PS5 Release Date Revealed - Controller, Hard Drive and Ray Tracing Detailed

PS5 Release Date Revealed - Controller, Hard Drive and Ray Tracing Detailed

Sony finally talks about the PS5 specs, giving the first official info on the next-gen console. We round-up of all the PS5 release date news and price speculation, plus general PlayStation 5 gossip.

The PS5 is real, with the PS5 specs semi-revealed by Sony. In this complete guide to the PS5, we'll be running through all the latest PlayStation 5 info that is now 100% legit, including the release window, combing through the PS5 specs, and filtering out the nonsense PS5 rumors. Read on for all the details, thin though they may be, on the PS5, including our thoughts on the possible PS5 price. We also look at if any PS5 games have already been announced, and what to do to stay ahead of the fake PS5 leaks.

PS5 Confirmed Release Date

Thanks to a recent PS Blog Post, we know the release window for the PS5. It is said to be coming out 'Christmas 2020' so not long to wait at all.

With the PS4 doing so well at the moment, will Sony be in a rush to release the PS5? | Sony Interactive Entertainment

Sister publication, Digital Foundry, put together an interesting video that looked at when Sony could feasibly release the PS5 and deliver the kind of performance upgrade over the PS4 that people will be expecting. It's safe to say that they don't believe the PS5 is coming any time soon. You can get the full analysis in the video below:

It's Official, Sony's Next Console is Called the PlayStation 5

Thanks to a new blog post from Sony, we can confirm that its next console is the PlayStation 5. This is unsurprising for most, but still nonetheless exciting to know. It was always possible that Sony would go with another name.

Confirmed Specs

Sony has now confirmed the following PS5 specs, having given exclusive info to Wired. We've summarised the key PS5 specs just below:

  • 8 core AMD 7nm Zen 2
  • Ray Tracing support with AMD Navi GPU (not clear if this includes hardware acceleration)
  • Fast high-end SSD storage offering huge load time and game data streaming advantages over current gen.
  • Support for current PS VR headset and likely a new set in the works (but not confirmed)
  • Physical Media support (as well as a digital games store)
  • Backwards Compatible with at least the PS4 (currently no mention of support for older PlayStation systems)
  • Not releasing in 2019, which points towards a 2020 release for PS5.
  • 8K support (unclear if this is native or upscaled)

In the demo given to Wired, which used a dev kit that was said to be under spec compared to the final PS5 console, a big focus was on the huge improvements the new SSD storage will make to games. Load times, demonstrated with Mavel's Spider-Man running on a PS4 Pro and the new next-gen PS5 console dev kit, were drastically cut. In one test, times dropped from 15 seconds to less than one second. This increased in load speed also allowed the game world to be traversed much faster.

Spec Leaks - What is the Truth?

One thing to keep in mind is that there will be a lot of leaks about the PS5 specs in the coming months. A leak is when a person or publication publishes information that is claimed to be legitimate. As the excellent video below from Digital Foundry points out, be sensible when looking at these leaks. Consider where the leak is coming from and how likely it is to be true. Think about if such specs are feasible given a likely price point of $399 for the PS5 (or something close to that) and also look at what the person or publication has been correct about in the past.

Sites like Eurogamer, Digital Foundry and USgamer (that's us) won't publish information passed on to them unless they've been able to verify it with multiple independent sources. If a too good to be true leak appears on a random message board, it is most likely fake (but not always). Now Sony has lifted the lid, expect a rise in legit info and baseless rumors.

Is Starfield the First Revealed PS5 Game?

During the Bethesda E3 2018 conference, Todd Howard announced Starfield, a brand-new single-player RPG. This game isn't coming out for a while, yet, but Howard did say that it's coming to "next-gen". This certainly sounded like it was in reference to the new consoles from Sony and Microsoft, so Starfield seems like it might well be the first announced PS5 game.

What Games Could the PlayStation 5 Launch With?

