It's almost time: the PS5 and the Xbox Series X will finally be available to the general public later this year. The PS5 has been shrouded in secrecy for so long, we're desperate for any information we can get on Sony's console.
However, bit by bit, Sony has been revealing its PS5 secrets. A PS5 event is officially scheduled for June 4, in which Sony will take us through the PS5 games we can expect to see in 2020 and beyond.
Before this, An official PlayStation 5 event took us "under the hood" on the PS5's specs and features, livestreamed on the PlayStation Blog and YouTube. Shortly after that, Sony unveiled the DualSense, a next-generation controller with advanced features (more on those later) designed to replace Sony's tried-and-true DualShock design. Most recently, the PS5's gameplay capabilities were revealed as Epic Games showcased its Unreal Engine 5.
Without further ado, you can find a full rundown of what's been revealed from the Sony camp so far, followed by all the leaks, rumours and cryptic influences you've seen to date.
Sony PS5 release date
Having previously said that there will be no PS5 before May 2020, Sony has now confirmed that the PlayStation 5 is going to arrive in November or December 2020 – just in time for the holiday shopping season. A recent leak claiming PS5 was coming in October 2020 was quickly shot down by Sony. Respected Sony analyst Hideki Yasuda has previously pegged the launch date of the PS5 as November 2020.
In terms of when we will actually get to see the console, well, that was called by many respected commentators, and even by famous God of War developer David Jaffe, as taking place in February 2020 at a PlayStation event in New York City, which was inaccurate. The latest PS5 reveal date prediction, floated by notable games journalist Jeff Grubb, is June 4.
Sony PS5 price
When the PS5 does finally break cover, how much is it going to set you back? Is it going to be worth the investment?
Well, the most recent prediction on the PS5 price is that it will cost $499 in the U.S. and £449 in the UK. And that figure tallies up with respected analyst predictions of a $499 price point from last year. It's still just a rumour, though, but it's one we've heard from several sources.
Is that price going to be accurate, though, and will it be a success for Sony? First, consider the cost of PlayStations past – the PlayStation 4 originally debuted for £349.99/$399.99 and when it was reinvented as the PS4 Slim it began selling for £259.99/$299.99 and up.
The more powerful PlayStation 4 Pro, on the other hand, launched with a price of £349.99/$399.99, matching the original PS4 on that score – though you can now get all kinds of bundle offers and discounts on various flavours of the PS4 console.
All three of those PS4 consoles have enjoyed strong sales to date.
Go back a bit further, though, and gamers will no-doubt remember that the Sony PS3 originally went on sale in the U.S. at a whopping $600, and at an equally steep £425 in the UK, which at the time was even more expensive than it sounds today.
And, to be very clear, that console did not sell well out of the gate, not at all. But it gets worse Danish retailer føtex currently has the console listed for 6,989 Danish krone, which is around $1043/ £837. That's more than double the rumoured price, and is incredibly expensive!
However, we've had several readers contact us to mention Danish gamers pay premiums for technology, meaning the price may not be reflective of the final product. As such, the big question is whether Sony can hit the £449.99/$499.99 price point or lower with the PlayStation 5.
We'd say it's more likely that the final PS5 price will be £449.99, rising to £499.99 with a game included, though Sony will of course want to keep the hardware as affordable as it can for gamers and protect that huge install base lead it currently has.
Speaking of affordability, there is a rumour that the PS5 might well be followed by an all-digital, download and streaming focused console (like the next Xbox Series is expected to). Microsoft launched its all-digital, disc-less Xbox One S don't forget, and an all-digital PS5 model might follow suit.
Sony PS5 Specs: Official breakdown
In the PlayStation 5 specs reveal below, first broadcast in March 2020, lead system architect Mark Cerny took to the stage and spoke about console design. The end result was a thoroughly comprehensive breakdown of the PS5's innards, but it was mostly geared towards developers.
This means we had no new footage, nor did we receive any new design information, not even a shot of the console. However, the game creation possibilities of the tech Cerny debuted set tongues wagging. Below, you can find a comprehensive breakdown of the most important PS5 technical details.
Sony PS5 specs: Solid state drive
The number one ask by developers with PS5 was a solid state drive, and Sony delivered. Reducing "dead time", such loading screens and corridor level designs, to zero is important for Cerny's team, and the solid state drive is able to deliver. 1GB is roughly 20 seconds to load from a hard disc drive, according to Cerny. This is why load times on PS4 can be rough, while 2GB can reportedly be loaded in 0.27 seconds on an SSD. This means there will be no loading screens. For proof, the PS4 Spider-Man game loaded approximately eighteen times faster on PS5.
The primary reason for an ultra fast SSD, though, isn't just about loading times. It is about giving developers freedom when creating games — you don't want loading screens getting in the way of awesome virtual worlds. You also have hard limits imposed on the player in the game, who can't move faster than the HDD dictates.
