Don’t expect a surprise release this year.
PS5 lead system architect Mark Cerny has shown off some of the internal components of the next-generation PlayStation – which he is technically not currently calling PlayStation 5 - which will include a high-spec solid state drive, a GPU capable of supporting ray tracing, will support PS4 backwards compatibility, and won’t be download-only.
In a meeting with Wired, Cerny also explained that the console would definitely not be released in 2019, and demonstrated why this is a true next-generation machine, rather than a PS4 upgrade in the vein of the PS4 Pro.
Cerny explained that the console’s CPU is a variant of the AMD Ryzen third generation, and that its GPU is a custom version of Radeon’s Navi line. That GPU is capable of ray tracing, a high-performance graphical technique with some incredible results. As you’d expect, the console will also support 8K displays.
Cerny also showed off the power of the console’s new solid state drive (SSD) with a practical demo. According to Wired, fast-travelling between locations in Insomniac’s Spider-Man on a PS4 Pro took 15 seconds. Using a next-gen PlayStation devkit, the same action took 0.8 seconds.
We also finally get confirmation that the console will still accept physical media, rather than taking a download-only or streaming-only form. That ties into another aspect – it will be backwards-compatible with PS4 games, although we don’t know if it goes any further back through the generations than that. The current PSVR model will also be compatible with the new console.
Cerny also covers the fact that the new AMD CPU will allow for a 3D audio with no extra hardware. “With the next console,” he explained, “the dream is to show how dramatically different the audio experience can be when we apply significant amounts of hardware horsepower to it.”
Much is still up in the air after the demonstration. On a surface level, there’s no sense of what the final console will look like, nor what form its controllers will take. We know that Sony plans for some games to be released for PS4 and the next-gen console, but not what they are (although there’s some suggestion that Death Stranding may fall into this category).