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PS5: Release date, launch games, and everything you need to know about the Sony PlayStation 5

After a wait that seemed to last an eternity, the PS5 is officially out in the wild. It's still incredibly hard to actually get one of course - keep an eye on our constantly updated PS5 stock page for the latest info - but that doesn't stop it being a seriously exciting time to be a gamer. 

The PS5 launch games are a great indicator of what's to come from the new console, showing off the sleek visuals, the haptic feedback and adaptive triggers of the new DualSense controller, and a slick new PS5 UI.

So whether you have your new machine, or you're considering a purchase, we have everything you need to know from the PS5 price - $499 / £449 for the standard PS5, and $399 / £349 for the Digital Edition - to all the secrets of the PS5 design, and which PS5 accessories you'll want to add to cart before you check out. 

Our verdict

PS5

(Image credit: Future)

Read our full PS5 review here

"With PlayStation 5, we are making a significant leap to deliver a truly new generation of transformative play experiences that will redefine expectations for what games can be," said Jim Ryan, president, and CEO of SIE. 

"Worlds will be richer and more beautiful, they'll captivate your senses in ways you didn't think possible, and you'll be able to experience them much more seamlessly, with lightning-fast loading. Today's showcase is just a glimpse of what's to come in the next generation, and we want to thank our community for taking this journey to PS5's launch with us."

PS5 release date

When is the PS5 release date?

Sony has now confirmed that the PS5 release date is set for the following dates (yes dates):

  • November 12 (US, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea)
  • November 19 (Rest of world)

PS5 cost

How much does the PS5 cost?

Read more

(Image credit: Microsoft Xbox)

PS5 vs Xbox Series X – will Sony dominate the next-generation or can Microsoft stage a huge comeback?

You'll be able to buy the PS5 for $499.99 / £449.99 and the PS5 Digital Edition for $399.99 / £359.99 starting on November 12. 

PS5 specs

PS5 specs and performance

(Image credit: Sony PlayStation)

Here's the full list of PS5 specs courtesy of Digital Foundry:

  • CPU: 8x Zen 2 Cores at 3.5GHz (variable frequency)
  • GPU: 10.28TFLOPs, 36 CUs at 2.23GHz (variable frequency)
  • GPU Architecture: Custom RDNA 2
  • Memory/Interface: 16GB GDDR6 / 256=bit
  • Memory Bandwidth: 448GB/s
  • Internal Storage: Custom 825GB SSD
  • IO Throughput: 5.5GB/s (Raw), Typical 8-9GB/s (compressed)
  • Expandable Storage: NVMe SSD Slot
  • External Storage: USB HDD Support
  • Optical Drive: 4K UHD Blu-Ray Drive

The PS5 runs on an AMD CPU chip based on the third generation of AMD's Ryzen line. It's an eight-core, custom-made, beast based on the company's new 7nm Zen 2 microarchitecture. The CPU is a custom variant of AMD Radeon's Navi family, and will support ray tracing - an effect that is a staple of Hollywood, and one that's beginning to appear in high-end PC processors and the Nvidia RTX gaming line. 

The PS5 harnesses the power of the last-generation Zen CPU architecture in conjunction with AMD's freshly revealed Navi graphics architecture. 

A big part of that GPU setup is support for 8K resolutions and ray tracing in PS5 games. The latter is a technology that greatly improves the visual fidelity in games, as it mimics the way light moves and bounces from object to object, particularly reflective surfaces, and refraction through water, other liquids, and glass. Given the proper optimizations, games can exhibit more realistic lighting and shadows as a result. PS5 architect Marc Cerny has said that say ray tracing isn't just about visuals, as it can yield audio enhancements for players and developers alike.

"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,” he says. “It's all the same thing as taking a ray through the environment.”

It turns out that Sony is also adding a custom unit for 3D audio in the PS5 too, taking the attention to audio and sound improvements to the next level for its upcoming console. "As a gamer," said Cerny, "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.”

