5 big PS5 questions Sony needs to answer now

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We’ve now seen the PS5’s design, specs and game lineup. But as we draw closer to its holiday 2020 release, there’s still a ton we don’t know about Sony’s next-gen console. Beyond the big two question marks — the price and release date — there are a lot of smaller things Sony would be wise to address before its new system starts rolling out on store shelves.

We know the PS5 will play PS4 games, but which ones? And while some of the system’s exclusives have been confirmed, what else is on the way soon? Here are the biggest questions about the PS5 we’d like to see answered before launch.

What will the PS5 launch lineup be? 

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While Sony showed off a ton of PS5 games at its June 11 Future of Gaming event, it's not exactly clear which of those titles will be launching with the system. We do know that cutesy platformer Astro’s Playroom will come preloaded on the console, but the rest of the launch lineup is currently a mystery.

Major exclusive Spider-Man: Miles Morales currently has the same vague “holiday 2020” release window as the PS5 itself, although it’s unclear whether Miles Morales will be a launch title. The same goes for hotly anticipated third-party games, such as Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Deathloop and Godfall, which are all simply slated to launch sometime this year. Madden NFL 21 and NBA 2K21 seem like safe bets for launch, given that their current-gen counterparts will be out before the PS5. But without a firm release date for these games — or the PS5 itself — it’s still hard to tell what you’ll be able to actually buy at launch.

How will PS5 backwards compatibility work? 

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Sony has already confirmed that the PS5 will be backwards compatible “with the overwhelming majority of the 4,000+ PS4 titles” currently out there. The company also expects backwards compatible games to run at a “boosted frequency,” which could allow for better framerates or resolutions, but has yet to reveal any specific optimizations for certain games. We also know that third-party titles, such as Cyberpunk 2077 and Madden NFL 21, will offer free upgrades from their PS4 to PS5 versions, but there’s no word on whether Sony’s first-party games will take a similar approach.

That still leaves us with a lot of questions. Will PS4 exclusives such as The Last of Us Part II, God of War and Ghost of Tsushima have PS5 enhancements at launch? And while system architect Mark Cerny detailed the system’s PS4 Pro Legacy Mode during his Road to PS5 presentation, we’ve yet to get a good look at how the PS5 will upscale PS4 games to 4K.

Microsoft has been much more transparent on the backwards compatibility front, stating that the Xbox Series X will support every Xbox One game, as well as every Xbox and Xbox 360 game already optimized to work on Xbox One. The company has even promised that some of these titles will be able to run at 4K resolutions and framerates as high as 120 fps. With that in mind, we’d love to hear more about the PS5’s approach to playing older games. 

What other big PS5 exclusives are on the way? 

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The PS5’s exclusives lineup is already quite promising, with Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Horizon: Forbidden West, Gran Turismo 7 and Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart all slated to roll out over the next few years. However, there are still a few major Sony franchises and studios we’d like to know more about. 

A PS5 sequel to 2018’s smash hit God of War reboot is almost certainly in development, and will make Sony’s new console even more of a must-have whenever it gets announced. We’re also curious about the fate of the once-popular Infamous series, as well as what other surprises genDESIGN (Shadow of the Colossus, Ico) may have in store. And while the Miles Morales game is coming this year as a standalone spin-off, we’re still waiting on news about a proper sequel to Marvel’s Spider-Man

But perhaps our biggest question is what’s next for Naughty Dog, the studio behind the critically acclaimed Uncharted and The Last of Us franchises. With both of those series having seemingly run their courses, we’d love to see the veteran developer return to its roots with a colorful platformer in the vein of Jak & Daxter, or something completely different from a gritty modern action/adventure title (perhaps a sci-fi game?). Whenever Naughty Dog does announce a new game, we expect it to make a huge splash.

Will there be a PlayStation VR 2? 

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We already know that the PS5 will support the PlayStation VR headset, meaning you should be able to play titles such as Resident Evil 7, Iron Man VR and Astro Bot: Rescue Mission in virtual reality on the new console. But what does the future of VR on PS5 look like?

Cerny told Wired in 2019 that “VR is very important to [Sony],” which makes a next-gen PlayStation VR seem plausible. And with new PSVR titles such as Star Wars: Squadrons and The Walking Dead Onslaught still on the way, Sony would be wise to beef up its virtual reality headset to better compete with the numerous powerful options available on PC. 

What’s the PS5 price and release date? 

Playstation 5

(Image credit: Sony)

This is the question that will make or break Sony’s console. The PS5 doesn’t yet have an official price, with leaks and predictions pegging the console as costing anywhere from $400 to $600. And with some analysts expecting the Xbox Series X to undercut the PS5 by up to $100, it’s crucial that the PS5 comes in at a price that isn’t too hard to swallow — especially in our current uncertain economic situation. 

We know there will be both a standard PS5 and PS5 Digital Edition, though it’s unclear how much cheaper the latter, discless console will be. For reference, the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition currently costs $50 less than the standard $299 Xbox One S.

Less critical but also very important is the PS5’s release date. Based on previous PlayStation launches, we expect the PS5 to launch in mid-November, sometime before the Thanksgiving/Black Friday shopping rush. The PS4 released a week ahead of the Xbox One in November 2013, so it’s possible that Sony will take a similar approach this year to beat Microsoft to market and snag a few early sales. 

We should hopefully have clearer answers to these questions in the coming months leading up to the PS5's launch, so keep it locked to Tom's Guide for the latest on Sony's next-generation console.

Michael Andronico

Mike Andronico is Senior Writer at CNNUnderscored. He was formerly Managing Editor at Tom's Guide, where he wrote extensively on gaming, as well as running the show on the news front. When not at work, you can usually catch him playing Street Fighter, devouring Twitch streams and trying to convince people that Hawkeye is the best Avenger.