SSD's improve game patch installs, too. The SSD on the PS5 is, according to Cerny, 100x faster. There is Custom Flash Controller in the PS5 to help this, to ensure no bottlenecks. Priority requests are very important in games, and this controller helps deliver these. 5.5GB/s is the bandwidth the PS5 is capable of — nice!
The Sony PS5 is going to support external hard disc drives. Cerny also confirms that the Sony PS5 will support modular M2 SSD drives, meaning people can increase their storage. These SSDs need to be as fast as the stock PS5 SSD though to work, so 5.5GB/s. M2 PCIe 4.0 SSDs are coming that support up to 7GB/s. However, Cerny says don't buy an M2 drive until later in the year to ensure compatibility.
Sony PS5 specs: Graphics and audio
Graphical Processing Units, or GPUs are up next. The PS5 GPU needs to be backwards-compatible with PlayStation 4 games, which it can do thanks to some awesome work from AMD. It is a custom RDNA 2 chip from AMD, which is optimised for performance. We have our own needs for PlayStation, says Cerny, and AMD helped with this when working on PS5.
The PS5's custom chips has the logic and feature set that the PS4 and PS4 Pro used, meaning that backwards compatibility is definitely in the new console.They tested the top 100 games played on PS4 by play time and they all ran perfectly on PS5. That's great news!
The PS5 has a new Geometry Engine and inter-section engine, which is all about the PS5's ray tracing abilities. Cerny says ray tracing will be available, enhancing audio, global illumination, shadows, reflections and more.
Speaking of audio, Cerny is all about the importance of audio in games. The goals for audio on PS5 was to create a great audio experience for all gamers, using presence and locality to place you in the game using volume changes and phase shifts.
The PS5 is packing a custom 3D audio unit. Tempest 3D AudioTech is the official name for the idea, and the hardware is called the Tempest Engine.
It has SPU-like architecture and GPU parallelism, meaning it can deal with complex audio processing and, crucially, can generate 3D audio affects for all gamers, regardless of how they are listening (headphones, soundbar, TV speakers etc).
Sony PS5 specs: Power, heat and more
For PS4 they tried to model for a worst case scenario in terms of heat and power draw. This works if the console is quiet and cool while playing, and doesn't if it is hot and loud.
On PS5 Sony has gone a different direction. It has a variable frequency strategy, which means the CPU and GPU are permanently run in boost mode, but the frequency changes. This means the power draw doesn't change, so the PS5 is always running at maximum capacity: as such, Sony doesn't need to guess at the worst case scenario in terms of power draw in games going forward.
However, Cerny only made a very brief reference to the cooling system, leading some rumours to suggests the system's problems is one of the reasons for the announcement delay.
The GPU is capped at 2.23 GHz, which translates as 10.3 teraflops of gaming power. The CPU on the PS5 is capped at 3.5GHz.
Sony PS5 specs: Unreal Engine 5 demonstration (the end result)
So we can take what we've learned here and apply it to real life, Epic Games released a small clip of an unnamed tech demo using the Unreal Engine 5, which is coming in 2021.
What you're about to see is this demonstration of gameplay running real-time on the PS5, giving a glimpse of what might be possible for next-gen consoles:
Cool, huh? The new Nanite geometry system allows for "sub-pixel geometry", providing incredible detail to be rendered almost imperceptible to the human eye. Just like real life. Combined with the confirmed support for up to 8K graphics, and it's clear the PS5 is going to look incredible.
"We wanted to empower creators to create photorealistic scenes indistinguishable from reality" says Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games.
The sub-zero pixel detail means fine detail is imperceptible until your avatar moves closer in real-time, with the PS5's massive solid-state drive able to provide all that information straight away rather than loading it separately.
The "Lumen" system, which is said to create accurate bounce lighting, also creates an additional element of realism, aided by that incredible ray-tracing.
This was a real broadside blow to Microsoft's Xbox Series X, which got lambasted for hosting a much-hyped "gameplay trailer" stream mostly consisting of in-engine cinematics. Epic Games' Tim Sweeney reassuring gamers this was how next-gen consoles would look in action felt like a subtle jab to Microsoft.
Sony PS5: DualSense controller
In April, Sony unveiled its new DualSense controller, a curved, ergonomic replacement to the classic DualShock design. The two-tone controller presumably reflects Sony's as-yet-unrevealed final PS5 design, and concept artists have been having fun creating PS5 renders that match the gamepad's slick aesthetics.
One of the controller's big USPs is the haptic feedback technology, which allows the triggers to become more or less resistant depending on which in-game tasks you're using it for. Elsewhere, the controller has been made lighter and the rechargeable battery will be able to go for longer.
