The PlayStation 5 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 in late 2020. The platform is anticipated to launch in two varieties, as a base PlayStation 5 system incorporating an Ultra HD Blu-ray compatible optical disc drive for retail game support alongside digital distribution via the PlayStation Store, and a lower-cost Digital variant lacking the disc drive while retaining digital download support.
The PlayStation 5 features a customized solid state drive designed for high-speed data streaming to enable significant improvements in graphical performance. The hardware also features a custom AMD GPU capable of ray tracing, support for 4K resolution displays and high framerates, new audio hardware for real-time 3D audio effects, and backward compatibility with most PlayStation 4 and PlayStation VR games.
HistoryThe 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 for the PlayStation 5 had been planned for June 4, 2020, but was postponed until June 11 in light of events due to the George Floyd protests. This presentation also premiered the external design of the PlayStation 5.
HardwareThe PlayStation 5 is powered by a semi-custom 7nm AMD Zen 2 CPU with eight cores running at a variable frequency capped at 3.5 GHz. The GPU is also a semi-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. 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 to allow that GPU to run at higher performance without otherwise affecting power use or cooling. The console supports hardware accelerated real-time ray tracing. It has a new audio technology called Tempest Engine, which allows not only for hundreds of sound sources within a game to be accounted for in producing audio output compared to 50 for the PlayStation 4, but also how that audio is presented based on the end user's device and preferences. The system has of GDDR6 SDRAM with a bandwidth of 448 GB/s.
The internal storage of the PlayStation 5 is a custom-built 825GB SSD with a 12-channel interface, achieving a raw throughput of 5.5GB/s. With a dedicated decompression unit supporting zlib and the new lossless Oodle Kraken protocol from RAD Game Tools, the unit has a typical throughput of 8–9GB/s. The atypical drive size was found to be optimal for the 12-channel pathway rather than a more common 512GB or 1TB unit. Mark Cerny stated that a fast SSD was the number one request from game developers. So the goal was not only to have a theoretical raw read speed one-hundred times faster than PS4, it was to eliminate input/output 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 channel data more efficiently around the system. If data is able to compress well, the custom unit is capable of processing up to 22GB/s. Solid-state storage for games is expandable through an NVM Express M.2 port, while additional HDD storage can be added through USB-compatible drives. Though game installation from a disc is mandatory, the user has some fine-grain control of how much to install, such as only installing the multiplayer components of a game. The console includes a 4K-compatible Ultra HD Blu-ray optical drive.
Sony is developing improved support for suspended gameplay state, for the PlayStation 5 to consume less energy than the PlayStation 4.
The console's form was revealed during the June 11, 2020 presentation. The launch unit is a two-tone design matching the previously revealed DualSense controller, with a black internal block flanked by two white wings along its sides, each lit by blue LEDs. The unit can operate in a vertical mode or horizontally. Heat vents are located on the top of the unit in its vertical orientation. The front bezels include the Blu-Ray drive opening and USB-A and USB-C ports. Sony's Jim Ryan stated the design was intended to represent a "quantum leap over the current generation" and that alongside the new games, was to be "transformational in the how they look, sound and feel. Ryan also stated that the white and black color selection were for the launch and additional colors may be available later.
DualSense controllerThe new DualSense wireless controller for the PlayStation 5 was revealed on April 7, 2020. The DualSense controller is based on the DualShock controllers but with modifications influenced by discussions with game designers and players. The DualSense controller has adaptive triggers with haptic feedback that can change the resistance to the player as necessary, supporting an experience such as virtually drawing an arrow from a bow. The DualSense has strong haptic feedback through voice coil actuators, which together with an improved controller speaker is intended to give better in-game feedback. While the DualSense maintains most of the same buttons as the DualShock 4, it renames the "Share" button to "Create" with additional means for players to share and create content with others. A new built-in microphone array was added so players can speak to others using only the controller. It has two-tone colouring, 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.
Additional accessoriesIn addition to the console reveal, several additional accessories were announced, including a charging station for the DualSense, a new HD camera, and a media remote control. The Pulse 3D is a wireless headset made to take advantage of the console's 3D audio technology.
