It goes like this: Sony releases a console, the first year or two is fine, but it really starts to hit its stride in year three.
By year five, we are swimming in quality games, and there are different models of the console to choose from. With the PS4, those models are the original, the PS4 Slim, and the PS4 Pro, the latter of which released at the end of November 2016.
Why did Sony release a new, more powerful version of the same console? Because after only a few years in the wild, the standard PS4 had already been left lagging behind by high-spec PCs. Players needed something to show off the image quality of their 4K TVs, and the PS4 Pro acted as a mid-generational stopgap.
The console is still having a record-breaking run. By the end of March 2018 Sony has sold 76 million PlayStation 4 consoles. And it expects to shift another 16 million in the coming financial year. That may be a slow down of sorts, but it’s nothing to sniff at.
Despite all of this, fire up a high-spec PC now and even the PS4 Pro is miles behind. Sony will probably want to close this gap as soon as possible with the PS5. Especially now that the CEO of the company, John Kodera, is openly admitting that the console is approaching the final phase of its life cycle.
Speaking to investors in May 2018, Kodera said that majority of PS4 consoles has been sold but it will continue to invest in new and exclusive IP for the PlayStation.
With that in mind, we’ve rounded up the rumours and added a bit of educated speculation about the PS5, how powerful it will be, when it will likely come out, and whether any of the upcoming PlayStation games will be cross-generational.
PS5 Release Date
It wouldn’t be ridiculous to assume the PS5 was already in development. After all, development on the PS4 began in 2008 – five years before it launched. One self-titled industry insider claims that PS5 development kits are already in the wild, though take that with a pinch of salt – this particular insider hasn’t always been right with his predictions.
Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida was recently asked about the possibility of the next generation of PlayStation, saying: “At this point, what I can say is it’s necessary to have a next-generation hardware”.
Although he didn’t specifically call the next console PS5, that’s likely what the company will end up calling it. This is as close to an announcement as we’ll likely get this year, considering that the PlayStation Experience showcase has been cancelled for 2018 due to lack of content.
PlayStation architect at Sony, Mark Cerny, confirmed that the PS5 won’t be shipped in 2019, making it seem all the more likely that we’ll see it in late 2020.
There were six years between the first PlayStation and the PS2, the same time between the PS2 and the PS3, and there were seven years between the PS3 and the PS4. If we work from that seven year assumption, we probably won’t get the PS5 until 2020 at the earliest. That means we could see the PS5 make its debut at E3 2019, however.
There’s already the hint of a new next-gen console lurking in the code of the Unreal Engine, codenamed Erebus – could this be the PS5?
PS5 E3 2019
The PS5 didn’t feature at E3 this year. Like we said earlier, Sony is really hitting its stride with PS4 games right now. Sony is leading the console race this generation, beating everyone on hardware sales and, most importantly, releasing the most exciting exclusives.
Sony will not want to cannibalise its own upcoming games by telling people to start saving for the next console, particular as the PS4 Pro didn’t release that long ago.
But we can’t help thinking Sony may hint at the PS5, its potential or tech specs. Keep an eye out for talk of “next generation” technology and how that might be used for future projects.
Sony recently announced that it wouldn’t be attending E3 in 2019, which came as a surprise after the PlayStation Experience showcase was cancelled this year as Sony was worried it wouldn’t have enough to showcase. Sony has promised that they will release more information in due course at a separate event.
A round of fake PlayStation 5 invites were sent out in January 2019 hinting at a PS5 reveal in February, but don’t be fooled. Although the invites looked convincing, anyone with Photoshop and 10 minutes spare can knock up a semi-convincing invitation. Just don’t send it from a gmail address…
Obviously, we don’t have any official announcements for games on the PS5 just yet, since the console hasn’t been announced, but there are always games that never manage to release on their target generation. Remember The Last Guardian, anyone? So, what will be this year’s The Last Guardian?
What we can confirm is that the PS5 will support 8K resolution, and will be backwards-compatible with PS4 games.
According to one respected industry analyst, Sony has now shifted first-party studios to focus on the development of games for the PlayStation 5. Clearly, Sony is deep into the creation of new games for the PS5. According to that report, some unannounced games may straddle the PS4 and the PS5 to become cross-gen releases. That leaves the question of what games already announced will arrive on the PS4 and PS5, or just skip ahead to become PS5 exclusives?
Here’s a list of games that could well skip PS4 and end up releasing on PS5, as well as some obvious candidates:
- Death Stranding – even though Hideo Kojima says it’s coming this gen
- Ghost of Tsushima
- The Last of Us: Part 2
- Cyberpunk 2077 – CD Projekt Red already confirmed Cyberpunk 2077 is built with next-gen consoles in mind
- Call of Duty PS5
- FIFA PS5
- PES PS5
- Battlefield PS5
- Final Fantasy 7 Remake
- Ghost of Tsushima
PlayStation’s lead architect Mark Cerny discussed the internal components in PS5, which will use a third-generation Ryzen CPU with eight cores, based on the 7nm Zen 2 architecture.
The GPU is a custom chip based on Radeon’s Navi family, with support for ray tracing. If you’re looking for an explainer on ray tracing its its significance, we’ve got one for you right here. The SSD inside the console is super fast. According to Wired, it took around 0.8 seconds to fast travel in Spider-Man compared to 15 seconds on PlayStation 4 Pro.
In fact, a video showing just that SSD speed in action has leaked. Here’s a demonstration – really the first look at the PS5 in action – of PS4 game Spider-Man loading on a PlayStation 5. It’s really worth seeing to get a good idea of how much of a game-changer this is going to be.
Sony's official video comparing performance of PS4 Pro vs next-gen PlayStation pic.twitter.com/2eUROxKFLq
— Takashi Mochizuki (@mochi_wsj) May 21, 2019
PS5 will support 8K resolution and will contain a disc-tray, 3D audio integration, and will be compatible with the current PSVR model.
Sony launched the PS3 at $499 for the cheapest model and sales suffered as a result compared to the Xbox 360. This is a mistake Sony will not want to repeat, since the money lost can easily be clawed back via online subscriptions and software sales. The PS4 and the PS4 Pro launched at $399, so expect the PS5 to be similarly priced.
PS5 Backwards Compatibility
Sony went all in on its streaming subscription service PlayStation Now this generation, while Microsoft took a different tactic with the Xbox One. Particularly with the Xbox One X, backwards compatibility has been extremely popular – with the console upscaling games and making them look like they have a new lick of paint.
As we said earlier, it has now been confirmed that the PS5 will be backwards-compatible with PS4 games.
PS5 Changing PSN ID
You can now change that ultra edgy PSN ID to something cooler now. Be warned: if Sony deems the new ID to be offensive, it’ll be changed to a placeholder to give you the opportunity to revert back to your own one or change it to something more appropriate.