Believe it or not, it has already been 5 years since the PlayStation 4 was first released.
Recently, the internet rumor mill has been actively churning out speculation about Sony’s next-generation console. We’ve read through it all and have distilled the juiciest of rumors floating around so you can get a general idea of what to expect - and when.
Last Updated: April 2019
Sony Confirms "Next-Gen Console"
Mark Cerny, who served as Sony's lead system architect for the PlayStation 4, delivered the first details about Sony's next video game console in an interview with Wired.
Although he didn't share the system's name - he only referred to it as the "next-gen console" - he did, however, confirm that it has entirely new hardware that will support 8K graphics, 3D audio, and that it'll be backwards-compatible with existing PlayStation 4 games.
It has entirely new hardware that will support 8K graphics, 3D audio, and it'll be backwards-compatible with existing PlayStation 4 games.
Unfortunately, according to Cerny, the PS4's successor won't be landing in stores anytime in 2019. The good news is that a number of game studios have been actively working with devkits, so we have high hopes that a 2020 launch is possible.
Cerny said that the upcoming console will have an eight-core CPU based on the third generation of AMD’s Ryzen line. On top of that, it’ll contain eight cores of the company’s new 7nm Zen 2 microarchitecture.
As for its GPU, you can expect a custom GPU derived from AMD’s Radeon Navi hardware. The graphics chip will bring ray-tracing graphics to a video game console for the first time.
What does all that mumbo-jumbo mean for you? Next-generation games will have cinema-quality special effects, with even more lifelike graphics and soundscapes to offer you a much more immersive experience.
Next-generation games will have cinema-quality special effects, with even more lifelike graphics and soundscapes to offer you a much more immersive experience.
Speaking of immersion, Cerny didn’t go into details of Sony’s VR strategy, beyond saying that VR is “very important” to Sony and that the current PSVR headset will be compatible with its next console.
One of the biggest changes coming to the PlayStation 5 is that Sony will replace its hard drive with an SSD (finally!) This will greatly improve load times and speed up gameplay - especially when fast traveling to new, and previously explored worlds in your games.
Just because the PS5 will have a larger and faster SSD doesn’t mean games will all be digital downloads. Cerny said the console will still accept physical media, meaning it won’t be a download-only console like Microsoft’s new disc-less Xbox One S.
With all these exciting new details, you’re probably wondering, “How much is this going to cost, me?” Big surprise, Sony hasn’t made a peep about pricing just yet! But Peter Rubin, the senior reporter who published Wired’s interview with Cerny, tweeted some notes about pricing that didn’t make his story. You can check out his tweetstorm below. And as soon as we get more details about the PlayStation 5, we’ll report back and update this piece!
So: this didn't make it into my PlayStation story, but given how much people are speculating about the Sony console's price (esp given the SSD/chip combo), thought I should probably give a tiny little bit of interview transcript on it. (1/2)- Peter Rubin (@provenself) April 16, 2019
Me: Meaning that it may cost a bit more but what you're getting is well worth it?@cerny: That's about all I can say about it.- Peter Rubin (@provenself) April 16, 2019
Last Updated: March 2019
Sony May Have Already Teased the PS5
Sony has mostly been tight-lipped in regard to the PlayStation 5. But CEO Kenichiro Yoshida did tell the Financial Times in an interview last October that “It’s necessary to have a next-generation hardware.”
In the same piece, sources close to Sony were cited as saying that the next console “might not represent a major departure from the PS4, and that the fundamental architecture would be similar,” meaning there may not be a major redesign for the new console.
There are rumors, though, that the new console is going by the internal code name "Erebus,” who in Greek mythology is the god of darkness and one of the first five beings in existence. While that’s not exactly hard proof, Sony does seem to have a certain affinity for Greek mythology: The PlayStation 4 was codenamed Orbis and the PlayStation VR was codenamed Morpheus. One of Sony’s most well-known franchises, God of War, even has a Greek God as its protagonist.
There's no word on if it'll actually be called the PlayStation 5, but some say Sony has teased the name on a PlayStation 4 holiday theme it sent out to gamers who claim the letter "S" in the word Playstation looks a lot like the number "5.”
No Official Word on a Release Date Yet
Sony still hasn’t confirmed a concrete release date for its next game console. PlayStation head John Kodera did tell the Wall Street Journal in May 2018, however, that Sony will “use the next three years to prepare the next step,” which puts the PlayStation 5 on track for a launch somewhere around 2021.
Additionally, tech reporters have quoted Kodera as saying that the PS4 is reaching the final phase of its life cycle.