In terms of what games the theoretical PS5 could launch with, we’ve got to look fairly far into the future. When thinking about games that are still a way away from eventually launching, The Last of Us: Part 2 immediately comes to mind.

The Last of Us originally launched on the PlayStation 3, with merely a few months to go until the launch of the PlayStation 4, and was then ported to the latter system a matter of months after launch. The same could definitely happen with The Last of Us: Part 2, especially if Naughty Dog isn’t being rushed through development by Sony.

Could Death Stranding come to the PS5? It's possible. | Sony Interactive Entertainment/Kojima Productions

As for Death Stranding, while we now know the game is releasing on PS4 in November 2019, there's every chance a visually updated version could see a release on PS5.

The Last of Us 2 could well appear on the PS5, mirroring the release of the original game. | Sony Interactive Entertainment

But what other game developers could potentially be featured near the launch of the PlayStation 5? A sequel to Horizon Zero Dawn is not only a given at this point, but could also be due for release right around 2020, considering the original game launched in early 2017.

Horizon Zero Dawn 2 would undoubtedly be a treat on the PS5. | Sony Interactive Entertainment

Another game that could realistically be seen as a PlayStation 5 release might be Sucker Punch’s Ghost of Tsushima, revealed at PSX in December 2017. We saw an impressive demo at E3 2018, but with the game being absent from the 2019 release schedule it’s not entirely unrealistic to think it might end up on PS5. Maybe it will end up being one of the last PS4 games from Sony in Q1 or Q2 2020, or it could release on PS4 and PS5.

Of the more obvious candidates, assuming a November 2020 release date, there will almost certainly be FIFA 21 (a number so scary and in the future that it's hard to look at it without shivering), a new Call of Duty, a new DICE shooter (possibly a Battlefront, but work continues on Battlefront 2), a LEGO game, and couple of new entries in franchises that last had new releases in 2017: Destiny, Middle-Earth: Shadow of War, and Assassin's Creed.

A new game in the Gran Turismo series would also be a great launch game for the PS5. While the GT series has often taken a long time to develop and suffered delays, the series' director, Kazunori Yamauchi, has said that he's already thinking about the game that follows GT Sport. What that game is remains to be seen, but there certainly is a possibility that we'll see Gran Turismo 7 on the PS5.

With Square stating that the Final Fantasy VII remake on PlayStation will be arriving in multiple parts, it wouldn't be surprising to see the game make its way over the PS5 with enhancements over the PS4 game. Whether or not players will have to buy the game again once they've bought it on PS4 remains to be seen.

Will it Cost More Than the PS4 did at Launch?

We don't yet know the price of the PS5, but given the info Sony has released we can put together a PS5 price estimate. For an educated guess as to the PS5 price when it releases, you’d have to look at past Sony console releases. The PlayStation 4 first launched at a price point of $399 back in 2014, and while the PlayStation 4 Slim later launched in 2016 at the reduced price point of $299, the more powerful PlayStation 4 Pro launched at the same price as the original PS4, $399.

Just how powerful will the PS5 be? | Sony Interactive Entertainment

Given the lessons Sony learned from launching the PS3 at $499/$599 (20GB/60GB SKUs) it’s unlikely the firm would go that expensive ever again. An educated guess would likely put the cost of the PlayStation 5 right around $399.

Will Sony give the controller a big redesign for the PS5? | Sony Interactive Entertainment

The Controller Will Have Haptic Feedback and Adaptive Triggers

Outside of power, it’s virtually guaranteed that Sony will pull off something new and interesting with the controller for the PlayStation 5. So far we know that the rumble feature is out, and haptic feedback is in for the PS5 controller. On top of that, Sony has revealed that the triggers will be adaptive. This means that developers will be able to fine-tune the resistance given by the triggers, able to distinguish between the motion of drawing a bow or revving an engine.

Will Sony Follow the Switch Route?

