Sony shares PlayStation 5 plan: SSD, 8K graphics, backwards compatibility

Next-gen console will launch after 2019, company confirms

Sony has provided the first official details of its next-generation console, which is expected to be called PlayStation 5.

Lead system architect Mark Cerny revealed plenty of hardware details in an interview with Wired, including confirmation that the next-gen system will be disc-based, include an internal SSD and support 8K graphics. It will also be compatible with PS VR and backwards compatible with PS4 games, Cerny said.

The console will feature a CPU based on the third generation of AMD’s Ryzen line containing eight cores of the company’s new 7nm Zen 2 microarchitecture, and a custom Radeon Navi GPU which supports ray tracing, a rendering technique for generating highly realistic visuals by tracing light as travels through 3D environments.

Cerny said the console’s SSD is “a true game changer” that was heavily requested by developers. More than any other feature, he believes, it’s “the key to the next generation”.

He used PS4 exclusive Spider-Man to demo how the SSD will dramatically reduce loading times and improve gameplay experiences, showing how it took the titular character 15 seconds to complete a fast-travel sequence on PS4 Pro compared to 0.8 seconds on a next-gen devkit. The SSD will also greatly speed up how quickly environments can be rendered.

Cerny said the console will support 3D audio, which won’t require external hardware but will work best with headphones. “As a gamer,” he said, “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.”

Cerny also called Sony cloud-gaming “pioneers”, adding that its vision in this area “should become clear as we head toward launch”.

While he didn’t provide an official name for the system or an expected launch window, other than to confirm it won’t arrive in 2019, Cerny said he believes the PS5 price “will be appealing to gamers in light of its advanced feature set”.