What We Know About PlayStation 5
Backwards Compatibility Is Confirmed And It Comes With An Added Bonus
The PlayStation 5 is about to make a big change in how it handles games of the last generation. A long-time gripe for PlayStation fans has been how the platform has handled backwards compatibility. The PS2 reached what many would now consider the nirvana of nostalgia where any PS1 game could be popped in the tray and it would just run. The same story could not be said of the PS3. Along came the PS4 and the best we got were remaster bundles of last-gen games available digitally only. A kind of proposition that had you spending money when you have had the game in question sitting right there on your shelf. A further $35 just to play the Jak & Daxter games again was a bit of an ask.
But it is now official – the PlayStation 5 will achieve the same nirvana as its ancestor, the PS2. Although, we won’t be going right the way back through the generations, any PS4 title will run on the PlayStation 5. At least, this is what Lead Architect Mark Cerny currently believes. It’s worth remembering, some games just don’t play nice when it comes to running on next gen hardware, as we saw with selective library of functional Xbox games on the 360.
This backwards compatibility also seems to be a big part of Sony’s strategy in helping people to transition to the next generation. Multiplayer titles will be cross-gen functional. That means half your Warframe clan could upgrade before you and it won’t get in the way of your Saturday night session. So not only can we go on playing with the team, but our existing library of digital downloads will carry a lot more weight right as the PS5 comes out the gate.
8K Resolution With Ray Tracing Will Be Included
In a recent interview with Wired, Lead System Architect Mark Cerny finally opened up on what we can expect from the raw power of the PS5. Cerny spilled the beans on confirmed tech in the PS5 including an eight core processor from AMD’s third generation Ryzen. The graphics chip will be from Radeon’s Navi line. What this basically means is that the PS5 can handle 8K resolution as well as ray tracing.
While ray tracing has had a rocky start for some PC gamers, here’s hoping the Hollywood staple tech will behave itself by the time the PS5 rolls around. As for the 8K situation, a few things remain unclear. Will the PS5 be capable of rendering games at a smooth frame rate at 8K? Or will this lofty resolution scale only output for movies and TV? Besides, tech that runs this resolution at present averages out around $5,000. So even by the time the PS5 comes out, will we all have swanky enough televisions?
Regardless of any reservations we may have at this early stage, some recent footage leaked of Spider-Man running on PS5 hardware (not an actual PS5 mind you). The footage is not ideal, but it’s all we have for now.
Sony's official video comparing performance of PS4 Pro vs next-gen PlayStation pic.twitter.com/2eUROxKFLq
— Takashi Mochizuki (@mochi_wsj) May 21, 2019
SSD to Replace HDD
For those who may be unfamiliar with the tech acronyms, put bluntly, the SSD (Solid State Drive) is an incredibly faster hard drive. It means data transfer can totter along at a much faster rate. For PC gamers, SSDs have been a go-to hard drive for fast load times. The PS4 may have been considered outdated with its HDD (Hard Disk Drive). The PlayStation 5 is finally catching up.
In the same aforementioned Spider-Man demo, running with the SSD, textures and virtual environments could be loaded in just 0.8 seconds. That’s a whopping sixteen times faster than the average load time of fifteen seconds on the PS4! The inclusion of the SSD in the PlayStation 5 may warrant a price hike, however.
The VR Mystery Has Been Answered
Recently, here at KeenGamer, we hypothesised on just what Sony will end up doing in the realm of VR in next gen. We’re rather proud to admit we banged the nail on the head!
Not only will games be backwards compatible but so too will hardware, it seems. The existing PlayStation VR headset will be compatible with PlayStation 5 sockets. This will be a huge relief for headset owners. Until recently we wrestled with the idea of our headsets becoming redundant on PlayStation 5 release. But it doesn’t end there! Sony has some plans for where their VR projects will go next.
In a recent interview with CNet, Global Head of Research and Development for PlayStation, Dominic Mallinson explained his ambitions for next generation VR from Sony. He accepts the pretty obvious need to go wireless. His big goal however is to launch the headset with eye tracking. This would allow VR games to run more smoothly, allowing the game to understand exactly where we may be looking at any time, saving on processing power for things like object detail and rendering.
“That’s the one that excites me the most. I think there will come a point in time in the not-too-distant future when you cannot launch a VR headset without eye tracking… For me it’s a pretty obvious technology”
If the team at Sony R&D manage to pull this off however, it means PSVR 2 will be the only headset on the market to have achieved it. While games will run better, it’ll likely ramp up the cost of the headset and the cost to make it.
We can expect the next generation headset’s resolution to be double that of the existing one. Currently a super weird 960x720 making PSVR2 1920x1440. Also backwards compatibility plays into this wonderfully for existing headset owners. What we shouldn’t expect however, is for PSVR 2 to be bundled with the PlayStation 5 on release day. It simply won’t be ready.
What We Don’t Know About PlayStation 5
PS5 Release Day Titles
The PlayStation 5 has no officially announced titles as of yet. However, the concept of cross-gen titles is no stranger to the console space. Given the current estimated release window of the PS5 being 2020, we can hazard a few guesses as to what those cross-gen titles could be. Bethesda’s Starfield, and The Last of Us: Part II both currently have no release window. This places them in good stead to be high profile console release titles.
On everyone’s mind however, is no doubt Cyberpunk 2077. The next game from Witcher masterminds, CD Projekt Red is highly anticipated and also has no current release date. Sadly, it won’t even be playable at this year’s E3. But in years since the game’s first teaser (released before The Witcher 3’s arrival in 2015!), CD Projekt Red has finally started giving us little tasters. It is often discussed as becoming a system seller of next gen consoles as that 2020 next-gen date looms ever closer. Studio President Adam Kicinski has also stated the game basically has the capability to run on “very advanced hardware”, making it “ready to interface with future generations”. Promising!
“The game is developed in such a way that it can use very powerful future equipment, but I cannot tell you more beyond that today, as no future generation of consoles have been announced so far”
Other games that seem ripe for cross-gen releases include Beyond Good & Evil 2 and Death Stranding (a new lengthy trailer for which has us freshly excited!). Both are titles that seem just a tad too powerful to really sit comfortably on current gen hardware.
PlayStation 5 Release Date
Sadly, it’s still too soon to really know when the next generation will arrive. Many analysts have observed how this generation has ripened to an unusually long lifetime. In light of that, the current estimate is Winter of 2020. Consoles typically release around this time to maximise sales during the holiday season. Analyst in the field, Hideki Yasuda, has made claims in the past that eventually rang true.
He now claims the PS5 will release in November of 2020 and sell around 6 million units in its first year. It’ll then, he claims, go on to sell a further 15 million in the following year. Sony on the other hand, has confirmed the console definitely will not release prior to April of 2020. We can start to see the release window narrowing. When we’ll know for sure is totally unclear. No announcements have been made as to when we may hear something. PlayStation has confirmed it will not be attending E3 this year. We can hope it will be around the time of June as they will no doubt host their own event around the E3 period. At the very latest, it’ll be around the middle of next year.