After months of anticipation, Sony has finally divulged some key details on the PS5 via a special livestream.
Led by PS5 system architect Mark Cerny, this event truly was a deep dive, detailing the console's CPU, GPU, SSD and 3D audio while explaining how these features will benefit gamers and developers.
- PS5 event live stream: How to watch the big reveal
- All the confirmed PS5 games so far
Here's the TL;DR version: The PS5 will have crazy fast load times via an 825GB SSD, will allow for huge, expansive game worlds, has fancy features like ray tracing, and should allow for incredible immersion via personalized 3D audio. It'll be backwards compatible with PS4 games, but not all of them at launch. And while its 10.3 teraflop count is a bit behind that of the Xbox Series X, we're eager to see how it runs games during real world use.
Watch the archive of the PS5 reveal live stream below, as well as our archived live blog for our reactions as the big news happened.
How to watch the PS5 reveal event
Sony's PS5 reveal event is kicking off at 9 a.m. PT/12p.m. ET on Sony's YouTube channel. You can follow the action in the embedded video below.
PS5 reveal event live blog
All times ET - refresh for the latest updates
12:55 pm: And, uh... that's a wrap! As we expected, Sony's presentation truly was a deep dive in every sense of the term, going in-depth on the system's processor, graphics card, SSD and audio features. But here's what you need to know: the PS5 will load games insanely fast, patches will barely take any time to install, game worlds will be richer and bigger than ever, and 3D audio should make PS5 games more immersive than ever. And PS4 backwards compatibility is coming, but may be limited at launch.
12:45 pm: It's time to talk audio, which seems like it could be the PS5's killer feature. Cerny stressed Sony's focus on presence and locality, and literally said you will "enter the matrix" (hopefully Warner Bros. didn't catch that). Basically, you can expect to hear things like raindrops all around you from every direction, rather than just hear a static, stereo audio file. The real benefit of this, as Cerny noted while using Dead Space as an example, is that you'll be able to precisely spot where enemies are coming from when wearing headphones.
Thanks to the PS5's custom Tempest 3D audio engine, you'll eventually be able to enjoy this type of positional audio without having to have a specific soundbar, speaker or set of headphones. When you boot up your PS5, you'll be able to select a custom audio profile that best fits your sense of locality.
12:40 pm: Everyone still with me? Grab some coffee; we're almost at the finish line. Lots of numbers being thrown out, but here's a key spec: The PS5 GPU has 36 graphics cores (CUs), which operate at the level of about 58 PS4 CUs. That seems like a big step up in terms of power efficiency.
12:30 pm: We're on to graphics and backwards compatibility. Cerny is explaining how the PS5 will support PS4 and PS4 Pro games via a special logic in the GPU, and not an extra chipset, like some PS3s had for PS2 compatibility. Sony looked at the "top 100 PS4 titles" in terms of compatibility and noted that they all should be optimized to run well on PS5 at launch. Considering Microsoft's recent strides in backwards compatibility, they better.
12:25 pm: Now its time to talk expandability. Much like the Xbox Series X, the PS5 will support external HDDs, but those will be best use for transferring files and running PS4 games. However, Cerny notes that you'll need a special M2 drive if you want to run PS5 games externally, since you'll need something comparable to the PS5's 5.5GB/s SSD in terms of speed. He noted not to go out and by that M2 just yet, as Sony is still doing some optimization testing around getting games to run well on them.
Also, I just noticed that Cerny is using a Vaio laptop. Talk about next-gen.
12:20 pm: We're realllly getting deep now. You all still awake? Cerny is talking about the system's custom flash controller (no, not that kind of controller), and how it helps out with things like compression and optimization. This is probably exciting for developers, but again, not something meant to inspire hyped-up reaction videos.
I'm having flashbacks to the 2016 PS4 Pro reveal event, where Cerny went deep into things like 4K and HDR to a PlayStation Theater full of people. I miss the PlayStation Theater, but I'm not sure I miss live technical deep dives.
12:15 pm: This tech talk is pretty cool and all, and these features should be killer during real-world use. But I sure feel for anyone who was expecting a bombastic E3-style showcase. Remember that this was meant to be Sony's Game Developers Conference show.
12:10 pm: We're getting some pretty bonkers numbers on the load times for the PS5's SSD. Cerny says that fast travel and loading screens will be nearly instantaneous, as the console can load 2GB of files in just 0.27 seconds. Neat!
But its not all about load times. The PS5 SSD will also empower developers to stream in textures and objects on the fly, which could allow you to more smoothly move between huge, expansive game worlds. You can also look forward to faster updates and patch installs.
12:07 pm: According to Cerny, the three pillars of making the PS5 are Listening to Developers, Balancing Evolution & Revolution and Finding New Dreams. Cerny notes that the PS5's SSD was easily the most requested feature from developers, and that the company made a point to make the PS5 familiar and easy to develop for. As far as finding new dreams? That's what the PS5's 3D audio chip is for, which we'll learn about later.
12 pm: And we're live! PS5 architect Mark Cerny has taken the stage to talk about console generations. He stressed that today will be all about hardware, so don't hold your breath for huge game reveals. I forgot just how soft & soothing Cerny's voice is.
11 am: Just an hour to go until showtime! Sony has posted a live stream page to YouTube dubbed simply "The Road to PS5," which suggests we'll get some behind the scenes of the making of the new console. The stream should clock in at close to an hour, so expect lots of technical news and perhaps even some games.
10 am: We could be in for a real treat today. Industry insiders have told Kotaku's Jason Schrier that the PS5 is the "most exciting hardware in 20 years."
I don't know how many teraflops (lol) the PS5 has, but this is the sentiment I've heard from several technical-minded folks. One told me it was "the most exciting hardware in 20 years." Will be fascinating to see how it stacks up to the impressive Xbox Series X specs https://t.co/q7i0ET95YqMarch 17, 2020
8 am: Happy PS5 reveal day! We're only a few hours away from Sony taking the wraps off it its new console, and excitement is starting to build. How powerful will the PS5 be? What will it look like? And most importantly, how many teraflops will it have?!