System softwareThe console has a completely revamped user interface that is characterized as accessible and informative, providing real-time updates so the player doesn't have to search or wait to discover friends' activities, available multiplayer activities, and available 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 will be "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,” further adding that it is a “100 percent overhaul of the PS4 UI and some very different new concepts". Matt also stated that the performance of the user interface will be extremely fast and that a new visual language will be implemented, to highlight the evolutionary growth of the PS5 software design.
GamesEach PlayStation 5 console will come pre-installed with Astro's Playroom, a platformer game designed to serve as a demonstration of the new DualSense controller.
Sony considered the transition from PlayStation 4 to PlayStation 5 as a major technological advancement and embraced the generation change. Jim Ryan said that their first-party PlayStation Studios are focused solely on PlayStation 5-exclusive titles that exploit the console's enhanced capabilities instead of developing new cross-generation titles that work on both the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5. "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." General manager Eric Lempel affirmed that Sony "want to evolve every part of the experience", but for that to happen "we can’t take everybody with us from previous consoles into . You need new hardware, you need new devices to experience what these developers want you to experience." Lempel also said that Sony found that trying to deliver on cross-generation titles limited innovation in their new games, another reason they have focused on PlayStation 5-exclusivity.
Wired magazine anticipates third-party developers will continue releasing new games for both the PlayStation 4 and the PlayStation 5. Sony has said it will support any publisher that wants to offer PlayStation 5 copies of PlayStation 4 titles at no additional cost. Electronic Arts has affirmed its games released in 2020 for the PS4 such as FIFA 21 and Madden NFL 21 will include a free update to the PS5 version, providing players update before the next numerical entry in the sport series. Bungie similarly has said Destiny 2 players can update their game to the enhanced PS5 version at no extra cost, and CD Projekt RED is committed to offering PS4 owners of Cyberpunk 2077 a free upgrade to improve the game's visuals on PlayStation 5.
The console includes functionality for cross-generation and backward compatible games, enabling players to switch backward or forward between systems without losing progress, while friends separated by platform can join the same multiplayer games together. Sony CEO Jim Ryan said "it won't be a binary choice about whether you have to be either on PlayStation 4 or next-gen to continue your friendship."
Backward compatibilitySony has stated that PlayStation 5 will be backward compatible with the "overwhelming majority" of PlayStation 4 games, with many running at boosted processing speeds "so that they can benefit from higher or more stable frame rates and potentially higher resolutions". This is enabled in part by the similar hardware architecture of the two systems and by adding "extra logic" to the RDNA 2 GPU to ensure compatibility with PlayStation 4's and 4 Pro's GPUs. Mark Cerny explained during a March 2020 presentation and later in an interview with Digital Foundry how CPU clock timing required particular attention; while the Zen 2 CPU has an instruction set to handle the PlayStation 4's Jaguar CPU, their timings can be very different, so Sony worked closely with AMD when developing the Zen 2 CPU to adjust the timings so they can more closely match that of the Jaguar. Cerny described the results as "excellent" but noted boosted frequencies can lead to occasional problems and so they are evaluating the performance of each individual game to spot any remaining issues that need attention by the software developers. To illustrate the engineering team's progress, Cerny provided a snapshot of the top 100 PlayStation 4 games based on play time and is expecting "almost all of them" to be compatible at launch. The new console is also expected to be compatible with PlayStation VR.
Eurogamer reported that Sony's certification program as of May 2020 required games for the PlayStation 4, submitted for certification after July 13, 2020, to be natively compatible with the PlayStation 5, while noting PlayStation was continuing work to ensure older PS4 games will run on PS5 through its backward compatibility program.
Marketing and releaseSony plans to launch the PlayStation 5 by the end of 2020, as to be available for end-of-year holiday sales.
Two versions are expected for launch: The base PlayStation 5 will include an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc drive, while the PlayStation 5 Digital Edition will omit this drive, serving as a lower-cost version for consumers who prefer to buy games through digital download. Both versions will ship with one DualSense controller.
Bloomberg reported in February 2020 from people with knowledge of Sony's manufacturing process that the current bill of materials selected for the unit were estimated to be about total, driven by the current higher costs of flash memory, which was in high demand by cell phone manufacturers for the rollout of 5G wireless connectivity. Bloomberg estimates the PlayStation price will be at least, however increased revenue from online subscription services may allow Sony "greater flexibility" on final hardware pricing.