There’s also the not small matter of the Switch to consider. Nintendo has had great success with its home console/handheld hybrid, and Sony is no doubt keeping a close eye on this. Will Sony try to get a piece of that hybrid pie (it has already attempted it slightly with PS4 Remote Play) or continue down the hardcore home console route without deviating? The details that leak out in the coming months and year are going to be extremely interesting.

If we had to put money on what the PS5 would be, we wouldn't choose a hybrid console/handheld unless this could be delivered without sacrificing the power of the home unit. Sony's success with the PS4 is in part due to the console offering the most power of any console available at the time.

Will it Have a Streaming Console Like the Xbox Two?

A report on Thurrott.com has outlined a second next-gen console coming from Microsoft. The Xbox maker is said to be working on a traditional console to follow the Xbox One and a cheaper device that will play the same games but make use of streaming technology to reduce the power needed - In October this streaming service was revealed to be Project xCloud, although Microsoft hasn't linked it to a new console yet. While this has been met with the usual and justified level of cynicism (streaming video games hasn't worked brilliantly so far), if MS has cracked it the new console could be a very cheap way for consumers to enter the next-gen console market. Paired with Game Pass, the streaming console would provide instant access to a wide selection of games.

The question, then, is if Sony will offer something similar with its PS5? Sony does have its own video game streaming service, PS Now, but it hasn't been hugely popular and is largely seen as a less than ideal gaming platform due to image quality and input lag. If these two issues can be overcome, streaming could well become a big tool for Sony when the PS5 arrives. The addition of downloads to PS Now in September 2018 has made the service more appealing and does perhaps suggest that Sony is keen to improve its standing amongst gamers ahead of a larger importance in how it sells the PS5.

Will the PS5 Play PS4 and Older Games? Backwards Compatibility

The PS4 uses an AMD Accelerated Processing Unit (APU) that is built upon the x86-64 architecture. Sony is using this architecture in the PS5, and the firm has confirmed that the PS5 will be backwards compatible with PS4 games. It's not clear what features, if any, PS4 games running on PS5 will support, such as increased resolutions or frame rate. As for offering the ability for the PS5 to play PS3 and older games, that’s a much bigger ask. Sony seems to be trying to get people to use its PS Now service to access older games from its catalog, and we can’t see that changing with the PS5.

Don't be Fooled by Fake Announcement Videos

It seems some people are easily fooled, as the clearly fake PS5 announcement trailer below proves. Numerous people on social media were tricked by the video, even though it's old and clearly well below the production values you'd expect from Sony. This trailer now sits at almost 16 million views. When Sony does announce the PS5, you can be sure that the video will be a hell of a lot slicker than this. If a video looks fake, it probably is fake.

What we Want

Speculation aside, what would we ideally want from the PS5? Backwards compatibility for PS4 games is a great thing to have confirmed already. We've seen how well Microsoft is handling backwards compatibility with its Xbox One consoles (including getting amazing results updating Xbox 360 games to run in 4K on Xbox One X), and something similar on PS5 would be great.

In terms of pure power, the PlayStation 5 has to significantly exceed the power of the Xbox One X. This means featuring more games running in 4K at 60FPS. If the PS5 can deliver about 10 TF of power we'd be happy, as this would allow devs to create games that look a generation ahead of what we've got now.

But what would the dream launch lineup be for the PS5? Death Stranding and The Last of Us: Part 2 are hugely anticipated blockbuster games, with the former especially looking to push the performance of whatever system it's on to the very limit. We've also mentioned Ghost of Tsushima and a sequel to Horizon Zero Dawn, and the latter would be the perfect way to kick off a new console cycle from Sony.

We'd also want a couple of games built from the ground up for the new PS5, though. It's one thing to see PS4 games upgraded for PS5, but they are never going to show off what the system can really do. A new racing game would be great (Gran Turismo seems like it might be possible, but probably unlikely), but give us a couple of new IP to launch the generation, Sony!

