The ninth generation of game consoles is coming in 2020, headlined in part by Sony’s PlayStation 5. We won’t see it in stores for at least half a year, but Sony has shown off what the console will look like, its internal specs, and several upcoming games for the system. With that in mind, here’s everything we know about the PlayStation 5 so far.
PlayStation 5 Controller and Design
We finally know what the PS5 looks like. It’s tall, narrow, and white with a black middle. The curved, slim shape is reminiscent of a router more than a game console, and it’s a significant contrast to the Xbox Series X’s stark, cubelike shape. Despite its odd shape, it apparently will be usable horizontally, and not have to stand vertically to work.
Before Sony revealed the PS5’s design, it unveiled the DualSense controller that will go with it. It keeps the same general layout as the DualShock gamepads Sony has used since the original PlayStation, but it’s rounded, white, and more friendly-looking than previous controllers. It kind of looks like the gamepad version of Baymax from Big Hero 6. Or a tiny pair of sunglasses with a huge white wig.
PlayStation 5 Specs
Sony has gone into detail on the PlayStation 5’s internal specs, and they’re impressive.
The PS5 features an eight-core AMD Zen 2 CPU paired with a custom Radeon GPU, giving it ray-tracing and 4K rendering capabilities. The CPU also features a 3D audio unit that will support directional audio similar to Dolby Atmos (or Sony’s own 360 Reality Audio), letting games generate sound in front, behind, to the sides, and even above the player (assuming the right speakers/headphones are being used). This will all run through 16GB of GDDR6 memory.
Instead of a hard drive, the PS5 will feature an 825GB SSD. This means games will load much faster than on previous consoles, and support some new features like suspending multiple games at once and what Sony’s lead designer Mark Cerny describes as “instant game startup.”
The PS5 will have an optical drive, though a disc-less PS5 Digital Edition will also be available. The optical-drive-equipped PS5 will specifically have an Ultra HD Blu-ray drive that will be able to play UHD Blu-ray movies in 4K, a feature the PlayStation 4 and even PS4 Pro lack (but the Xbox One S and Xbox One X both have).
PlayStation 5 Features
Sony has confirmed that the SSD will enable the system to suspend multiple games, letting you jump immediately back into whatever you feel like playing without loading it from the start. This is on top of the faster loading speeds for games that the SSD will enable.
The DualSense gamepad adds a few tricks as well, starting with a built-in microphone to let you use voice chat without a headset. It’s handy for some gamers, but could be a privacy concern for others. The controller also features improved force feedback, with “adaptive triggers” that add tension to the pull of the L2 and R2 triggers.
PlayStation 5 Games
As the new console generation comes in, expect to see plenty of crossover between PS4 and PS5 games. However, Sony has unveiled a wide spread of games being designed specifically for the PS5, which will be out either with the PS5 or in 2021.
They include sequels to very popular first- and second-party games, like Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Horizon: Forbidden West, and Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart. Resident Evil VIII: Village will also be released on the PS5 (whether it will be cross-platform has not yet been confirmed), along with several other large and indie third-party games, as well. The PS5 will also support PS4 backwards compatibility to some extent, but few details have been announced beyond that.
PlayStation 5 Accessories
Sony showed off a few first-party accessories to go with the PS5, including a charging stand for the DualSense controllers, a media remote, a camera, and the Pulse 3D wireless headset for audio. The new camera will presumably be used for PlayStation VR, though curiously Sony has not announced a new PS VR headset yet, and the Move controllers that PS VR currently use come from the PlayStation 3.
PlayStation 5 Release Date and Pre-Orders
Sony announced that the PlayStation 5 will be ready this holiday season, and despite the global pandemic, it is standing by that schedule.
No firm release date has been announced yet, though Sony this week added a new page to the official PlayStation website, which invites people to sign up for a chance to pre-order the PS5. You’ll need to enter your PlayStation Online ID, and Sony will contact people via email with details if they’re selected.
To get an email from the PCMag Product team when pre-orders are open from Amazon, Dell, Best Buy, Walmart, and more, sign up here.
PlayStation 5 Price
Sony hasn’t revealed the pricing for the PlayStation 5, but according to a Bloomberg report, the console costs Sony $450 to manufacture. The big mystery is whether Sony plans to take a loss on the console and make up for it with game sales, or whether it will price the PS5 higher than the $399.99 it charged for the PS4 at launch (and the PS4 Pro when it launched three years later).
Sony has a checkered history with expensive consoles, particularly when it launched the PlayStation 3 with a $600 model. For now, we estimate the PS5 will retail for $400 to $500. Until we have the facts, however, all of this is subject change. We plan to update this story as we learn more about the PS5, so check back soon.