If the last couple of years have witnessed an escalation in competitive tension between the gaming giants of Sony and Microsoft, it was earlier this year, at E3, that the battle lines were truly drawn. For the first time, after what felt like endless speculation, both the people behind the Xbox and the Playstation confirmed their intentions to bring about the next generation of consoles, promising gaming experiences unlike anything we've experienced thus far.
Up until E3, the concept of a brand new Xbox or Playstation console seemed so far away. But now we're little more than a year away from both hitting store shelves, and before we know it, our PS4/Xbox Ones will be rendered obsolete.
Here's what we know so far about the PS5 – the flagship set to take Sony into a new era of gaming.
When is the PS5 coming out?
Gaming analysts reporting as early as last year that Sony had started handing out DevKits for its first-party studios to start churning out PS5-ready games.
According to analyst Daniel Ahmad, “in general, most of the focus for Sony [first party studios] is on PS5 right now. It is still early to talk about next gen but I imagine we’ll hear some whispers come out of GDC.”
“PS5 dev kits are out there and I’ve heard positive things about it,” he added, confirming that Sony has at least a broad skeleton and framework for how the PS5 will work, how powerful it'll be and just what level of gaming they can actually achieve. In addition to this, almost a fifth of game studios are developing PS5 Games right now, regardless of whether they have dev kits or not.
With Xbox having already announced a Holiday 2020 release date for what it's currently calling Project Scarlett, Sony responded in kind, announcing a Christmas 2020 release date as the two engage in a sales war to define a decade.
What features will the PS5 Have?
Both the PS3 and PS4 were truly huge steps forward in video game realism, so Sony will undoubtedly know that anything the PS5 delivers has to be truly in-keeping with how far we've come even since Sony's last major console drop. A reminder: when the PS4/Xbox One generation first dropped, the iPhone 5S was the height of mobile tech.
That being said, there's still plenty more on the horizon for both sets of gamers invested in the current generation. A ton of awesome-looking new games are coming in hot over 2019, and Sony has also apparently got some releases up their sleeve with the PS4 firmly in mind.
Another report in April 2019, this time from Comic Book, revealed the first leaked pricing structure for the PS5 in US markets, alongside potential details about which games will make for the flagship titles to co-incide with the PS5's launch. Citing a leaker, they've said the PS5 will be packed with a 2TB built-in solid state drive, support 8K upscaling, and be compatible with a newly upgraded PlayStation VR headset. This was later backed up by a report from Wired.
According to the leaker they cited, who claims to be a European developer working on the yet-to-be-announced PS5 launch title, it will also be backwards compatible, offering up a new premium version of PlayStation Plus, and come with a new Dualshock 5 controller that has a built-in camera.
In an official video presentation made in Japan, Sony laid bare their plans for the console, confirming that the PS5 will have just about everything players have been asking for since new technologies like SSD hard drives and game streaming became more readily available.
It'll also support 8K gaming and backwards compatibility, with a heavier focus towards digital play rather than the use of physical game disks.
Interestingly, however, new reports from LetsGoDigital seem to reveal that Sony have filed a patent for what looks like a game cartridge, harkening back to the era of the way we used to play games on early Nintendo devices. Sony have famously never used cartridges, and in fact broke new ground when the Playstation 1 was able to achieve incredible speed and processing power through the use of early CD-ROMS (and in later consoles, Blu-Ray).
The design patent entitled “Configuration applied to / in data recording and storage equipment” was published on November 5, 2019, and is internationally categorized as Class 14.99, with the description “Miscellaneous”. In Japan, this classification is described as “Electronic game accessories”. As the inventor of the design is Sony Interactive Entertainment, art director Yujin Morisawa, some have speculated that this means the PS5 could also make use of cartridges alongside digital downloads as a way of playing games.
Sony have revealed footage of just how fast the hardware on its new console is likely to be, and it's mighty impressive. A game that would normally take 8 seconds to load on a PS4 Pro will now be ready in less than a second.
This, according to a new report from Wired, will mean a huge amount of new advancements in the way players can download and boot games. Players will be able to pick and choose what parts of a game they want to download, and also have access to a wide range of game activities from the home screen, rather than having to download and boot the entire thing to start a mission.
The report also expanded on the haptic capabilities of the controller, saying it has the ability to provide different sensations on different parts of the controller through the use of programmable voice-coil actuators in the grips of the controller. "Driving on the border between the track and the dirt," wrote Peter Rubin playing a modded version of Gran Turismo Sport, I could feel both surfaces. Doing the same thing on the same track using a DualShock 4 on a PS4, that sensation disappeared entirely. It wasn't that the old style rumble feedback paled in comparison, it was that there was no feedback at all."
What will the PS5 look like?
Initial news of what seemed like a pretty flamboyant new design for the PS5 first emerged in August, when a Twitter leak shed light on a prototype bearing a ton of vents to keep the console's monstrous new hardware operating at full capacity. It also had an obscure-looking V-shape, and at the time, people thought this meant the final PS5 was set for a pretty redical re-invention after decades of Geometric design.
Since then, however, it seems that this design, while real, wasn't necesarily indicative of what the PS5 is set to look like. Rather, the design seems to be of the dev kits sent out to developers to start testing new-generation games on. A photo released by The Verge editor Tom Warren has seemingly confirmed this, while also offering a brief glimpse of what could be the PS5's Dualshock 5 controllers.
yes, this is the PlayStation 5 devkit. The reason it's large and v-shaped is to make them more easily stackable for devs who are running multiple stress tests. The cooling is optimized to push air out of the sides and center https://t.co/pc3wJw2A6v— Tom Warren (@tomwarren) 30 November 2019
For now, though, any clues pointing towards the PS5's final design remain tightly clad.
Which games are coming to the PS5?
As for games, there appears to be plenty to get excited about. A number of rumours have already started swirling about what will hit store shelves to accompany the PS5, and according to online pundits, GTA VI will apparently release exclusively on PS5 for its first month, while Gran Turismo 7, an exclusive PUBG 4K remaster, The Last of Us Part II, a Ghost of Tsushima remaster, Battlefield Bad Company 3, a Harry Potter game, and a new viking-based Assassin’s Creed will be available come launch day.
The first confirmed title for the PS5, named Godfall, was unveiled at the Game Awards over the weekend. Dubbed a 'looter slasher', it's a quest-based RPG that makes full use of the PS5's power.
"We're innovating with Godfall to provide a fresh take on action RPGs by rewarding skill-based offensive gameplay and making every hit matter," Keith Lee, Counterplay Games CEO and Godfall creative director, said in a statement. "Namely, we want to feed into that yearning for the next best piece in your character build, so we plan to provide plenty of loot to players to ensure there's meaningful impact to gameplay and playstyles."
Brief gameplay snippet from #Godfall (PS5/PC). It's technically your first look at a next-gen launch game in action.
Better quality: https://t.co/Dl8glRtna4 pic.twitter.com/EwQob60zDm— Shinobi602 (@shinobi602) 13 December 2019
How much will the PS5 cost?
The PS5 will reportedly cost $500 at launch, which despite still being sold at a loss, will still be $100 more than the launch price of the PS4.