The PS5 Holiday 2020 release window has been confirmed by Sony today, and while that's the big news to come from Sony Interactive Entertainment's President & CEO Jim Ryan, via a statement on the PlayStation Blog, there's also plenty more information to be found in an accompanying hands-on report from Wired.
We've pulled out all the biggest and most exciting details below, from PS5 exclusive games to confirmation of that rumoured devkit, and presented it here without any of the hard-to-parse technological jargon. Here are the 10 biggest things (release date aside) that we've just learnt about the PS5.
1. It's actually called the PS5
While we have long speculated that Sony's "next-gen console" would follow the familiar brand rules the company has utilised since 1994, we now have the PS5 confirmed with its formal title. That's right, the new system will be officially called the PlayStation 5 (PS5).
This comes with the news that the system will land "Holiday 2020", which means it will be going toe-to-toe against the Xbox Project Scarlett within the same launch window. This is exciting news, as the name confirmation signals that this isn't a mere hardware refresh – like going from PS4 to PS4 Pro, for example – but the dawn of a whole new generation.
2. Bluepoint Games is making a PS5 exclusive
The first officially confirmed PS5 exclusive for the next-gen console (Ryan reiterated that Ghost of Tsushima would still be releasing on PS4) has been teased by Bluepoint Games, the studio behind the recent Shadow of the Colossus PS4 remake. Marco Thrush, president of Bluepoint, told Wired that the team is "working on a big one [remake] right now", but refused to describe anything more teasing that he'll let us "figure out the rest." Recent rumours of a Demon's Soul remake have been doing the rounds over the last few weeks; perhaps this could be what Thrush is referring to...
3. That leaked PS5 dev kit is almost certainly real
Over the last few months, images and sketches of a funky looking PS5 devkit have been circulating online, showing a V-shaped console which looks to feature an advanced cooling system that'll hopefully avoid the PS4's noisy fan problem.
Wired has now stated that the devkit shown during its exclusive hands-on session looks incredibly similar to the one seen in those images, suggesting that the leak is indeed valid. However, Sony refused to confirm whether the model bears any influence on, or similarity with, the final product that'll ship to consumers next year. Will the final version look like that gaudy behemoth? Only time will tell.
4. The PS5 user interface is all about putting games first
This one isn't too surprising, but Sony confirmed to Wired that the PlayStation user interface is getting "completely revamped" for the PS5, as the console's lead architect Mark Cerny explains in the article. "Even though it will be fairly fast to boot games, we don't want the player to have to boot the game, see what's up, boot the game, see what's up" Cerny explains.
"Multiplayer game servers will provide the console with the set of joinable activities in real time. Single-player games will provide information like what missions you could do and what rewards you might receive for completing them – and all of those choices will be visible in the UI. As a player you just jump right into whatever you like."
5. Japan Studio and Polyphony Digital are making demos
To demonstrate the power and potential of the PS5, Sony has enlisted Polyphony Digital and Japan Studio to create showcase demos. This is notable as Polyphony Digital is the stalwarts of the Gran Turismo series, and is now getting its PS4 game GT Sport working on PS5 to make use of the hardware and features.
SIE Japan Studio – Sony's internal studio that has helped publish and develop a variety of first-party releases, notably include PSVR's Astro Bot Rescue Mission and Mark Cerny's Knack game – has also been tasked with creating a variety of smaller demos of platformers to showcase the haptics in the controller. Could Japan Studio and Polyphony Digital be deep into development of launch titles? It wouldn't be out of the realms of possibility.
6. The PS5 will feature an overhauled DualShock controller
Sony has confirmed that it is making significant changes to the next generation controller – it isn't officially called a DualShock just yet. While its design will be similar to the design of the PS4 controller, it will have some new tech under the hood. Namely, it will have an improved integrated speaker and an emphasis on improving user experience through haptic rumble.
Haptic replaces traditional vibration/rumble, giving developers the chance to better relay in-game action straight to your fingertips. Literally, to your fingertips; the L2 and R2 buttons are being replaced with 'Adaptive triggers' that can offer varying levels of resistance.
7. ... complete with USB-C charging support
When it comes to the controller, however, new rumble isn't the most significant news, as the PS5's product manager Toshi Aoki also confirmed that the next-gen controller will use a USB Type-C connector for charging. This is huge news, especially for those that are sick of having a mess of cables scattered on the floor in front of your TV. It was also noted that the new controller will be heavier than the DualShock 4, but it will be lighter than an Xbox One X controller with batteries in it.
8. You'll be able to download and install parts of games separately
Intriguingly, Sony confirm that you'll be able to install specific parts of games, rather than just everything in one big chunk, which should help in keeping SSD space free. Players would have the choice of installing the single player or multiplayer portions of the game – or both – to increase the speed it takes to get into the part of the game you actually want to play. "Rather than treating games like a big block of data, we're allowing finer-grained access to the data," Cerny says.
9. PS5 will have ray-tracing hardware...
Good news hardware fans, Mark Cerny has laid your fears to rest and confirmed that "there is ray-tracing acceleration in the GPU hardware". Some had speculated PS5 support of ray-tracing would be at the software level after the first Wired report on PS5 from April, but the real takeaway is that we can expect to see more realistic lighting and sound from our games on PS5.
10. ... and 4K blu-ray support
The article confirms that the console will play "100GB optical disks" as well as 4K blu-rays. If you're still buying 4K films – insert the Arrested Development dozens of us gif here – this is a nice commitment to the physical medium after the PS4 Pro didn't include 4K blu-ray support. From a game's standpoint, it should give developers plenty of space to cram next-gen game worlds onto.
For more, check out 11 tech demos to make you excited for next-gen, or watch below for a guide to everything else out this week.