The PlayStation 5 (PS5) is an upcoming home video game console developed by Sony Interactive Entertainment. Announced in 2019 as the successor to the PlayStation 4, it is scheduled to launch on November 12, 2020 in North America, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea, and on November 19, 2020 for the rest of the world.
|Also known as||PS5 (abbreviation)|
|Developer||Sony Interactive Entertainment|
|Type||Home video game console|
|Release date||North America, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore, South Korea|
November 12, 2020
Rest of the world
November 19, 2020
China, South America
|Introductory price||Base / Digital |
|Media||Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray, DVD, digital distribution|
|CPU||Custom 8-core AMD Zen 2,|
variable frequency, up to 3.5 GHz
|Memory||16 GB GDDR6 SDRAM|
|Storage||Custom 825 GB SSD|
|Removable storage||Internal (user upgradeable) NVMe M.2 SSD, or external USB-based HDD|
|Display||Video output formats HDMI: 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p, 4K UHD, 8K UHD|
|Graphics||Custom AMD RDNA 2,|
36 CUs @ variable frequency up to 2.23 GHz
|Sound||Custom Tempest Engine 3D Audio|
|Controller input||DualSense, DualShock 4, PlayStation Move|
|Online services||PlayStation Network|
|Dimensions||Base: 390 mm × 260 mm × 104 mm (15.4 in × 10.2 in × 4.1 in)|
Digital: 390 mm × 260 mm × 92 mm (15.4 in × 10.2 in × 3.6 in)
|Mass||Base: 4.5 kilograms (9.9 lb)|
Digital: 3.9 kilograms (8.6 lb)
|Almost all PlayStation 4 and PlayStation VR games|
The platform will launch in two varieties: a base model with an Ultra HD Blu-ray compatible optical disc drive, and a Digital Edition lacking this drive, serving as a lower-cost variant for consumers who prefer to buy games through digital download.
The PlayStation 5 has a solid-state drive customized for high-speed data streaming to enable significant improvements in graphical performance. It has a custom AMD GPU capable of ray tracing, 4K resolution display at up to 120 frames per second, 3D audio effects, and backward compatibility with most PlayStation 4 and PlayStation VR games.
The first news of the PlayStation 5 came from lead architect Mark Cerny, in an interview with Wired magazine in April 2019. In early 2019, Sony's financial report for the quarter ending March 31, 2019, affirmed that new next-generation hardware was in development but would ship no earlier than April 2020. In a second Wired magazine interview in October 2019, Sony said it intends to ship its next-generation console worldwide by the end of 2020. The current hardware specifications were released in October 2019. At CES 2020, Sony unveiled the official logo for the platform, which follows the similar minimalist styling of the previous PlayStation consoles and brand. Full specifications were given in an online presentation by Cerny and published by Sony and Digital Foundry on March 18, 2020. Digital Foundry spoke with Cerny in detail and published a "deep dive" on April 2.
A major game library showcase had been planned for June 4, 2020, but was postponed until June 11 due to the George Floyd protests. This presentation also premiered the external hardware design.
The PlayStation 5 is powered by a custom 7nm AMD Zen 2 CPU with eight cores running at a variable frequency capped at 3.5 GHz. The GPU is also a custom unit based on AMD's RDNA 2 graphics architecture. It has 36 compute units running at a variable frequency capped at 2.23 GHz and is capable of 10.28 teraflops. The GPU supports hardware accelerated real-time ray tracing. Both processing units are monitored by a special boost system incorporating AMD's SmartShift technology that adjusts the frequency of these systems based on the current activities of both chips, to target ideal constant power drawn and a model SoC performance profile. For example, if the CPU is running at lower activity, the boost system may reduce its frequency and increase the frequency of the GPU for higher performance without otherwise affecting power use or cooling. The cooling system includes a large double-sided cooling fan for air intake that is 120mm in diameter and 45mm thick, and a large heat sink with a standard heat pipe design that Sony says has a "shape and airflow [which] make it possible to achieve the same performance as a vapor chamber". SoC cooling includes a liquid metal thermal conductor which sits between the SoC and heat sink. The system contains a 350-watt power supply. Sony developed the PlayStation 5 to consume less energy than the PlayStation 4 for suspended gameplay states.
The console has a new audio technology called Tempest Engine, allowing hundreds of simultaneous sound sources compared to 50 for the PlayStation 4. It has 16 GB of GDDR6 SDRAM with a bandwidth of 448 GB/s, Bluetooth 5.1, and 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6).
