The next-generation of video game consoles is looming. While our current generation of systems saw upgraded revisions beefier iterations throughout the years, the gaming landscape is due for a seismic shift forward. Today, we get our first glimpse of that future, with Sony’s console architect, Mark Cerny, providing Wired some PlayStation 5 specs and features.
Cerny never went as far as to name Sony’s next console as the PlayStation 5, but it’s a pretty safe bet that the company won’t stray from the branding that has be so immensely successful over the last 25 years. Instead, Sony’s system architect simply referred to their next console as “the next-gen console”.
As for the PlayStation 5 specs themselves, Cerny says an AMD chip is at the heart of the device. The system’s CPU is an iteration on AMD’s third generation Ryzen line. A CPU that sports 8 cores of the company’s new 7nm Zen 2 microarchitecture.
Cerny tells Wired that the console’s GPU is a customized version of the Radeon Navi. The GPU will incorporate ray tracing capabilities to provide state of the art light simulation. A feature which has been previously unseen in consoles.
The PlayStation 5 specs provided by Cerny also promises a radical 3D audio jump. He notes “audio did not change too much between PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4. With the next console the dream is to show how dramatically different the audio experience can be when we apply significant amounts of hardware horsepower to it.”
Wired pressed Cerny on whether PlayStation VR is being a focal point at all in the development of the Sony next-gen system. He wouldn’t give up much, but he did confirm that the PlayStation VR will be compatible with the PlayStation 5, saying “I won’t go into the details of our VR strategy today beyond saying that VR is very important to us and that the current PSVR headset is compatible with the new console.”
All the above bells and whistles sound great, but Mark Cerny goes on tout what the PlayStation 5’s most important feature will be – a solid state drive. The system’s “specialized” SSD hopes to theoretically eliminate the majority of load times in next-generation titles.
In a demonstration for Wired, Cerny boots of Spider-Man on a PlayStation 4 Pro. To prove how the SSD slices load times, he uses the game’s fast-travel mechanic as a test. On the PS4 Pro, the process took 15 seconds. With the PlayStation 5 devkit, which Cerny calls as a “low-speed” version, it took .8 seconds. The SSD would allow for much more than just quicker load times though. Worlds would render faster, potentially enabling you to traverse through them faster as well.
Other points of interest include the system’s ability to provide 8K graphics and confirmation of a physical media drive. We’re not in an all-digital future just yet. And because the system is based upon the PlayStation 4’s architecture, there’s backwards compatibility for all games on that console too.
Cerny also alluded that we’ll see a few games release on both the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 as the torch is passed. Wired specifically asked about Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding. The Sony representative in the room confirmed the title is still set for the PlayStation 4, but Cerny provided a smile that hinted that a PlayStation 5 launch is intended as well.
Wired also confirmed that “a number of studios” have been working with the PlayStation 5 devkit already, and that “Sony recently accelerated its deployment of devkits so that game creators will have the time they need to adjust to its capabilities.” It seems as if the first games of the next-generation may be right around the corner.