Sony officially announces PlayStation 5, coming late 2020
After months of veiled conversations and whispers, Sony has finally announced its next-generation games console – and surprising absolutely no one, it’s called the PlayStation 5. The company confirmed some of the long-rumored specs and features, unveiled new details about the controller, and revealed a launch window of late next year.
Talk of a new PlayStation has been rumbling since April this year, when Wired spoke to system architect Mark Cerny about what the team was working on. But this is the first time Sony has publicly acknowledged the new console, and stopped playing coy about the PS5 moniker.
Now, the new device has been detailed in an official PlayStation blog post, as well as another interview by Wired, with Cerny and Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan. With this announcement, Sony is focusing on two new features built into the next-gen controllers.
The first is a haptic feedback system designed to be a far more detailed version of the regular rumble we’ve known since the days of the original PlayStation. By way of two highly-programmable haptic motors, a variety of vibration patterns can create unique tactile sensations – after all, Ryan says, crashing a race car into a wall feels very different to a tackle on the football field. Most interestingly though, this haptic system will purportedly be able to create the sensation of different textures and terrains, such as running freely through a grassy field or sloshing through mud.
This may sound familiar to Switch owners. Nintendo’s latest console has what the company calls “HD Rumble” built into the Joy-Con, which can produce vibrations detailed enough to let players count virtual marbles rolling around “inside” the controller. But in classic Nintendo fashion, this feature has gone largely unused by most games. It sounds like Sony has bigger plans for its haptics.
The second new feature headlining the PS5 controller is adaptive triggers, incorporated into the L2 and R2 buttons at the top rear of the controller. The resistance of these triggers can be programmed by game developers to have more or less “give” depending on the action. So drawing a bow and arrow should feel different to firing a gun, for example, or accelerating a vehicle off-road might take more effort than doing so on a clear patch of asphalt.
Other new features announced include a 4K Blu-Ray drive, games coming on 100-GB optical disks, and an updated user interface that lets players see what their friends are up to immediately and jump right into specific missions in games from the home screen.
These new announcements are rounding out our picture of what the PS5 is. We already know that the console will be running an AMD Ryzen CPU and a Navi GPU, which will have ray-tracing acceleration for more realistic lighting effects. Storage will be on a solid-state drive (SSD), which should dramatically speed up load times and cut down on the size of games and updates.
We also already know that the console will use far less power in standby mode – about 0.5 W, down from 8.5 W on the PS4.
The PS5 is due to launch “in time for Holiday 2020.” If we were placing bets, our money would firmly be around mid-November – after all, that’s when both the PS4 and Xbox One launched back in 2013. And besides, Sony will want a decent lead-in before the Christmas rush, and it wouldn’t hurt to capitalize on Black Friday in late November.
And with the next Xbox also confirmed for the nebulous Holiday 2020 period, the battle lines have been clearly drawn. We’ll no doubt learn much more about both consoles – including what they actually look like – over the coming months.