The console's form factor was revealed during the June 11, 2020 presentation. The launch unit is a two-tone design matching the design of the DualSense controller, with a black internal block flanked by two white wings along its sides, each lit by blue LEDs. These wings are removable to access certain internal components such as a PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD storage expansion slot, the power supply, and the optional Blu-ray disc drive. Beneath the side panels are two "dust catchers" – holes allowing the user to vacuum out dust collected by the cooling system. The unit can operate vertically or horizontally. In its vertical orientation, two long vents for air intake run along the sides of the front, and heat exhaust vents take up much of the back of the console. The front bezels include the optional Blu-ray drive opening and one USB-A and USB-C port each. Sony President Jim Ryan stated that the new games and hardware design were intended to be "transformational in how they look, sound, and feel". He stated that more colors than white and black may be available after launch. The Blu-ray version has dimensions of 390 by 260 by 104 millimetres (15.4 in × 10.2 in × 4.1 in) and 4.5 kilograms (9.9 lb), and the download-only version is slightly slimmer, at 390 by 260 by 92 millimetres (15.4 in × 10.2 in × 3.6 in) and 3.9 kilograms (8.6 lb). The front includes a USB-C port with USB 3.0 and a USB-A port with USB 2.0. The back has two USB-A ports with USB 3.0, an HDMI 2.1 port, Gigabit Ethernet, and power.
Ryan stated that their feasibility research into a "low priced, reduced spec" version concluded that such consoles do not fare well, becoming obsolete too fast.
The internal storage of the PlayStation 5 is a custom-built 825 GB SSD with a 12-channel interface, achieving a raw throughput of 5.5 GB/s. This atypical drive size was found to be optimal for the 12-channel pathway rather than a more common 512 GB or 1 TB unit. With a dedicated decompression unit supporting zlib and the new Oodle Kraken protocol from RAD Game Tools, the unit has a typical throughput of 8–9 GB/s. Mark Cerny stated that a fast SSD was the top request from game developers so the goal not only was to have a theoretical raw read speed 100 times faster than PS4, but to eliminate input/output (I/O) bottleneck points so the performance target could be made effective. To this end, Sony designed a custom chip with multiple coprocessors to work in unison with the flash memory controller to reduce latency and channel data more efficiently around the system. At peak, the custom unit is capable of processing up to 22 GB/s of compressible data.
Storage for games is expandable through an NVM Express (NVMe) M.2 port for Solid-state storage, and USB hard drives. Though game installation is mandatory, the user has some fine-grained control of which components to install, such as only multiplayer. The base console version includes a 4K-compatible Ultra HD Blu-ray optical drive.
The new DualSense wireless controller for the PlayStation 5 was revealed on April 7, 2020. It is based on the prior DualShock controller but with modifications influenced by discussions with game designers and players. The DualSense controller has adaptive triggers with haptic feedback through voice coil actuators that can change the resistance to the player as necessary, supporting experiences such as virtually drawing an arrow from a bow. The DualSense maintains most of the same buttons as the DualShock 4, and the "Share" button was renamed to "Create" with additional means for players to create and share content. A new built-in microphone array was added so players can speak to others using only the controller, and the included controller speaker has been improved. It has two-tone coloring, primarily white with black facing. The light bar has been moved to the sides of the touchpad. It has USB-C connectivity, a higher-rated battery, and an audio jack.
Accessories include a charging station for the DualSense, a new HD camera, and a media remote control. The Pulse 3D wireless headset is integrated with the PS5's Tempest Engine 3D audio technology.
PS5 is backward compatible with most existing PS4 controllers and accessories for PS4 games only—some with limited functionality. Rock Band peripherals are supported since Rock Band 2. PS5 games can use the existing PlayStation Move, the PlayStation Camera, the PlayStation VR Aim Controller, officially licensed headsets, and specialty controllers with official licenses like flight sticks and racing wheel.
The PlayStation 5's redesigned user interface is characterized by Sony as "accessible and informative", providing real-time updates of friends' activities, available multiplayer activities, and single-player missions and rewards. Cerny stated "we don't want the player to have to boot the game, see what's up, boot the game, see what's up", so all of these options are "visible in the UI". Matt MacLaurin, the current vice president of UX design at PlayStation, described the redesigned user interface as a "very interesting evolution of the OS", and a "100 percent overhaul of the PS4 UI and some very different new concepts". MacLaurin stated that the UI is extremely fast with a new and robust visual language.
Eurogamer said the user interface was conceived for responsiveness, improved accessibility, clarity, and simplicity. It is rendered in 4K resolution and high dynamic range. Users are greeted with a stylistic boot-up animation and new login screen. The central design concepts and motifs introduced on the PS4 were redesigned into a new home screen user interface. The top of the screen has a row of applications, and two upper tabs for games and media apps. Selecting a game directly reveals individual activities such as a specific level or multiplayer mode. PlayStation Store is no longer a standalone application and is now fully integrated into the home screen user interface.
