The PlayStation 5 is coming: five things you need to know

Sony has been revealing a few details about its upcoming games console

Photograph: iStock

Photograph: iStock


E3 may be on the way but this year, it will be without Sony’s participation. The tech company has decided to skip the big reveal at the games event and has released details of its newest console this week in an interview with Wired magazine.

The follow up to the PlayStation 4 has to be a good one to persuade games fans to part with their hard-earned cash again. It has been less than six years since Sony launched the PS4, but in the meantime the company updated the console with the Slim and the more powerful Pro version in 2016.

The new generation is coming. Here are a few details you might want to know:

It’s powerful. Very powerful

There’s a lot going on inside the PlayStation 5 – assuming that is what Sony will call it. According to the Wired interview with Sony’s Mark Cerny, the new console will have a CPU based on AMD’s third-gen Ryzen, with eight cores of 7nm Zen 2 microarchitecture. It will have a custom Radeon Navi GPU too, and a custom unit on the new AMD chip for 3D audio.

One of the interesting things that the PS5 will bring is the support for ray tracing. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a technique that allows for much more realistic lighting effects. It uses an algorithm that trace the path of light, and when it hits a virtual object in the game, will simulate how the light will interact with that object. Ray tracing is used in Hollywood films, but if Sony brings it to the PS5, that will be a first for games consoles.

So that ticks the boxes for detailed graphics and immersive audio.

It’s fast

Remember the promises of eliminating loading times on games? Sony may well deliver on it. The PS5 includes a custom built solid state drive that Sony said would improve gameplay. Cerny demonstrated that on Spider-Man; compared to the PS4, the fast-travel time was cut from 15 seconds to just under one second on the PS5.

It supports 8K

Why play games in full HD or 4K when you can go for 8K? That’s one of Sony’s features on the PS5 - 8K gaming. That will mean incredibly detailed games on your very large TV screen.

This one is a bit of a forward looking feature. Let’s face it, people are only catching up with 4K so the average player isn’t going to drop even more money on a brand new TV to play games in 8K resolution. And 8K TVs aren’t exactly cheap. The supersized devices will set you back at least €4,500 right now, although inevitably they’ll be cheaper in the next couple of years.

So for the rest of us, the PS5 will support resolutions up to 8K – meaning your 4K TV and and your HD set will still have a job.

Your PS4 games will work

It’s backwards compatible with PlayStation 4 games, including the PSVR headset and games. Both consoles will share the same basic architecture, which makes things easier.

Not much has been said about games for older consoles though, so it’s not clear if your favourite PS3 games that currently work on the PS4 will also make the grade.

It won’t be out this year

Although there is no firm release date for the next-gen console, it’s unlikely to be 2019. Developers have been getting their hands on kits, so we can expect the work on titles is underway. But it looks like 2020 will be the earliest we’ll see the PS5.