While we're on wish lists, the PS5 will surely need a new PS VR headset to go with it, if only to take better advantage of the new power that will be available. VR titles on the PS5 should be able to match current high-end PC VR games like Epic's amazing Robo Recall.

In terms of media capabilities, we'd be hugely surprised if the PS5 didn't include support for 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray playback. In 2020 Ultra HD will be more common and not including it in the PS5 will be a bad move not only in terms of the offering for consumers but also for storage space on game discs. Ultra HD Blu-rays offer more storage space than standard Blu-ray discs. Microsoft already offers Ultra HD Blu-ray support with its Xbox One S and Xbox One X, and surely Sony won't want to give its main competitor that advantage again.

Will There be a Pro Version?

Sony introduced the PS4 Pro in order to offer consumers a console that would take advantage of the ever increasing number of 4K TVs on the market. While the console offers other advantages, it's likely Sony wouldn't have developed the PS4 Pro had 4K gaming not been a big selling point. You could argue that Sony will release a PS5 Pro midway through the PS5's life, but it would have to come with a significant reason to upgrade. It's doubtful that consoles will be pushing 8K gaming for quite some time, so there might not be a reason for the PS5 Pro to exist. If 8K TVs became a big enough market during the lifespan of the PS5, there's a chance a PS5 Pro model with beefed up specs could launch around 2022/2023 that would give people 8K support, but it really seems unlikely given that 4K is still just finding its legs.

Why is the PlayStation 5 a big Deal?

Sony has been one of the dominant forces in console gaming ever since it released the original PlayStation and turned the industry on its head. Prior to the PlayStation's release (December 1994 in Japan) the console games market was owned by Nintendo and SEGA, and to a lesser degree Atari. Sony changed that and now it's hard to imagine a world in which the PlayStation isn't one of the major gaming platforms.

Sony will be hoping the PS5 is as popular as the PS4. | Sony Interactive Entertainment

Sony has had its ups and downs with the PlayStation, but overall it's delivered hit after hit - we'll just move quietly past the PS Vita! Two of Sony's consoles, the PlayStation and PlayStation 2 have sold over 100 million units, while the PS4 looks well on the way having sold over 70 million just four years into its life. Even the PlayStation 3, which had a troubled launch, managed to sell approximately 84 million.

With the PlayStation 4 on top of this console generation by some margin, the hype around the PlayStation 5 will be huge. Console announcements are pretty rare due to the time between new machines, so the PS5 announcement will be one of the biggest events of this decade - unless the reveal doesn't come until 2020.

Will the PS5 Beat the Xbox Two?

OK, so we have no idea what the next Xbox will be called (Microsoft likes surprising people), but the big question is whether or not the PS5 will outsell the next Xbox. In all likelihood, yes, the PS5 will be the most popular home console of the next generation. While Microsoft is making strides with the Xbox, suggesting its next console will compete more closely with the PS5 than the Xbox One did with the PS4, Sony is currently in such a dominant position that it'll be nigh-on impossible to take the throne.

A major point in the next-gen battle between the PS5 and the Xbox Two will be when each machine launches. The first machine to market will likely benefit from being the first next-gen machine, just how the Xbox 360 managed to gain a foothold while Sony waited to launch the PS3. A new Xbox coming before the PS5 seems unlikely, given that Microsoft launched the Xbox One X a year after Sony released the PS4 Pro, but Microsoft will be keen to try and claw back market share following a less than ideal launch of the Xbox One in 2013.

That's all we can put together on the PS5, but we'll be sure to update this page whenever new info or rumors come to light.

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Tom Orry

Managing Editor

Tom started life on a circus in Australia before his family moved to the UK. His love of gaming started soon after, which essentially meant he bought every video game magazine available and worked numerous part-time jobs as a child in order to afford costly N64 games. He created UK site VideoGamer.com, of which he was the Editor for over a decade. He now doesn't like circuses.

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