The PS4 started to hit the shelves in November 2013, and in the years that followed, we’ve enjoyed some amazing titles. From deep and captivating storylines to thrilling online sharpshooting, it’s certainly been a fun ride that we’ve delighted in for many more hours than we care to admit.
And, while there’s still plenty to get excited about for the PS4 this year, it’s an exclusive interview announcing details of Sony’s next-gen console that’s grabbed our attention for now. PlayStation Architect, Mark Cerny, has been working on Sony’s next-generation console for the last four years, and he’s finally ready to let us know what we can expect from the next gaming system.
What hardware will be in the next-generation PlayStation?
According to Wired, this’ll be an addition to the PlayStation family that’ll be worthy of the hype that’s sure to surround the release – much more than a simple update. While Cerny wouldn’t confirm the name ‘PS5’ in the interview, he provided plenty of details to get excited about.
Starting with the basic foundations, we expected to see upgrades to the console’s CPU and GPU, and we haven’t been disappointed. The CPU (the brain of any computer) will be based on the third generation of AMD’s Ryzen line, and the GPU is a custom variant of Radeon’s Navi family. It can support the light simulating technology ‘raytracing’ that seems to be big on everyone’s list for gaming at the moment, but what that means for players is access to unparalleled and previously unachievable visual effects and audio experiences. In short, that means graphics will look stunningly realistic, and the audio will be more 3D and seem to come from all around you with no extra tech needed (although he does admit it sounds best through headphones).
Cerny said, “If you wanted to run tests to see if the player can hear certain audio sources or if the enemies can hear the players’ footsteps, ray tracing is useful for that. It's all the same thing as taking a ray through the environment.”
He’s passionate about what sound can do to enhance the gaming experience, saying “As a gamer, it's been a little bit of a frustration that audio did not change too much between PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4. With the next console, the dream is to show how dramatically different the audio experience can be when we apply significant amounts of hardware horsepower to it.”
That means you should be able to tell if those crunching enemy footsteps are coming from behind you, or if they’re hiding around the corner just ahead, giving you a truly immersive gaming experience. But, the thing that seemed to excite Cerny was the new hard-drive, after he called it a “true game-changer” and “the key to the next generation”.
It’s no secret that as games get bigger, the amount of power and memory required to run them effectively gets more demanding. Take Red Dead Redemption 2 for example. It weighs in at a whopping 99GB on the PS4, with an additional 50GB needed for the installation process if you go with the digital version. What comes with that is frustratingly-long loading screens, whether it’s during the initial load or while you’re meant to be ‘fast’ travelling – ironic huh?
A seemingly simple solution to the slower Hard Disk Drives is Solid State Drives or SSDs. And, while Cerny wouldn’t divulge any specifics on the hardware, it seems that’s exactly what’s going into the next PlayStation.
He demonstrated the differences in load time by firing up a PS4 Pro and playing Spider-Man, a PlayStation exclusive from 2018. He gets Spidey to fast-travel from the current location to another spot in Manhattan, and the process takes around 15 seconds. Then, using a next-gen devkit connected to a different TV, Cerny does the exact same thing only this time, it takes less than a second for Spidey to pop-up at his new location. That’s something we’re definitely excited to see from the finished product.
What game developers are working with it?
Specifics are unknown at this point, as all the talk seems to be about the hardware, but what we do know is that a number of studios have been working with it, and Sony recently accelerated the release of devkits so that game creators have got more time to adjust to the new system’s capabilities. Cerny didn’t go into much else on what developers are doing because they’re still figuring things out for themselves, but wait times and load screens could become a thing of the past.
“We're very used to flying logos at the start of the game and graphic-heavy selection screens," he says, "even things like multiplayer lobbies and intentionally detailed loadout processes because you don't want players just to be waiting."
While Hideo Kojima’s forthcoming game Death Stranding was confirmed by a spokesperson for a PS4 release, it’s also possible it could be a two-platform release as Cerny reportedly smiled and purposefully paused when the question was asked. Intriguing stuff.
What about PlayStation VR?
Cerny wouldn’t give too much away about what’s in-store for VR on the next-gen console, but he did say “VR is very important to us and that the current PSVR headset is compatible with the new console.” So, there’s going to be some sort of VR support on the new system, but it doesn’t sound like a new headset is in development.
Most importantly – when can I get my hands on it?
No dates for release have been confirmed yet, however it won’t be landing in stores any time in 2019. So, we can spend the rest of the year enjoying the amazing titles to come for the PS4 this year, Like Days Gone and Mortal Combat 11.
Stay tuned for more updates and rumours about the ‘PS5’.
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