The PS5 is coming soon, and new details on Sony's console are emerging at a rapid clip.
We already know this machine is a beast. The system will feature a custom 825 GB SSD that can load games incredibly quickly, as well as a 10.3 teraflop AMD RDNA 2 GPU for rendering vivid, lifelike graphics. Most games will run at 4K resolution with speeds of 60 frames per second, but the system can theoretically handle resolutions up to 8K and frame rates up to 120 fps.
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The system PS5 is a black-and-white box with rounded angles and fins on the top. We also know that it will share a color scheme with the similarly black-and-white DualSense Controller.
From the specs and price to the release date, here's everything we've heard so far about the PS5.
Latest PS5 news (updated October 23)
- Upgrading your PS4 games to PS5 essentially gives you an extra copy of the game to use on your new console
- Sony has revealed the PS5's entertainment apps, which include Disney Plus, Netflix and Twitch
- PS5 game pre-orders are going live, though they seem a bit pointless at the moment.
PS5 cheat sheet: What you need to know
- What it is: Sony's newest console, the fifth non-portable PlayStation
- Release date: November 12 (select territories), November 19 (rest of world)
- Price: $499 for PS5, $399 for PS5 Digital Edition
- Key features: 4K games at 60 fps, up to 8K resolution, up to 120 frames per second, ray tracing, fast-loading SSD
- Key games: Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Horizon II: Zero West, Gran Turismo 7, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart, Final Fantasy XVI
- Specs: 8-core 3.5 GHz AMD Zen 2 CPU, 10.3 teraflop AMD RDNA 2 GPU, 16 GB GDDR6 memory, 825 GB custom SSD
PS5 release date
The PS5 will launch on November 12 in U.S, Japan, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, Australia and South Korea, and on November 19 throughout the rest of the world. We learned this information at the tail end of Sony's September PS5 livestream.
In North America, the PS5 will cost $499 in its standard configuration with a disc drive, and $399 for the Digital Edition. In other parts of the world, the two systems will cost €499 and €399, £449 and £359, and ¥49,980 and ¥39,980, respectively, depending on where you live.
In April 2020, Sony officially took the wraps of DualSense: a radically redesigned PlayStation controller that will accompany the PS5. While DualSense has a familiar button layout and brings back the touchpad from the DualShock 4, its two-toned black-and-white design looks nothing like any PlayStation controller before it.
As Sony confirmed before, DualSense will have haptic feedback and adaptive triggers, which will provide realistic, tactile rumble to simulate the feel of, say, driving through mud or firing a bow and arrow. The controller's Share button has been replaced by a new Create button, which Sony says will provide even more ways to capture and share your favorite gameplay moments.
DualSense also has a built-in microphone, which will let you chat with friends without needing to dig your gaming headset out. The controller's light bar now surrounds the touchpad, which lets you better see the glow emanating out of it and complements the white design nicely.
The first round of PS5 pre-orders were a bit of a mess, but Tom's Guide has a comprehensive page on the subject for when they come back in stock. Amazon, Best Buy, GameStop, Walmart and Target all have pre-order pages set up, so check them frequently for potential restocks.
The PS5 game that's made the biggest splash so far is Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, which will pit the intergalactic duo against recurring nemesis Dr. Nefarious. Among other things, the game will take advantage of the PS5's extremely fast loading times to render entire worlds in seconds, as Ratchet and Clank jump through portal after portal to explore strange, new worlds.
One of the biggest games coming to PS5 Spider-Man: Miles Morales, which will launch alongside the console this holiday. This game will let you take control of Miles Morales as a newer, younger, less experienced Spider-Man, with all of Peter Parker's powers and then some. We've seen very little of the game in action so far, but expect to learn more about it between now and its release date: holiday 2020.
Horizon II: Forbidden West is also another key PS5 title, following up on the 2017 hit Horizon: Zero Dawn. Other exclusives highlights include Gran Turismo 7 and Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart. On the third-party front, you can look forward to big titles such as Godfall, Resident Evil Village and NBA 2K21.
Ubisoft has confirmed that some of its upcoming titles, including Watch Dogs Legion and Assassin's Creed Valhalla will be on PS5, in addition to other consoles. People Can Fly's multiplayer shooter Outriders will also be available on both next-gen systems. We'll also be getting Fortnite, although that's no great surprise.
Final Fantasy XVI will also be a PS5 exclusive (at least on consoles; a PC version is not out of the question), hearkening back to the PS1 days when Final Fantasy games were available only on PlayStation. There's no release date in sight, though, suggesting it could still be a long way out.
Sony has confirmed that the PS5 will support most of the best streaming services at launch, including Disney Plus, Netflix, YouTube, Twitch and Spotify. The Twitch and YouTube apps will both let you broadcast gameplay directly from your PS5.
Apps such as Amazon Prime Video, MyCanal, Hulu and Peacock will be coming down the line.