For gamers though, at least from my perspective, one of the biggest new improvements for the PS5 specs will be a huge decrease in loading times. At a corporate strategy event earlier this year, Sony's first PS5 gameplay reveal demonstrated footage that compared Spider-Man PS4 running on both the current-gen system and the PS5. The experience was recorded by tech journalist Takashi Mochizuki, and it clearly showed that Marvel's Spider-Man takes 8.10 seconds to load, whereas on the PS5 that load time is shortened to just 0.8 seconds. No, that's not a typo. Take a look below:

Thanks to the fact the PS5 is switching from disc-based hard drives to SSDs, Sony is also changing it's approach to how we store games on the next-gen console. You'll be able to configure exactly what parts of a game you want to store on your machine, "allowing [a] finer-grained access to the data". That means you'll be able to install just the multiplayer, or just the single-player, or delete one or the other once you're done with it. 

PS5 design

(Image credit: Sony)

The PS5 design is a bold step away from the traditional black box, with both the digital-only and disc drive versions boasting a white and black color scheme and serious curves. Think Wall-E's Eve on her best day. 

Meanwhile, yet another leaked patent reveals that Sony is developing a mysterious cartridge product that may or may not be compatible for the PS5. Current bets have it down as an external SSD that can be slotted into the console for easy memory management of your PS5 games, but - again - it's entirely possible this has nothing to do with the PS5 at all, so take its design and appearance with a pinch of salt. 

DualSense PS5 controller

What is the PS5 controller like?  

PS5 controller, AKA DualSense

(Image credit: Sony)

The PS5 controller, AKA the DualSense, is the successor to the DualShock line. Sony abruptly revealed the controller in April after months of rumors and patents hinting at its functionality, and now we've had it in our hands, we can confirm the DualSense PS5 controller is a thing of magic.

Our verdict

PS5 DualSense

(Image credit: Future)

Read our full DualSense PS5 controller review here

While the DualSense is distinct from the DualShock, its design follows many of the same principles. It's altogether rounder, with a sleek white-on-black aesthetic rather than the usual jet-black default, but the input layout is roughly the same. The light bar on the back of the DualShock 4 is now split between the sides of the central touchpad, and there's a new Create button in place of the Share button, but most everything else is standard for a PlayStation controller. 

The biggest changes and advancements are found on the inside of the DualSense. The high points are:  

  • Haptic feedback: the DualSense delivers "a variety of powerful sensations that you'll feel when you play, such as the slow grittiness of driving a car through mud." The DualShock 4 had rumble functionality, but the DualSense goes much further with more subtle and varied types of feedback. 
  • Adaptive triggers: the L2 and R2 buttons on the DualSense can match tension of in-game actions. Drawing the string on a bow was the example Sony gave, but based on previous accounts, the same can be said of firing a heavy machine gun and the like. Sony also says that the angle of the triggers, relative to the whole controller, has been tweaked slightly
  • Create button: the Share button has been replaced, but the new Create button serves a similar purpose. Sony says that this button will create "new ways for players to create epic gameplay content to share with the world, or just to enjoy for themselves." 
  • Built-in microphone: you read that right - the DualSense has a microphone built right into it, which makes hopping into a chat with friends quick and seamless. 

Other PS5 accessories

(Image credit: Sony)

Here are all the official PS5 accessories available at launch:

  • Pulse 3D wireless headset – offering 3D audio support and dual noise-cancelling microphones
  • HD camera featuring dual 1080p lenses for gamers to broadcast themselves along with their epic gameplay moments
  • Media remote  with built-in microphone to navigate movies and streaming services with ease
  • DualSense charging station for convenient charging of two DualSense Wireless Controllers.

PS5 UI

What is the PS5 UI like?

The PS5 UI has finally been revealed! At long last, and mere weeks from launch we've finally got a good look at the PS5 user experience, and it's quite the difference from what we've become very familiar with on PS4. The 11-minute video, which you can watch above, showcases several of the new features arriving with the PS5 UI. 

