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Sony shares first official PS5 details: Backwards compatibility, faster load times, and more

PS5 reveal

The road to the PlayStation 5 begins not with a teaser trailer, a live stream, or a stage presentation. Instead, Sony decided to share the first details about its next-generation console in an interview with Wired. The publication recently sat down with lead systems architect Mark Cerny, who served in the same role for the development of the PlayStation 4, to discuss plans for its unnamed successor, which some reports have pegged for a 2020 launch.

Right up front, Cerny confirmed that the PS5 (or whatever it ends up being called) won’t launch in 2019. Considering the fact that Sony is skipping E3 2019, this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. But he also revealed that devkits of the new console have already been put in the hands of game developers.

It’s somewhat shocking just how much Cerny unveiled during the interview. In terms of specs, we now know that the new console will feature an eight-core CPU based on AMD’s Ryzen line as well as a custom AMD Radeon Navi GPU. Some of the benefits of these upgrades include support for ray tracing (which will change the way light bounces off of objects) and a custom 3D audio unit that Cerny says will “show how dramatically different the audio experience can be when we apply significant amounts of hardware horsepower to it.”

While new CPUs and GPUs are inevitable, Cerny says that the most significant hardware upgrade is actually the hard drive. Sony has installed a solid-state drive in the PS5 that Cerny claims has a higher raw bandwidth than any SSD you can get for a PC. In order to demonstrate just how powerful the drive is, Cerny turned on Marvel’s Spider-Man on a PS4 Pro and a next-gen devkit. He then initiated a fast-travel sequence (picking a location on the map for Spidey to warp to) on both machines. It took 15 seconds on the PS4 Pro. On the devkit, it took 0.8 seconds.

Unsurprisingly, Cerny wasn’t ready to share any specific details about games or services for the next-gen console, but there were a few other major reveals scattered throughout the interview:

  • The PS5 will be fully backwards compatible with the PS4.
  • Games will continue to launch for the PS4 and PS5 after the new console launches.
  • The PS5 will support the current PlayStation VR hardware (but an update seems likely).
  • The PS5 will not be download-only — physical media isn’t going anywhere quite yet.

Sony might not have a presence at E3 2019 this summer, but it has now laid the groundwork for the long road to the official reveal of its next home console. Now we’ll have to see how Microsoft responds.

Jacob started covering video games and technology in college as a hobby, but it quickly became clear to him that this was what he wanted to do for a living. He currently resides in New York writing for BGR. His previously published work can be found on TechHive, VentureBeat and Game Rant.

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