- CPU: 8x Zen 2 Cores at 3.5GHz
- GPU: 10.28 TFLOPs, 36 CUs at 2.23GHz, RDNA 2 architecture
- RAM: 16GB GDDR6
- Storage: Custom 825GB SSD
- Expandable storage: NVMe SSD slot
- Optical drive: 4K Blu-ray drive
Mark Cerny, a lead systems architect at Sony, hosted a talk on March 18 that walked users through some of the salient points of the PS5’s hardware. In particular, he discussed the PS5’s SSD configuration and 3D audio capabilities. We also learned about the system’s CPU, GPU and RAM structure.
The SSD is the PS5's secret weapon, at least according to the Epic Games developers. The PS5 targets a load rate of 5.5 GB/s. In theory, that’s almost 10 times faster than the PS4. To be cost-effective, however, the PS5’s default hard drive will be only 825 GB, rather than a full 1 TB.
Tom's Guide has created a primer on how SSDs work, and how the PS5 might leverage one to significantly reduce load times. While we'll need to see the system in action ourselves before we can draw any hard conclusions, early videos from Ratchet & Clank and similar games suggest that the system could load entire levels within seconds.
Cerny also discussed the PS5’s custom RDNA2 AMD GPU, and the physical construction of the PS5’s CPU. The short version is that the control unit (CU) on the PS5 is 62% larger than the PS4’s, largely due to the amount of transistors present. This means the PS5’s CPU will be able to route more processes, more efficiently.
The GPU will also make use of both ray tracing and primitive shaders, which will affect both power consumption and heat management. Unlike the PS4, on which power consumption can variously tremendously from game to game, the PS5 will try to standardize power consumption for each game and make resources available as needed. This should prevent overheating, as well as excessive fan noise.
One of the most exciting —but also most technically demanding — aspects of the PS5 is its emphasis on 3D audio. Some PC headsets already feature 3D audio, but eventually, Cerny wants the PS5 to deliver 3D audio, regardless of platform: TV speakers, headset or soundbar. The key to 3D audio lies in Head Related Transfer Function, or HRTF. This feature maps out an individual’s hearing based on a sound’s frequency, direction and volume.
A Sony patent suggests that the PS5's 3D audio may also be dynamic, to some degree. The patent describes a "dynamic AI audio" system that responds to player cues in order to gauge a player's emotional state and adjust the music accordingly. This could be anything from changing a piece's tempo, to using a different piece entirely. On the other hand, the PS5 isn't mentioned specifically in the patent, so this could also be more of an experimental idea.
PS5 console and design
Sony revealed the PS5's final design on June 11. The console will come in two styles: an asymmetrical PlayStation 5, and a symmetrical PlayStation 5 Digital Edition. The former has a disc drive, while the latter will play only digital games. As such, the Digital Edition will cost $100 less than its disc-enabled counterpart.
Beyond that, the design is a departure for PlayStation, which has launched with all-black consoles ever since the PS2. The PS5 is a two-tone black-and-white console with a vertical configuration and sloping white fins that cover a rounded black box.
The Tom's Guide staff has mixed opinions on whether this looks futuristic or ridiculous; no doubt, the Internet at large will debate the design until the console comes out, and perhaps even afterward.
We haven't seen the PS5 interface in action yet, although a Reddit leak from a while back supposedly shows us what the PS5 dev kit's menus look like. The interface in this leak is nearly identical to the PS4, although as many users have pointed out, that doesn't necessarily indicate anything about the PS5's menus. Dev kits often use what already works rather than what might look pretty in the future.
Furthermore, a Sony patent application filed in 2018 might tell us a little more about a new addition to the PS5's interface. A "durational information platform" could use pop-up dialogue boxes to tell you how long any given level might take to complete, as well as whether doing so would conflict with any real-world obligations you have. The patent hasn't been granted yet, so this might not be a launch feature, if Sony ever implements it at all.
A separate patent granted to Sony shows us how the PS5 can seamlessly juggle different apps such as games, movies and music. This patent hints at a clean, unified interface that should let you bounce between tasks in seconds, and could act similarly to Microsoft's Quick Resume technology for bouncing between games.
PS5 backwards compatibility
The PS5 will be backwards compatible with most — but perhaps not all — PS4 games. Unlike the PS3, which essentially incorporated a PS2’s guts into early models, the PS5 will run older games via regularized software algorithms. In theory, this means that almost every PS4 game will be compatible with the PS5 right from the get-go. At launch, most of the PS4's 100 most popular games will be playable.
At least one company, EA, has detailed plans for what it calls "Dual Entitlement." If you purchase a copy of Madden 21 or FIFA 21 on the PS4, you can get a free PS5 upgrade for the title. The only catch is that you can't upgrade a PS4 disc purchase if you plan on buying a PS5 Digital Edition. Plan to either buy the game digitally, or procure a PS5 with a disc drive.
It also seems like a variety of big third-party games, including Cyberpunk 2077 and Marvel's Avengers will offer automatic upgrades for players who first purchase the titles on a PS4. Furthermore, the PS5 will be backwards compatible with these games until the optimized next-gen versions come out. Players will almost certainly be able to carry over save files, so there's no real disadvantage to buying these games on a current-gen system, then buying a next-gen console in late 2020.