Sony have revealed another handful of details about their highly-anticipated next-gen console, from the console’s name, to the system software and some new technology coming to their next-generation controller. They have also revealed the release window and you have about a year to wait as the console will launch for Christmas 2020!
In a shocking twist, the PlayStation 5 is going to be called PlayStation 5, which I’m sure nobody saw coming, Jim Ryan confirmed while giving Wired an exclusive look at the console hardware. “It’s nice to be able to say it. Like a giant burden has been lifted from my shoulders,” he claimed. Such a trade secret slipping out would surely have tanked Sony’s next-gen sales.
He and Mark Cerny also doubled down on some of the technical details of the next-gen console. There was confirmation that there is GPU hardware acceleration for ray-tracing, which was ever-so-slightly ambiguous before; the SSD will be super fast, but it’s being used in a more interesting way so that you can install just the parts of the games you want; the PS5 will support 100GB Blu-ray discs, making that selective installing a damn good feature to have. It was also confirmed that the drive will double up as a 4K blu-ray player.
Turning to the system software and this will be getting an overhaul from the set in stone design of the PlayStation 4. Sony are dragging a lot of live features out of games and into the operating system, so that you can more dynamically see, not just which of your friends are playing, but the events and modes within a game that are active – handy when everything’s a live service – and boot straight into them from the home screen.
“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,” explained Cerny. “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.”
As anyone who has been following gaming for any length of time will know the most important question is “What will the console look like?” Unfortunately that has not been revealed but the Wired did say the development kits do look like the space aged wings-and-fans box that was leaked a while back.
Wired also got to test drive the new as-yet-unnamed DualShock 5 which has some new tricks up its sleeves. Though they’ve kept mum on the mooted AI assistant that was featured in a recent patent, the DualShock 5 (or whatever it will be called) will feature more haptic feedback through the controller. This goes beyond the rumble tech that Microsoft have in the Xbox One gamepad in its triggers to offer varying resistance, so that there’s more tension needed to pull back a bow, for example, or push back a little against your finger in a racing game. Here’s more from Wired:
Combined with an improved speaker on the controller, the haptics can enable some astonishing effects. First, I play through a series of short demos, courtesy of the same Japan Studio team that designed PlayStation VR’s Astro Bot Rescue Mission. In the most impressive, I ran a character through a platform level featuring a number of different surfaces, all of which gave distinct—and surprisingly immersive—tactile experiences. Sand felt slow and sloggy; mud felt slow and soggy. On ice, a high-frequency response made the thumbsticks really feel like my character was gliding. Jumping into a pool, I got a sense of the resistance of the water; on a wooden bridge, a bouncy sensation.
These adaptive triggers feature programmable voice-coil actuators in both grips of the controller, extending through the rumble of the handgrips, to the triggers and even the analogue sticks. “Game creators have started to receive early versions of the new controller, and we can’t wait to see where their imagination goes with these new features at their disposal,” say Sony. The new controller will have a larger battery and USB-C for charging but is said to be slightly heavier than a Dualshock 4 but not as heavy as “the current Xbox controller with batteries in it.”
As for games, Marco Thrush, president of Bluepoint Games said “We’re working on a big one right now, I’ll let you figure out the rest.” Bluepoint have been remastering PS2 and PS3 games for PS4 and confirmed in March this year their next game is a remake for Sony. Also, as Gran Turismo Sport is already up and running on the console then there’s a good chance that will get a full launch.