The Share button, which Microsoft has kept, has been scrapped in favour of a “Create” button. No details have been released on what the Create functionality actually does, but most pundits report it'll be an extension of the Share feature, perhaps with in-built editing tools for social gamers and streamers to take advantage of.
A built-in microphone completes the new features, allowing you to chat to your contacts without a headset. However, it's suggested the battery will drain considerably while using the built-in mic and speaker for prolonged periods. The net is awash with great-looking mods for the new gamepads, but after seeing Sony's new design direction for the first time here, we're anxious to get a look at the accompanying console.
Although this controller is two-tone, a teaser image for the June 4 games stream reveals an imperious black controller, skewing much closer to the classic PS4 and PS3 design. Which of the colourways is your favourite?
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Sony PS5 design
The most recent depictions of the PS5 console we've seen are reflective of the DualSense, with the two-tone design of the all-new gamepad giving us a “sense” what PS5 could look like. We've seen renders from people all around the net increase exponentially as the DualSense was unveiled.
Gamer Dan Kuhl showed off a system he had built in the PS4 creation game Dreams based off what has been widely reported as the PlayStation 5 devkit. The devkit first emerged in a Sony patent last year, and since then has been used as the basis for many concept renders and console designs. The most famous devkit render comes courtesy of LetsGoDigital. It's kind of shaped like a Roman numeral V for 5, so make of that what you will.
Unfortunately we don't have insider access to Sony's design or engineering departments, but computing components continue to get faster, thinner, and smaller, so we'd be very surprised if the finished PS5 design was anywhere near that large and chunky.
Devkits famously look nothing like the finished system in most console cases, so even if that devkit is genuine, the PlayStation 5 will almost certainly not look like it.
It goes without saying that overall the PS5 should be smaller and sleeker, but even with increases in broadband speeds and the rise of streaming, we don't expect the PS5 to go all-in on the cloud and shrink down to a tiny Blu-ray box set size – even with Google Stadia now on the scene.
Microsoft has now shown the world exactly what the Xbox Series X will look like, which is taking on a more novel tower design, so now the ball is very much back into Sony's court. If we were to hazard a guess, though, then we think the Japanese maker will play it much safer, as it is coming from a position of market dominance and will want to make the transition for PS4 gamers as easy and as familiar as possible.
Sony PS5 games
Top-tier PS5 games are sure to play a huge part in the launch of the PlayStation 5, whenever it happens to be. PS5 development kits have been in the hands of some game studios for a while (see Sony's own Bend Studio advertising a job calling for next-gen game console experience), and we're about to see plenty of them in action on June 4. But what are we going to see during this highly secretive stream?
As we get into 2020, it now seems clear that all the Sony first-party games studios are now fully focused on the PS5, which means we should expect a solid suite of PS5 games come the console's launch window. On top of some brand new titles, it sounds like some existing games will get PlayStation 5 updates as well.
The first game to get an official confirmation that it will be coming out as a PS5 exclusive is Godfall. A 74-second video trailer used by the game's maker, Counterplay Games, shows how the game looked and ran at the start of 2019.
Also, based on a slip of the tongue from a Horizon Zero Dawn voice actor, it sounds as though a sequel to that PS4 smash hit is on the way. Horizon Zero Dawn 2 could well be one of the tentpole titles that launches alongside the PlayStation 5. A God of War sequel might well show up too.
Elsewhere, Call of Duty: Black Ops 5 and Call of Duty Warzone, Fortnite, Ghost of Tsushima , Final Fantasy VII Remake, The Elder Scrolls VI, Spider-Man 2, The Lord of the Rings: Gollum, Sniper Elite 5, Assassin's Creed: Kingdom, Uncharted 5, Dragon Age 4 and more are currently slated to be getting PS5 launches.
Comments from Sony Chief Executive Officer Kenichiro reported by the Wall Street Journal suggest that the PS5 will focus on top-tier AAA games rather than indie titles in an attempt to appeal to hardcore gamers – though we hope both blockbusters and indies will be supported by the console.
Mark Cerny confirmed PS5 will be able to run "almost all" PS4 games, confirming the new console will be backwards compatible to some extent. This means you won't have to throw out all your PS4 discs when your shiny new console turns up. However, it's based on PS5 not being able to incorporate the entirety of the PS4 architecture, so the games that won't run on the new console remain a mystery.
In fact, some older rumours suggest you'll be able to play any existing PlayStation game for any of the PS consoles, although that's looking increasingly unlikely. Sony itself has confirmed that PS4 gamers will be able to play against PS5 gamers too, so you can stay friends with players who haven't yet upgraded.
Let's not forget game streaming and online play either either. All the indications are that PlayStation Now will get an upgrade with the PS5, and that streaming games over-the-web is likely to at least be a part of the PlayStation 5 experience, no matter which model of the console you end up going for.
