After almost six years, the eighth video game console generation is finally coming to an end. Sony is sending the PS4 off with a bang with incredible-looking games like The Last of Us 2, Death Stranding, and Ghosts of Tsushima, but many PlayStation owners are looking beyond the console’s twilight at what’s coming next — the PS5.
Sony has already confirmed that a new PlayStation is imminent and thanks to a recent specs blowout we know a few crucial details about what to expect from the PS4 and PS4 Pro successor.
Below you’ll find all the latest news, rumors, and leaks regarding the PS5 release date, price, specs, and more.
Sony PlayStation 5 release date and name
Sony has been drip-feeding information on the next PlayStation console, but has notably refused to give it a title. Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida and PS4/PS5 lead system architect Mark Cerny have both only ever referred to the system as a “next-generation console” or “next-gen hardware.”
Considering we’ve had the PS1, PS2, PS3, and PS4 so far, it doesn’t take a genius to guess the most likely name of Sony’s next home console.
As for when you can actually buy the console, there’s been plenty of rumors and speculation about a possible PS5 release date in 2019, but that was recently put to bed. A more realistic estimate places the PS5 release date in either late 2020 or early 2021.
Speaking in May 2018 to the Wall Street Journal, then-PlayStation head John Kodera teased that new hardware could be up to three years away. The launch window was narrowed further in April 2019 when Sony announced during an earnings call that the PS5 would not launch within the following 12 months.
The PS5 release date may fall in the holiday season 2020.
With every PlayStation home console in history launching between September and November, there’s a good chance the PS5 release date will fall in the holiday season 2020. This would align with Christmas sales and the launch of key annual AAA titles like Call of Duty and FIFA. It’d also see the PS5 going head-t0-head with the next Xbox console, Project Scarlett, which is already confirmed for a holiday 2020 release date.
The burning question is when Sony will actually fully reveal the console and its PS5 launch plans. All eyes would’ve normally turned to E3, the biggest event in the gaming calendar year. However, Sony announced long before the show that it wouldn’t be heading to Los Angeles in 2019. Instead, Microsoft grabbed all the headlines with its own tentative announcement of the next-gen Xbox.
Sony recently started releasing Nintendo Direct-esque videos showcasing its upcoming games, so there’s a slight chance we’ll see a State of Play stream for the PS5 sometime soon. Alternatively, the PS4 enjoyed its own unique launch event in February 2013 just nine months before the console hit shelves, so this could be repeated for the PS5.
Other possible launch options include PlayStation Experience (PSX), which took a year off in 2018 but could return in early December, though the event is usually focused on software rather than hardware.
Sony PS5 specs
We don’t know what the PS5 will look like, but thanks to a Wired interview with Mark Cerny in April, we do know what will make the PS5 tick. The surprise interview revealed most of the main PS5 specs fans had been waiting for and while the PS5’s core architecture is remarkably similar to the PS4, there are some major upgrades in store for Sony’s next-gen machine.
As reported in mid-2018, Sony is working with AMD to create a custom CPU for the next PlayStation based on the third generation Ryzen line containing eight cores of the 7nm Zen 2 microarchitecture. This puts the PS5’s CPU in the same bracket as top-tier PC desktops expected to launch in late 2019 and represents a massive generational leap over the PS4 Pro and even Xbox One X.
On the graphics side, the PS5 will feature a custom AMD Radeon Navi GPU. This will also support ray tracing which enables lifelike lighting effects that bounce between objects — check out Crytek’s ray tracing demo above for an idea of what to expect. In addition, the AMD chip will feature a custom unit for 3D audio.
The biggest surprise, however, was the reveal that the next PlayStation will pack a solid state drive (SSD) as opposed to a standard hard disk drive (HDD) like the PS4 and Xbox One. The benefits of an SSD over an HDD are manifold, but Sony’s biggest claim so far is drastically improved load times. This can be seen in action in a video from a Sony tech demo that showed PS4 title Marvel’s Spider-Man loading more than ten times faster on the next-gen hardware.
Sony’s official video comparing performance of PS4 Pro vs next-gen PlayStation pic.twitter.com/2eUROxKFLq
— Takashi Mochizuki (@mochi_wsj) May 21, 2019
Finally, Sony has confirmed that the PS5 will support up to 8K resolution to future proof for evolving TV technology. It’ll also have a disc drive, though it’s unclear if it will support Ultra HD Blu-Rays.
Sony PS5 vs Xbox Project Scarlett
So, how does the PS5 stack up against Microsoft’s Project Scarlett? Based on the limited information we have so far, it’s clear that there will be more that unites the two consoles than divides them.
