Sony’s PlayStation 5 lead system architect, Mark Cerny, sat down with Wired in a report that was released this morning to reveal the first details for Sony’s next-generation console, the PlayStation 5. The report is quite the in-depth read, revealing a focus on audio quality, backwards compatibility with the PlayStation 4, the addition of a solid-state drive to reduce load times dramatically, and an all new CPU and GPU combo.
The addition of a solid-state drive in place of previously used SATA drive standards alone will make an absurd difference.
To demonstrate, Cerny fires up a PS4 Pro playing Spider-Man, a 2018 PS4 exclusive that he worked on alongside Insomniac Games. On the TV, Spidey stands in a small plaza. Cerny presses a button on the controller, initiating a fast-travel interstitial screen. When Spidey reappears in a totally different spot in Manhattan, 15 seconds have elapsed. Then Cerny does the same thing on a next-gen devkit connected to a different TV. (The devkit, an early “low-speed” version, is concealed in a big silver tower, with no visible componentry.) What took 15 seconds now takes less than one: 0.8 seconds, to be exact.
Additionally, the system’s new integrated graphics is set to be light years ahead of its current generation, ensuring the new console will not be a mere upgrade, but a complete overhaul.
PlayStation’s next-generation console ticks all those boxes, starting with an AMD chip at the heart of the device. (Warning: some alphabet soup follows.) The CPU is based on the third generation of AMD’s Ryzen line and contains eight cores of the company’s new 7nm Zen 2 microarchitecture. The GPU, a custom variant of Radeon’s Navi family, will support ray tracing, a technique that models the travel of light to simulate complex interactions in 3D environments. While ray tracing is a staple of Hollywood visual effects and is beginning to worm its way into high-end processors and Nvidia’s recently announced RTX line, no game console has been able to manage it. Yet.
The PlayStation 5 has not been officially revealed, but could release in 2020, for what is sure to be a hefty price tag. We know Sony is not afraid to price their consoles accordingly, with the PlayStation 3’s $599 launch price. With E3 just around the corner in a few short months, it’s possible we learn more at the biggest show in gaming.