For some time now, it’s been anticipated that Sony and Microsoft would clash in yet another console war, much like they did 6 years ago when the Xbox One and Playstation 4 debuted. A lot of the gaming community believed that we’d hear something about next-gen consoles at E3 2018, but other than a vague dark image at the Xbox E3 Briefing, both companies were mum on the subject, and have been ever since then.
That is, until now.
Recently, Sony allowed Wired to their Foster City, CA HQ to provide details on their developing next-gen console and gathered some fascinating/game-changing details from console architect, Mark Cerny.
For starters, the console does not yet have a name, but conventional wisdom would suggest it’ll be called the Playstation 5. It will not be releasing in 2019, nor will it even be discussed at E3 2019, as Sony has decided to forego even attending the annual gaming event. That said, studios have already received dev kits and have begun testing/using the system.
As with most next-gen consoles, Sony’s next Playstation will boast a more powerful CPU, GPU, and increased system memory with the following upgrades:
The CPU is based on the third generation of AMD’s Ryzen line and contains eight cores of the company’s new 7nm Zen 2 microarchitecture. The GPU, a custom variant of Radeon’s Navi family, will support ray tracing, a technique that models the travel of light to simulate complex interactions in 3D environments.
What makes this fascinating is the usage of Ray Tracing. Ray Tracing is used in Hollywood to mimic the way light bounces off from object to object in a scene. Thus, creating a visually realistic effect. While it’s become a staple for visual effects in Hollywood, it’s been downright impossible to do on console. Until now.
However, these powerful system upgrades go beyond visual effects. Cerny and the Sony team made it their mission to upgrade the audio output for their next-gen system, after the disappointment of not upgrading it from PS3 to PS4. Using the new AMD CPU, Cerny says that the goal is “to show how dramatically different the audio experience can be when we apply significant amounts of hardware horsepower to it.”
The result would be to essentially create a surround sound experience through your TV, without any use of external hardware. Although, he did say that headphone audio would still remain the “Gold Standard”.
What may be the most fascinating part of this report, is the use of an SSD in the next-gen console. For quite some time now, Solid State Drives have been easily accessible on laptops and PC to increase performance, and while the Xbox One and the Playstation 4 were capable of using external SSDs to speed up load time, they haven’t been nearly as powerful as what Cerny demoed for Wired.
In the test, Cerny set up a Playstation 4 Pro and the next-gen Dev Kit, both playing Insomniac Games’ Marvel’s Spider-man. Fast-traveling with the PS4 Pro took approximately 15 seconds. Whereas, fast-traveling with the next-gen Dev Kit too .8 seconds. That’s INSANE. Furthermore, the movement speed on the Dev Kit was exponentially faster, while maintaining graphic integrity.
No price point, product launch dates, or game releases were announced in the demo, but Cerny did let out that the next-gen console will still accept physical discs, it will also be backwards compatible with PS4 games, and that it will be a gentle launch, like with most next-gen consoles. Some games, at that time, are set to be released on both systems. The wink-wink, nod-nod game in question was Hideo Kojima‘s Death Stranding, though nothing has been confirmed with that.
In regards to Google Stadia and Microsoft‘s plans to incorporate cloud-based gaming on their next-gen Xbox, Cerny said only that, “we are cloud-gaming pioneers, and our vision should become clear as we head toward launch” So, they’re totally incorporating cloud-based gaming.
So, let’s get a checklist for everything the next-gen console (Playstation 5) is set to have:
- Increased Power
- Increased Memory
- Ray Tracing
- Surround Sound-like Audio
- Backwards Compatibility with PS4
- Physical Disc Drive
There’s still a lot to learn before the next-gen console releases, but that’s already a mind-blowing start. As more news about the upcoming next-gen consoles is unearthed, we’ll have it here on Cinelinx.