- Sony’s next-generation PlayStation 5 delivers a truly next-generation experience with its 8-core AMD Ryzen CPU, 10.3-teraflop GPU, 16GB of RAM, and 825GB custom SSD.
- The PS5 user experience is similar to that of the PS4, but every element has been improved.
- The PS5 and PS5 Digital Edition launch on November 12th for $499 and $399, respectively.
If you read my PS5 review last week, you know that I’m a very big fan of what Sony has built. Not only does it feel like something completely new, but it also builds upon and improves virtually every piece of the PS4 user experience. Yes, it’s still early, and there will undoubtedly be dozens of software updates and a few new models in the years to come, but it’s as strong a start as Sony has had since the PS2, and I’m excited about the PS5’s future.
There were a few things that I wasn’t able to talk about in my initial review, but rather than update it or write a second part, I thought it might be more useful and more interesting to write about those features and elements of the console in a piece about whether or not you should rush out and buy a PS5. So hopefully this serves as a buyer’s guide as well as part two to my review highlighting some of the PS5’s strengths and weaknesses.
Reasons to buy a PS5 in 2020
- Games: Console launch windows aren’t typically packed with must-have exclusive games, but there are a few titles coming out this fall that you can only play on PS5. The heart of the launch lineup is Demon’s Souls, which is a remake of a PS3 game built from the ground up for the PS5. If you’ve seen any videos of the game in action, you already know just how much the visuals have been upgraded, but it’s the same brutal action RPG from 2009. There’s also Astro’s Playroom, which comes pre-installed on every PS5 and doubles as a great tech demo for the console and DualSense controller as well as a brilliant walk down memory lane for PlayStation fans.
- User experience: If you own a PS4, you’ve probably gotten used to the clunky, uninspiring interface by now. It’s not offensively bad, but it’s certainly nothing to write home about. The PS5 UI, on the other hand, is a real breath of fresh air. It’s not revolutionary or anything, but it’s far cleaner and more usable, especially when it comes to organizing your games. Once you upgrade, you’ll struggle to ever go back.
- PlayStation Store: This could have been part of the last section, but it deserves its own breakout. If you buy a PS5 Digital Edition, the only way to buy games will be online. Therefore, you’re going to spend a lot of time in the digital PlayStation Store. This was a miserable experience on the PS4, as the PS Store had its own separate app that was slow and hard to navigate. On the PS5, the PS Store is built into the home screen, which means you’re never more than a tap away from checking out the latest releases, PlayStation Plus freebies, or DLC for your favorite games. Easily one of the best upgrades of the entire experience.
- Backward compatibility: Every PS4 game I’ve wanted to play on my PS5 has worked flawlessly. If you wanted to upgrade but were concerned that some of your games might not work on the new console, brush those fears aside. In fact, many PS4 games run even better on PS5, with faster load times and better frame rates.
Reasons to wait to buy a PS5
- Missing features: Whether or not these features will ever be added, there are a few things that the PS5 can’t do right now that it might be able to do after receiving an update or two. One of those is giving you the ability to play PS5 games with a DualShock 4 controller, which is technically already possible with the PS5 Remote Play app that Sony quietly rolled out to the PS4. If I can play PS5 games with my PS4 controller on my PS4, why can’t I do the same on my PS5? Similarly, the PS5 doesn’t support 1440p resolution, though Sony has suggested that there’s no reason it couldn’t be added in the future.
- SSD storage expansion: This missing feature deserved its own section, because, at launch, you can’t expand the storage of the PS5 with an SSD expansion card. Sony has said that this will be possible after a future update, but on launch day, it won’t be supported. You can only play games off of a compatible SSD — not an external HDD — so if you plan on filling up the console’s 825GB right away, this might be a problem.
- PlayStation VR: If you are a PS VR owner and still frequently play games in VR, you might want to hold off on buying a PS5. The VR games are compatible with the new console, but in order to play any of them, you’ll need a camera adaptor, which you can get from Sony for free. There’s no telling what Sony has planned for the future of this technology, but if VR is a priority for you, there’s no point in upgrading right away.
- Media apps: If your video game console also serves as your primary media player, you might want to hold off for a bit on picking up a PS5. YouTube, Netflix, Apple TV+, Crunchyroll, Spotify, Plex, Disney+, and Twitch will all be available at launch, but plenty of popular streaming services will be added later, so don’t expect to be able to throw out your Roku or Apple TV the minute you plug your PS5 in on Thursday.
Sony provided BGR with a PS5 for the purposes of our coverage, and that’s the console I’ve been using ever since. That said, had I spent either $400 on the Digital Edition or $500 on the standard PS5, I certainly wouldn’t be regretting my purchase so far. It’s impossible to overstate just how much the truncating and occasional elimination of load times has redefined by my experience of playing games. But, if you’re still on the fence, keep in mind that there are only a couple of games on the PlayStation 5 that you can’t play anywhere else so far.