The most significant departure from the PS4 interface is the introduction of the Control Center, instantly summoned from the bottom of the screen by pressing the PS button. The Control Center is divided into two sections. The upper portion is a row of cards suggesting actions based on the current game or recent actions such as a group chat. Game-related cards may present players with gameplay information such as a progress report toward completing specific missions, or listing game challenges with an option to jump directly to it. PlayStation Plus subscribers see game activity cards with hints, tips, screenshots, or videos detailing how to complete the activity. System-level items may present the player with options such as PlayStation Store sale information, or recent screenshots taken by the user to be shared. These features are available for PS5 games or for updated PS4 games. The lower portion of the Control Center contains a customizable horizontal row of icons, including notifications, status updates, friends list, and system settings.
Sony announced concurrent responsibility of supporting the PlayStation 4 community, and embracing the PlayStation 5 as a major technological advancement. In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Ryan stated "We have always said that we believe in generations. We believe that when you go to all the trouble of creating a next-gen console, that it should include features and benefits that the previous generation does not include. And that, in our view, people should make games that can make the most of those features." Discussing the capabilities of the DualSense controller with Geoff Keighley, General manager Eric Lempel affirmed that Sony "want[s] to evolve every part of the experience", but for that to happen "we can't take everybody with us from previous consoles into [a next generation experience]. You need new hardware, you need new devices to experience what these developers want you to experience." Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart was highlighted as a next-generation game that is not technically possible on older hardware. Lempel assured Keighley that interest in PlayStation 4 will not end abruptly, with more to come.
On September 12, 2020 Jim Ryan announced that Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Sackboy: A Big Adventure, and Horizon Forbidden West will be released for PlayStation 4 in addition to the previously confirmed PlayStation 5 versions. Sony's belief in generations had been widely interpreted as an era-defining shift to PS5-only games that exploit fully the console's enhanced capabilities instead of releasing cross-generation games that play across both PlayStation consoles. Ryan said that nobody should be disappointed as the PS5 versions will take advantage of the console's advanced feature set and that PS4 versions can be freely upgraded. Sony supports any publisher that wants to offer enhanced versions of PS4 games at no additional cost. Electronic Arts has affirmed its PS4 games such as FIFA 21 and Madden NFL 21 will include a free upgrade to the PlayStation 5 version, if users upgrade before the successive release. Bungie similarly has said Destiny 2 can be upgraded to the PS5 version at no extra cost, and CD Projekt RED offers this for Cyberpunk 2077.
According to Hideaki Nishino, Sony's senior vice president of Platform Planning and Management, the PS5 is designed to be backward compatible with more than "99 percent" of PS4's 4,000+ game library, playable from launch day. The console is compatible with PlayStation VR. Because of PS5's high-speed SSD and increased processing power, many PS4 games gain from improved loading times or gameplay speeds "so that they can benefit from higher or more stable frame rates and potentially higher resolutions". Players can synchronize their saved game files through cloud storage or transfer them using a USB storage device so no progress is lost. Backward compatibility is enabled in part by the similarity of hardware architecture, such as "extra logic" in the RDNA 2 GPU that ensures compatibility with PS4's GCN-based GPU. Mark Cerny explained during a March 2020 presentation and later in an interview with Digital Foundry how CPU clock timing required particular attention; though the Zen 2 CPU has an instruction set to handle the PS4's Jaguar CPU, their timings can be very different, so Sony worked closely with AMD when developing the Zen 2 CPU to more closely match the Jaguar's timings. PS5 backward compatibility may exhibit errors with some PS4 games, and does not include previous generations. The PlayStation 4's Share menu cannot be displayed but the Create button can capture screenshots and access the Create menu. On October 9, 2020 Sony released a list of ten PS4 games identified as being incompatible with PS5.
Marketing and release
Sony planned the PlayStation 5 launch to make it available for 2020's end-of-year holiday sales. The date and pricing was confirmed as part of a game showcase presentation on September 16, 2020; the release date in North America, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea is November 12, 2020, and for most of the rest of the world on November 19, 2020. A release date for China will be announced later. PlayStation 5's release in India was delayed because the name "PS5" was already trademarked by a different person.
The two launch models are the base version with an Ultra HD Blu-ray compatible optical disc drive for retail game support alongside online distribution via the PlayStation Store, and a lower-cost variant lacking the disc drive and retaining digital download support.
Following the September 16, 2020 presentation, Sony stated that pre-orders for the console were to open at various retailers on the following day. However, several retailers in the United States and United Kingdom launched pre-orders that evening, causing a rush on pre-orders, including scalping as many stores' inventory were quickly sold out, and creating confusion. Sony apologized for the incident on September 19, 2020 and promised to increase more pre-order deliveries over the coming days and stock through the end of the year.
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