This includes the new Control Centre, which gives you access to a tonne of top features and settings at a single press of the PlayStation button on the new DualSense controller - evolving that sidebar that we've got now on PS4. You can do all of this without leaving a game, from checking who's online, the status of a download, managing your controller, and more.

(Image credit: Sony)

Above the Control Centre, you'll find a series of cards that will give you information tailored to you, from news on the games and publishers you're following, to the latest screenshot you've captured. But, alongside these cards over on the right-hand side, you've also got a new feature called Activities. These Activities are part of Sony's mission to remove barriers from gameplay, allowing you to see key objectives for certain levels, how long you've got left in an activity, and even bring you things like in-game guides for certain games if you're a PlayStation Plus subscriber.

Some of these Activities cards can be pinned to the side of your screen too, which includes some elements of party chat such as Share Screen functionality. Handily, the built-in microphone means you can join in party chat whenever you want too. 

The PlayStation 5 Home Screen offers a hub for each of your games - which includes news, videos, DLC and more in one space. The PlayStation Store has been integrated into this Home Screen too, rather than having to launch a whole new app. 

Take a look at the video for more info!

PS5 streaming

What about PS5 streaming? Is that going to be a feature?

A report found on the PlayStation website revealed a series of slides presented by Sony CEO Jim Ryan at the very same aforementioned corporate strategy event the gameplay load times were shown off at. These slides focus on the company's long and short term future when it comes to PlayStation, and confirmed that PS5 streaming will go hand-in-hand with physical discs and digital downloads as a way to experience games going forward. The deck outlined "a massively enhanced PlayStation community where enriched and shared PlayStation experiences can be seamlessly enjoyed independent of time and place - with or without a console". 

Interestingly, Sony and Microsoft announced an unprecedented new partnership earlier in 2019 to develop advanced streaming and cloud technology together. Apparently Sony aims to use the "new partnerships to achieve growth and scale faster than ever before". 

Apparently this very same technology will be used to "transition our community to next-gen faster and more seamlessly than ever before", particularly when it comes to backwards compatibility for PS4 games. 

PS5 backwards compatibility

How does PS5 backwards compatibility work?

The TL;DR answer to that question is that it's really, really simple. You can access all your PS4 games on PS5 via your game library, by inserting the disc, or by transferring your content to PS5. Take a look at the guides below for the specifics:

PS5 VR

Will there be a PS5 PS VR?

PSVR 2 is rumored to appear with PS5.

PSVR 2 is rumored to appear with PS5.

But what of PlayStation VR? In case there were any doubts, Mark Cerny confirmed PS5 compatibility for the original PSVR unit in his interview with Wired. However, he stopped short of suggesting a next-generation PlayStation VR headset is in the works. 

"I won't go into the details of our VR strategy today," he said, "beyond saying that VR is very important to us and that the current PSVR headset is compatible with the new console."

However, a selection of leaked PS5 patents have painted a detailed picture of what to expect from a potential PS5 PSVR headset. As spotted by Inverse, Sony has filed a number of patents and trademarks, which include prototype pictures, related to a PS5 PSVR headset. It will apparently cost $250 in the US, boast head and eye tracking technology, and have the option to run wirelessly, with a five hour battery life on a single charge. 

In terms of specs, Sony is apparently aiming for a 560-by-1,440 resolution with the PS5's new headset, alongside a 120-hertz refresh rate, and a 220-degree field of view. 

For peripherals, Sony could potentially be toying with a VR Glove equipped with haptic feedback, which, when paired with the eye-tracking features of this new headset, could create some mad immersive gaming technology.

I'm the lady in charge of GamesRadar, but also getting all the reviews up on the website, so you can thank me for all those shining stars – or blame me for a lack of them. I also spend my time working my SEO magic to try and coax the Google Juice to flow in our favour.