Thanks to Microsoft’s E3 2019 presentation, we know that the next Xbox will use AMD’s new Zen 2 CPU core and a Navi GPU (with ray tracing), have a built-in SSD, and support up to 8K resolution and 120fps gameplay. Doesn’t all that sound very familiar?
We’ll know more on which console is ahead in the specs race as more information comes to light, but for now we can at least tell that both boxes will be absolute powerhouses.
Sony PlayStation 5 games
That’s enough about hardware, let’s talk about the really good stuff: the games. Unfortunately, there are no confirmed PS5 games at the moment, but there are plenty of strong candidates for potential cross-gen PS4 titles. There are also a bunch of games that are set to launch on next-gen consoles, which you can bet includes the PS5.
Here’s a list of all the games that are confirmed for next-gen consoles or PS4 games that are heavily rumored to be cross-gen titles:
- The Last of Us Part 2 (Naughty Dog)
- Death Stranding (Kojima Productions)
- Ghosts of Tsushima (Sucker Punch)
- Cyberpunk 2077 (CD Projekt Red)
- The Elder Scrolls 6 (Bethesda)
- Starfield (Bethesda)
- Final Fantasy 7 Remake (Square Enix)
- Marvel’s Avengers (Square Enix)
- Beyond Good and Evil 2 (Ubisoft)
Unlike its core specs, Sony has been far more tight lipped on PS5 features in the run up to the console’s official announcement. That said, there are some features that have been confirmed, rumored, or expected to return from the PS4 era.
PS4 backwards compatibility
Thanks once again to the Wired interview, we know that the next PlayStation console will be backwards compatible with PS4 games. This is possible because the system is “based in part on the PS4’s architecture.”
The specifics are up in the air — will this be digital and disc games? — but Microsoft’s years of lording it over Sony for its lack of PS3 support on PS4 won’t continue into the ninth console generation.
Based on the aforementioned Spider-Man demo, it also seems likely that PS4 games will perform or look better on the new hardware with improved load times and draw distances.
Google Stadia is the latest attempt at kickstarting the cloud gaming revolution and Sony (as well as Microsoft with xCloud) is expected to fire back with their own multi-platform game streaming services in the ninth console generation.
Cerny labelled Sony as “cloud-gaming pioneers” in the big Wired interview, which seems a little hyperbolic considering PlayStation Now failed to take off on the PS4. Here’s hoping we see something better on PS5.
Sony’s PlayStation VR headset has been a quiet success for the Japanese firm, having sold over 4 million units and playing host to incredibly well-reviewed exclusive games like Tetris Effect, AstroBot, and Blood & Truth.
There had been a bunch of mostly tenuous rumors that Sony would be releasing a PSVR2 alongside the PS5, possibly with eye tracking support and a wireless design. However, PlayStation global head of research and design, Dominic Mallinson, put speculation to bed in a chat with CNET, stating:
“There’s no reason for us to coincide it with a new console. From the point of view of the consumer, to be bombarded with many many things — oh, you have to buy this, you have to buy that — is a message that we don’t want to send. In some ways, it’s good to have a little breathing space between those things.”
In good news for VR fans, though, Mallinson also confirmed that the PSVR will be fully compatible with PS5 consoles.
While we haven’t heard anything on Sony’s premium subscription/online service, PlayStation Plus is almost certain to transfer over to PS5.
How much will the PS5 cost? Sony will no doubt leave this all important detail until the very last moment of the console’s launch, but we can still take some educated guesses at the PS5 price tag.
In the Wired interview, Cerny suggested that the retail price will be “appealing to gamers in light of its advanced feature set.” It’s not certain what features he’s referring to specifically, but, as any PC owner will tell you, SSDs aren’t cheap.
Sony finds itself in a tricky position with the PS5 price. The PS4 is reportedly sold at a loss with game sales and subscriptions bringing in profit. That meant Sony could keep the price to $399 at launch in 2013, with the upgraded PS4 Pro matching that price in 2016.
That launch price could rise for the PS5, though Sony will have to be careful not to repeat the mistakes it made with the PS3 which infamously launched for a then-outrageous $499 (or $599 for the fully-featured model).
With consumer technology products increasing in price every year (just look at all the $1,000 smartphones), $499 sounds far more reasonable in 2019, though anywhere above $599 may lead to a backlash.
That’s everything we know about the PS5 so far! We’ll update this post as we hear more on Sony’s next console.