We're also hearing that there might be a feature called PlayStation Assist, which uses artificial intelligence to guide you out of tight spots whenever you get stuck. That should make gaming less frustrating for some of us, at least.
Polish game publisher CD Projekt Red has already said it's working on games with an eye on the next generation of consoles, which makes us think that Cyberpunk 2077 or something like it might be one of the first titles to hit the PS5, which is why we included it in our list PS5 games we're looking forward to play.
E3 has given us a host of other upcoming titles that are likely to make it to Sony's next-generation games console: The Elder Scrolls 6, the intriguing-sounding Starfield, and Beyond Good & Evil 2.
Flagship games don't come much bigger than the Grand Theft Auto series, and considering GTA V came out in 2013 for the PlayStation 3 (later getting an update for the PS4), is it too much to hope that 2019 might be the year when Grand Theft Auto VI turns up?
Whatever games we see, they're likely to break new ground in terms of realism and detail, thanks to the extra power of the PS5 and advances in software design. Those in the know say we're not far off having games that look as good as the best Hollywood blockbusters, and that get rendered in real time.
There's good news for cross-platform compatibility too: Sony exec Shawn Layden has said that we're heading into a post-console world, where devices from Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo are more tightly integrated than ever before.
Sony PS5: other rumours
There are plenty of other rumours swirling about the Sony PlayStation 5. We've touched on virtual reality already, and it's highly probable that Sony is working on version 2 of its PlayStation VR headset – this time though, all the necessary hardware should be built into the PS5, so you won't need an extra box between headset and console.
Let's not forget, too, that Mark Cerny himself has confirmed that the original PSVR headset will be compatible with the PS5.
There's talk that the PlayStation Now streaming service is in line for an update at the same time as the PlayStation 5 arrives, but as yet we're not sure everyone has the broadband capacity to stream 4K games into their living rooms.
Based on comments made by a former PlayStation boss, we're going to see physical discs remain part of the console experience for the next generation of hardware. According to the CEO of Ubisoft, we're going to see one more generation of traditional consoles before everything switches to the cloud.
That doesn't mean Sony won't dabble in it though – it's partnered with an unlikely ally in Microsoft to work on next-generation streaming services. Expect a 'Netflix-for-games' platform to be among your options when the PS5 comes out. A cloud-based new PSP is also rumoured to debut as a companion console.
However, considering that Sony is currently exploring and developing blockchain technology, a technology that has gaming applications, the PS5 could also usher in a new age of second hand digital game sales and trades. The idea that a gamer could lend or trade a digitally purchased game licence is really exciting to us here at T3, and could finally help the industry move on from physical media.
Sony PS5: Xbox Series X beater?
Now that, for many gamers, is the million dollar question. Xbox boss Phil Spencer has said that Xbox Series X will "set the benchmark for console gaming", and normally when you set a benchmark that means you have the most powerful set of results.
Key there, though, is just how the benchmark is set. Is it pure hardware numbers ripped from proprietary, in-house testing software? Is it how smooth games run in terms of framerate, or how crisp they are displayed in terms of resolution? Or, for example, is it how slick and game-filled they are in terms of ecosystem? Or how easy it is for developers to tap into that hardware (let's not forget how the Sega Saturn's difficult architecture contributed to its fast downfall).
Because, this is the thing, raw specs does not win a console generation. Console generations are won by games, and more specifically where gamers play their games. This is what Sony in the outgoing generation absolutely nailed it and, weirdly for a company that once did this perfectly with the Xbox 360, Microsoft completely dropped the ball with the Xbox One.
The PS4 range of consoles has gone on to sell twice as many systems as the Xbox One family of consoles because it focussed on delivering games, games and more games to its users. Sony's focus on games and huge library of titles, specifically exclusives, during the PS4 era was absolutely first rate, and this meant that despite the Xbox One X technically being the king of consoles in terms of hardware specs and capabilities, overall Xbox still lost out to PlayStation.
Remember that push by Microsoft about Live TV and Kinect control, about how the Xbox One was going to be the hardware powerhouse media centre that would sit at the heart of all gamers' setups? It didn't matter one jot when it came to the crunch, and that crunch was what games could be played on the system, and how much it would cost to play them.
As such, while we think it fair to say that the Xbox Series X will, from what we've heard in the next-gen console rumour mill, will technically have the most impressive specs of the next-gen consoles, the difference will actually be very minor and, in the grand scheme of things, won't make that much difference anyway.
The PS5 should find it very easy to get the Xbox Series X beaten during both console's launch windows purely due to install base transference, and it should also carry a little momentum, too, from PlayStation VR, which even to this day Xbox cannot counter. Long-term, though, whether or not the PlayStation 5 wins the next-gen console war against Xbox Series X will largely be determined on ecosystem offerings, as well as how well all traditional console makers fend of the advance of new game-streaming services like Google Stadia.