PS chief Kodera: PS4 is entering final phase of its life cycle, which would have negative impact to the unit, but recurring revenue via membership services etc should cushion some of that.- Takashi Mochizuki (@mochi_wsj) May 22, 2018
As they say, history does oftentimes repeat itself. The PS4 came out in late 2013, 7 years after the PS3 was released. The PS3 launched almost 7 years after the PS2 did, too. So, there’s a chance we could see the PlayStation 5 as soon as the 2020 holiday season.
Sony has been busy recently, though, having launched the PlayStation 4 Pro - a 4K-supported PS4 - and a smaller PlayStation 4 Slim in November 2016 to replace the original PS4. So, there’s a chance that could buy Sony more time to delay the launch until 2021 after its fiscal year ends in the spring. A longer launch window isn’t unheard of, either, since the Xbox One came 8 years after the Xbox 360.
Jason Schreier, an author and news editor at Kotaku and who is well-connected with game developers, said his sources claim the PlayStation 5 is still “a ways off” and it may not arrive until 2020.
PS5 Still Expected to Use Game Discs
Although it’s probably been a while since you last purchased a DVD or Blu-ray disc - thanks to streaming apps like Netflix - we think that the PlayStation 5 will still have physical games.
Kodera’s predecessor, Andrew House, said in April 2018 that he expects publishers to continue shipping physical disc-based games for the foreseeable future, despite the newfound presence of cloud-streaming games, such as those on the PlayStation Now platform.
You can almost certainly expect that subscriptions and online services will play a key role in the next PlayStation console. Especially given that Microsoft is making moves of its own in cloud gaming, with its newly announced Project xCloud game streaming platform.
New PS5-Exclusive Games Are Coming
Whatever games we see on Sony’s next-gen console, they're likely to break new ground in terms of realism, detail, and graphics capabilities thanks to advances in game design and the PlayStation 5’s assumed extra processing power.
There isn’t a confirmed list of launch titles for the PlayStation 5 just yet, although Newsweek recently posted a list of games you can expect to see. All we know for certain is Sony will probably launch new multiplayer titles for its new console.
Shawn Layden, chairman of Sony Interactive Entertainment Worldwide Studios, told Business Insider he expects that local multiplayer and couch co-ops are areas where you will likely see Sony "start to make more noise in the new term."
“[Previously,] we've been going really heavy into story-driven gaming. The power of the narrative. Big, spectacular experiences. But not a whole lot in the multiplayer side of things,” he said.
There’s still no word on if game developers have devkits in hand for making games for Sony’s next console. The Witcher 3’s developer, CD Projekt Red, has been working on a new game called Cyberpunk 2077. Last year, studio representatives gave a presentation about the game and one of its slides had the phrase “Rich, true-to-life visuals built on current and next generation technology.” Presumably, the game will be available on the new PlayStation 5 console.
Polyphony Digital CEO and producer of the Grand Turismo series, Kazunori Yamauchi, also made a comment during a studio tour that made it seem like work has already begun on next-gen games. He said that his team is "building for future versions of the console rather than the one we see today.”
It also appears as though most of Sony’s internal development teams have changed gears and the PlayStation 4 is no longer their main priority, especially given that they won’t even be present at the E3 conference this year.
That’s not to say there aren’t exciting new games in the works for the PS4 and PS4 Pro. Plenty of exclusive titles are in the pipeline, including Days Gone, Death Stranding, Ghost of Tsushima, and The Last of Us Part II. There’s just an increased likelihood that some of these major games will be cross-platform titles that work on both the new and newly outdated consoles.
Backing up this claim is industry analyst Daniel Ahmad, who said that the second half of 2019 is still “in flux” for Sony and that only a few unannounced games would be coming to the PS4, and that most of the focus is on the PlayStation 5.
Even further substantiating it was a recent report by the GDC's State of the Game Industry, which found that 18% of game developers are already working on games that will play on the next generation of consoles.
Backwards Compatibility Is Likely
Sony has filed some patents which suggest that the upcoming console will be backward compatible with not just PS4 games, but PS1, PS2, and PS3 titles as well. This is no surprise, since Microsoft flaunts backward compatibility as a major feature of its Xbox platform. We think it makes total sense for Sony to step up its game and allow gamers to play their existing collection of games.
There has also been a few patents that suggest the DualShock 5 wireless controller will have a touchscreen. Many expect the PlayStation 5 to have improved VR support, better processors, and more storage space, but those are all the rumors we’ve heard at this time.
We expect to hear more murmurs about the PlayStation 5 on March 18 when the video game industry will gather in San Francisco for the Game Developers Conference.
We will continue to update this post with new information as soon as we hear it!
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