone in on your matching HRTF, or you might even be sending a photo of your ear to Sony for them to prescribe you the best HRTF fit for you.
We’ve seen a variation of this already, with Sony Reality 360, a 3D audio system for music which is available on Deezer and Amazon Music HD. Reality 3D Audio allows you to take a snap of your ears on your smartphone, using a calibration app.